Tag Archives: mccarthy

Cormac McCarthy reading list

To read

Fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah, Foster Bible. Via Wikimedia.

The Bible

Canterbury Tales, Woodcut 1484. Via Wikimedia.

Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and CriseydeThe Book of the Duchess

Satan presiding at the Infernal Council. 1824. John Martin. Via Wikimedia.

John Milton: Paradise Lost  Areopagitica


Etching of Joseph O. Eaton’s portrait of Herman Melville. Via Wikimedia.

Herman Melville: Typee,Omoo,Moby-Dick 

William Faulkner


Flannery O’Connor Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Thomas Pynchon: V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Mason & Dixon

MacKinlay Kantor: Andersonville, If the South Had Won the Civil War

Portrait of Dostoyevsky (Ф.М.Достоевского) by Vasily Perov, 1872. Via Wikimedia.

Ф.М.Достоевского Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Idiot, Demons, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment  

The Orchard Keeper (II)

McCarthy, Cormac. The Orchard Keeper. New York, N.Y.: Vintage International, 1993. Print. (First ed. 1965).

“Half blue tick and half walker.” p. 135

Talking about “being skeered of painters” 148-150.

Muskydine wine p. 150

“They sipped their wine with the solemnity of communicants, troglodytes gathered in some firelit cave. The lamp guttered in a draft of wind and their shadows, ponderous and bearlike upon the wall, weaved in unison.” p.150

“Old Bill, he backed off some, said that old she-painter might be around. Well, I was younger’n him and likely didn’t have as good sense, so in I goes and grabs the little feller up by the scruff of the neck.” p. 152

“And two days later the charred shaft of the pine tree still smoldering, pitch bubbling gently from the shell of the bark and small electricblue flames seeping and curling, the spire of smoke standing straight up in the motionless air like a continuation of the tree itself.” p. 163

“They began to unload, carrying the cases back into the garage, the car creaking and rising bit by bit until they had finished and it stood with its rear end high in the air like a cat in heat.” p. 165

“The old man watched them from his window darting and skulking among the bushes, slipping from tree to tree like boys playing Indians.” p. 185

“The old man sat very still on the floor. One shot struck the stove begind him and leaped off with an angry spang, taking the glass out of the table lamp. It was like being in a room full of invisible and malevolent spirits.” p. 186

“They went silently along over the trace of the quarry road, the sledge whispering, the gaunt dog padding, past the quarryhole with its vaporous green waters and into the woods again, the limestone white against the dark earth, a populace of monstrous slugs dormant in a carbon forest.” p. 189

“Well, Huffaker said, I couldn’t tell you offhand where-all you might find him at. He lives up yander somewheres–a random gesture at the brooding hills that cupped in the valley.” p. 196

“In the woods mists like old gray spirits paled and scattered, by moss coverlets the dark earth stirred and nightfurled wildflowers unbent their withered fronds all down the path where came the derelict hound shambling along in an aureole of its own incredibility,” p. 199

“Through a gap in the trees he could see the valley far below him where the river ran, a cauldron in the mountain’s shadow where smoke and spume seethed like the old disturbance of the earth erupting once again, black mist languidin the cuts and trenches as flowing lava and the palisades of rock rising in the high-shored rim beyond the valley,” p. 200-201

about the old man and his dog “proceeding on the weathered sun-washed bridge, jaunty and yet sad, like maimed soldiers returning.” p. 202

cat being prey to an owl 216-217
“When she left the rocks, was clear of the overreaching branches of the tree, there grew about her a shadow in the darkness like pooled ink spreading, a soft-hissing feathered sound which ceased even as she half turned, saw unbelieving the immense span of wings cupped downward, turned again, already squalling when the owl struck her back like a falling rock.” p. 217

“Cats is smart, allowed the old man. Course it could of been a common everyday housecat. They’ll tear up anything they come up on, a cat will. Housecats is smart too. Smarter’n a dog or a mule. Folks thinks they ain’t on account of you cain’t learn em nothin, but what it is is that they won’t learn nothin. They too smart.” p. 227

“The sun broke through the final shelf of clouds and bathed for a moment the dripping trees with blood, tinted the stones a diaphanous wash of color, as if the very air had gone to wine.” p. 246

“They are gone now. Fled, banished in death or exile, lost, undone. Over the land sun and wind still move to burn and sway the trees, the grasses. No avatar, no scion, no vestige of that people remains. On the lips of the strange race that now dwells there their names are myth, legend, dust.” p. 246

The Orchard Keeper (I)

McCarthy, Cormac. The Orchard Keeper. New York, N.Y.: Vintage International, 1993. Print. (First ed. 1965).

