During the worst of my depression, I could not read fiction. Plots and characters slipped from my mind like steam through a sieve. And during that time, AtD came out.
I was excited—new Pynchon!—but couldn’t read it with any sense of a critical eye. I got ~250 pages in, and felt like I hadn’t read a page.
And that feeling made my depression worse— I was supposed to be a literary scholar—an expert in Pynchon. What a fraud. A reader who couldn’t read.
But now, I think, my depression is under control, and I am loving AtD. The language is rich, evocative, poetic. I think I finally get it. Like Blood Meridian, it’s about the West, which means death treads heavily upon the living. There’s no character like the Judge thus far, but rather the devil lies in wait.
If you don’t like McCarthy we can’t be friends.
He’s just the greatest American prose writer since Faulkner. Pynchon is amazing, especially in V., Gravity’s Rainbow and Mason & Dixon; David Foster Wallace was a master, but didn’t pare his work down enough at times (imvho); Neal Stephenson makes literature out of Captain Crunch and pop-up ads.
But it’s McCarthy who tears away the extraneous and makes the leanest, rawest prose poetic and moving.
I’m going to finish all the other books on my nightstand asap and then just read all the McCarthy books left in his oeuvre. Maybe I can get a paper out of this man’s work; maybe it’s too powerful for me to touch without burning myself.