3.25.2008

lit crit

Cormac McCarthy is, hands-down, my favorite author. I'll just say it once: read The Border Trilogy. Do it.

The man is capable of writing passages like this:

...what cannot be held, what already ran among the mountains at once terrible and of a great beauty, like flowers that feed on flesh.

FLOWERS THAT FEED ON FLESH, DAMN. If I could roll around in that passage like a dog in a dead thing to cover myself with its smell, I would do that.

Then you've got chunks like this one:

He sighed and seemed himself weary and cast down. He said that while one would like to say that God will punish those who do such things and that people often speak in just this way it was his experience that God could not be spoken for and that men with wicked histories often enjoyed lives of comfort and that they died in peace and were buried with honor. He said that it was a mistake to expect too much of justice in the world.

BOOM, y'all.
I hope these don't lose their punch out of context. Fine, I'll say it again: READ THE BORDER TRILOGY.

The one I've been thinking about lately is this one:

She said that to be a woman was to live a life of difficulty and heartbreak and those who said otherwise simply had no wish to face the facts. And she said that since this was so nor could it be altered one was better to follow one's heart in joy and in misery than simply to seek comfort for there was none.

Interesting. I misremembered this passage. When I went back and found it (all these are from The Crossing) ... well, I expected to read a harsh but truthful condemnation of my relationship - the sort of thing of fiery, extreme passion = only real happiness; comfort and stability is a delusion at best. That stuff.

Apparently I made that up.

I read a bunch of my old love poems from college today. The fiery misery passion of then vs. the tender, kind calmness of now.

The final sentence of that last passage I quoted - you know, the one about women's lives being fraught with difficulty and heartbreak - is this:
Lastly she said that if women were drawn to rash men it was only that in their secret hearts they knew that a man who would not kill for them was of no use at all.
Which kind of makes me think that the Mexican grandmother in this story led a very different life than I do.

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