Cormac McCarthy (1933 – 2023)

Cormac McCarthy, born in 1933, is widely regarded as one of the greatest American authors of his time.

He was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, in an Irish-Catholic family.

After a brief enrollment at the University of Tennessee, McCarthy joined the Air Force in 1953. It was during his time stationed in Alaska that he developed a voracious appetite for reading. Upon returning to the university, he published his first stories in the student literary magazine under the name C. J. McCarthy, Jr.

However, his pursuit of writing led him to drop out once again and move to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while penning his first novel, "The Orchard Keeper." Despite facing challenges, McCarthy's perseverance paid off when his manuscript for "The Orchard Keeper" caught the attention of Albert Erskine at Random House, leading to a fruitful partnership that lasted for two decades.

Although McCarthy's early works didn't achieve commercial success, he used grants based on his book to travel. After "Outer Dark" was published, and despite its modest sales, McCarthy's talent was recognized with a Guggenheim fellowship, allowing him to focus solely on his writing.

His works, characterized by minimal punctuation and the absence of quotation marks and semicolons, delved into the psychology of outcasts and misfits against a backdrop of dark landscapes and actions. McCarthy's novels seldom explored the female perspective, focusing primarily on male characters and avoiding romantic or domestic themes.

In 1992, McCarthy achieved widespread acclaim with his novel "All the Pretty Horses," winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, while also becoming a bestseller. Despite his success, McCarthy remained detached from literary circles, rarely giving interviews or engaging with the publishing industry.

In addition to his novels, McCarthy dabbled in playwriting and screenwriting, with notable works including "The Gardener's Son," "The Stonemason," and the screenplay for the film "No Country for Old Men." His unique writing style and profound exploration of existential themes garnered critical acclaim and a loyal readership.

In the fall of 2022, two new McCarthy novels were released: "The Passenger" and "Stella Maris".

McCarthy's passing in 2023 marked the end of an era in American literature, leaving behind a significant void. However, his literary legacy continues to resonate, urging readers to explore his works and appreciate his profound contributions to the literary landscape.

Books by Cormac McCarthy