Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist who has steadily risen in stature in the past 10 years. Though he has written since the 1960s, it was the publication of his book All the Pretty Horses in 1992, and its subsequent cinematic adaptation, that brought him widespread recognition.
His reputation as one of the best living American writers was cemented in the placing of his book Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West behind Don Delillo's Underworld and Toni Morrison's Beloved in a New York Times poll of the Greatest American novels of the last 25 years.
While McCarthy has written books in genres such as historical fiction, Southern Gothic, crime and post-apocalyptic science fiction, most of his works are, at heart, Westerns.
In early 2012, he made a big splash by selling his first screenplay, titled The Counselor, a drug thriller about a naive attorney who becomes involved in the drug trade. It was immediately picked up by the producers of the film adaptation of The Road, with Ridley Scott signing on to direct.
Recurring Themes & Elements:
- Arc Words:
- Beige Prose: Often used. However, he also often uses words that people who aced the SATs would have to look up. It all depends on the book.
- Crapsack World
- Downer Ending
- Grey and Gray Morality: Most of his characters are morally ambiguous, although Complete Monsters do crop up from time to time.
- Historical Fiction: A lot of his work tends to be period pieces, most notably Blood Meridian.
- Humans Are Bastards
- It Got Worse
- Karma Houdini
- No Punctuation Period: McCarthy has a number of stylistic idiosyncrasies, but his most pronounced is his continual refusal to use quotation marks, as well as an aversion to apostrophes when using contractions. Another quirk of his is that in many, if not all, of his books, there is not a single exclamation mark. At all. In an interview he stated it's just because he doesn't want to clutter up the page.
- Reclusive Artist : Prior to 2007 at least.
- Schizo-Tech: Most prominently in the Border Trilogy, set at the very end of the Frontier era in the 40s and 50s. The Crossing, for example, includes several cowboys-on-horses shoot 'em ups as well as the protagonist witnessing the first testing of the atom bomb.
- Shown Their Work: His historical fiction is known to be extensively researched.
- The Wild West: A lot of Western tropes crop up in his work, usually relocating them to the Modern era, or in the case of Blood Meridian, giving them a darkly Revisionist twist.