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April 16, 2007

Cormac McCarthy Goes Public

mccarthy.jpg Cormac McCarthy finally takes home a Pulitzer today, for The Road. I'm thrilled that he won, and not at all surprised; as I suggested when I reviewed the novel last fall, it's one of his finest works. What is surprising, however is that the same novel is the latest selection for Oprah's book club and, even moreso, that McCarthy, who in his entire career has limited his press to a single print interview in the New York Times, will be appearing on the show at some point in the near future.

I've never seen Oprah's show before, but I wouldn't miss this episode for the world. I know some people who take umbrage with the sort of branded approval that her book club (literally) represents; I'm really neither here nor there on the matter, but that this novel -which isn't McCarthy's most difficult, but is still far from what many would consider accessible - will be getting introduced to such a wider audience can only be a good thing.

Yesterday, incidentally, I read the author's other published work from last year, the 'novel in dramatic form' entitled The Sunset Limited. It's a one-act piece, set in a dingy apartment in which two elderly men have a philosophical confrontation. These characters go unnamed; they are distinguished by their ethnicity and, consequently, their dialogue, which bears on the one hand the silver tongued affectation of McCarthy's prose and, on the other, his innate sense of cultural dialect, and his ability to convey the rhythms and inflections of those dialects through perfect, precise syntax. He's one of the few writers whose printed work excites the ear as much as the eye.

* * *

There's still no release date set for the Coens' adaptation of McCarthy's No Country For Old Men, but you can see exactly one shot of it in their promo for Apple's Final Cut Studio 2. I had to stay my hand in ordering this upgrade as soon as it was announced yesterday; I don't really need it for anything right now, and I'd rather wait until this fall, anyway, when I might get a new machine to run it on (along with OS Leopard and the new Adobe Production Suite) and, hopefully, have a new film to try out all its features with. Including Color. Especially Color.

And on the subject of films of mine - the only thing film festivals send via post is, generally, rejection letters, so I was about to throw away the envelope that came this morning from the Academy Qualifying Black Maria Film Festival when I remembered that most festivals don't even send out letters anymore - why bother when a mass e-mail will do? So I opened it and found within notification that Some Analog Lines had won a Directors' Citation Award. Which, I learned, is essentially an honorable mention with a more dignified name. Which is great, considering I didn't even know I was in the festival.

Posted by David Lowery at April 16, 2007 4:32 PM


wow david! congrats!!! keep 'em coming!

Posted by: Yen at April 16, 2007 8:22 PM

2 shots, actually.

Posted by: mutinyco at April 17, 2007 2:45 PM

I've been meaning to get into McCarthy for a while now. Perhaps after I finally finish up school in a couple months. Any suggestions on what to start with?

Posted by: bryan at April 17, 2007 2:51 PM

i read 'the road' a couple of weekends ago. i just don't get the hype over it. the width of the gap between my experience of a work and it's public praise never ceases to amaze me when it's so considerable.

Posted by: christopher at April 17, 2007 3:00 PM

Bryan....you might want to start with The Border trilogy, which served as my own introduction to his work. It's a good starting point, although a lot of people would say that you should just dive headfirst into Blood Meridian and see what happens.

Christopher, I think there's a lot of disagreement on The Road. Some read it as a devolution of style, while others see it as a considerable advancement. I'm in the latter category, of course, although it took about thirty or forty pages for me to realize it.

Posted by: Ghostboy at April 17, 2007 3:27 PM

congrats, david! what a surprise! great job!

Posted by: frank at April 17, 2007 10:55 PM

Congratulations! And deserving... I still rewatch it some times. It is a really nice film, and it keeps getting better.

Posted by: Karsten at April 18, 2007 5:05 AM