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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Hiatus From Nihilism

I think I understand why author Cormac McCarthy is so widely praised by his peers. His prose is muscular and unsparing and does not insult a reader's intelligence. Using little exposition and exceedingly terse dialogue (a fair degree of it in Spanish), McCarthy's characters are free of sentiment. You don't empathize with them because McCarthy doesn't try to make you "feel their pain". When they die, often gruesomely, you move on quickly; someone else will die soon after.

Soon after finishing "Blood Meridian" early this year, I decided to take a break from McCarthy. When the opening credits for "The Counselor" showed his name as the screenwriter, although I figured it unlikely ABBA would be on soundtrack, it's just a movie, right? It'll be over in less than two hours.

In my lifetime, I've probably walked out of fewer than five movie theaters. Even at home, I rarely turn off a film before it's over. And I didn't walk out on "The Counselor". But weeks later, with scenes from this brutal nihilistic movie still in my head, I wish I had. If you thought the ending to "No Country For Old Men" (based on a McCarthy book) was unsettling, avoid "The Counselor". About that hiatus from McCarthy's books? May be longer than originally planned.  

2 comments:

  1. I always thought I would be a "survivor" if the world were to end, or a natural disaster came along that threatened to wipe out the human race. After I read The Road...My view on post apocalypse survival changed. I do not want to be around if it means people steal, kill, or EAT each other, and call it 'surviving'. Thanks to McCarthy for helping me see the light

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  2. Marisa, that was my takeaway from The Road also...if the end of the world is nigh, the only survival gear I'll need are enough sleeping pills to do a Marilyn. I think I'll send a copy of The Road to my family members who are arming themselves and PREPPING for the Armageddon.

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