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October 16, 2006

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28 Pages Later

I haven’t read any of Cormac McCarthy’s books, but his new one “The Road” looks good. It’s post-apocalyptic literary fiction!

And — this is a good sign, I think? — it has generated a lot of well-written book reviews. The NYT review by William Kennedy was a good read in its own right, and this CSM review by Yvonne Zipp sparkles. For instance, it describes the book as taking place in a “cauterized horrorscape.” Nice.

Posted October 16, 2006 at 10:18 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Briefly Noted


McCarthy's work is often too vivid and sanguinary for my taste, but at his best the prose is positively trnasporting. Consider this from "All the Pretty Horses":

"Before the colt could struggle up, John Grady had squated on its neck and pulled its head up and to one side and was holding the horse by the muzzel with the long bony head pressed against his chest and the hot sweet breath of it flooding up from the dark wells of its nostrils over his face and neck like news from another world. They did not smell like horses. They smelled like what they were, wild animals. He held the horse’s head against his chest and he could feel along his inner thighs the blood pumping through the arteries and he could smell the fear and he cupped his hand over the horse’s eyes and stroked them and he did not stop talking to the horse at all, speaking in a low steady voice and telling it all that he intended to do and cupping the animal’s eyes and stroking the terror out."

Oh yeah, P.S. -- I once hired an intern just because he had a letter of reference from William Kennedy, another very fine writer. The kid, Stona Fitch, author of the well-regarded 1003 novel "Senseless." (

"Sanguinary"! The book reviewers are not the only ones in earshot of this blog who have a way with words.

Etymological inquiry, though: Why does "sanguine" mean both blood-red and confident or optimistic? Seems like an odd couple of definitions to share. (Actually, I never knew blood-red was even one of them until just now. I thought only outlooks could be sanguine.)

I think my usage is essential archaic. But then, so am I.


(Geez, I wish I could edit my comments for typos and mistakes. Sigh.)

Hmm. Can you think of any part of the human body, which, when engorged with blood, appears confident and optimistic?

Hired me because of a Kennedy rec? For all this time I thought it was because I be such a fine writer, Howard. And because I could drink beer pretty well.

I am thinking about starting a 'best threads ever' section on Snarkmarket to keep track of same. And with the addition of Stona's comment I am pretty sure this one qualifies.

Guerrilla marketing at work, too -- 'Senseless' is on my Amazon wishlist now!

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