Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy

This will be the opening paragraph to all future Cormac McCarthy reviews:

I am a huge Cormac McCarthy fan. His ability to tell a story is unmatched among modern American authors. What makes his stories so compelling is that he does not ignore or sugar-coat human nature - he is willing to explore the very worst of us and the very best of us and everything that falls in between. The stories I have read have all caused me to ponder the great questions of life and morality posed by his stories.

This a fitting end to the epic Border Trilogy. It didn't end happily-ever-after, in fact I don't think that any of McCarthy's stories end that way, but all are more true to life than we would like to admit. The world and our places in it are often messy and violent.

All of the stories of his that I have read are salted with wisdom, here is a example from Cities of the Plain, this from a conversation between John Gray and his blind friend in a discussion about padrinos (godparents), the blind friend says,

"He knew that our enemies by contrast seem always with us. The greater our hatred the more persistent the memory of them so that a truly terrible enemy becomes deathless. So that the man who has done you great injury or injustice makes himself a guest in your house forever. Perhaps only forgiveness can dislodge them."
That is solid advice.
p.s. - It takes some getting used to reading a McCarthy work, he does not let punctuation, or lack thereof, get in the way of a good story. He believes there is no reason to "blot up the page with weird little marks." I imagine this will drive a Grammar Nazi or a fastidious English teacher insane but I like it. Also much of the dialogue is in Border Spanish so prepared to translate at a moment's notice.


Popular Posts