“A phantom rabbit froze in the headlights, rolled one white eye, was gone.” p. 20

“One by one the fallen were entering through the front door red with blood and clay and looking like the vanquished in some desperate encounter waged with sabers and without quarter.” p. 26

“For miles on miles the high country rolled lightless and uninhabited, the road ferruling through dark forests of owl trees, bat caverns, witch covens.” p. 31

“Above the heads of the dancers he could see himself hollow-eyed and sinister in the bar mirror and it occurred to him that he was ungodly and tired.” p. 32

“Cabe made off with a cashbox and at the last minute authorized the fleeing patrons to carry what stock they could with them, so that with the warmth of the fire and the bottles and jars passing around, the affair took on a holiday aspect.” p. 47

“By now the entire building was swallowed in flames rocketing up into the night with locomotive sounds and sucking on the screaming updraft half-burned boards with tremendous velocity which fell spinning, tracing red ribbons brilliantly down the night to crash into the canyon or upon the road, dividing the onlookers into two bands, grouped north and south of harm’s way, their faces lacquered orange as jackolanterns in the ring of heat.” p. 47-48

“There it continued to burn, generating such heat that the hoard of glass beneath it ran molten and fused in a single sheet, shaped in ripples and flutings, encysted with crisp and blackened rubble, murrhined with bottlecaps. It is there yet, the last remnant of that landmark, flowing down the sharp fold of the valley like some imponderable archeological phenomenon.” p. 48

“Coming back he glanced down at the water again. The thing seemed to leap at him, the green face leering and coming up through the lucent rotting water with eyeless sockets and green fleshless grin, the hair dark and ebbing like seaweed.” p. 54

***”She told him that the night mountains were walked by wampus cats with great burning eyes and which left no track even in snow, although you could hear them screaming plain enough of summer evenings.” p. 59-60

“In the fall before this past winter he had come awake one night and seen it for the second time, black in the paler square of the window, a white mark on its face like an inverted gull wing. And the window frame went all black and the room was filling up, the white mark looking and growing. He reached down and thumbed the hammer and let it fall. The room erupted… he remembered the orange spit of flame from the muzzle and the sharp smell of burnt powder, that his ears were singing and his arm hurt where the butt came back against it.” p. 60

“The well hidden in the weeds and johnson grass that burgeoned rankly in the yard had long shed its wall of rocks and they were piled in the dry bottom in layers between which rested in chance interment the bones of rabbits, possums, cats, and other various and luckless quadrupeds.” p. 63

(young rabbit in the well) “He brought green things to it every day and dropped them in and then one day he futtered a handful of garden lettuce down the hole and he remembered how some of the leaves fell across it and it didn’t move. He went away and he could see for a long time the rabbit down in the bottom of the well among the rocks with the lettuce over it.” p. 64

describing a market “By shoe windows where shoddy footgear rose in dusty tiers and clothing stores in whose vestibules iron racks stood packed with used coats, past bins of socks and stocking, a meat market where hams and ribcages dangled like gibbeted miscreants and in the glass cases square porcelain trays piled with meat white-spotted and trichinella-ridden, chinks of liver the color of clay tottering up from moats of water blood, a tray of brains, unidentifiable gobbets of flesh scattered here and there.” p.82

“And the sun running red on the mountain, high killy and stoop of a kestrel hunting, morning spiders at their crewelwork. But no muskrats struggled in his sets.” p. 87

“The old man remembered it now with dim regret. and remembered such nights when the air was warm as breath and the moon no dead thing.” p. 89

“The moon was higher now as he came past the stand of bullbriers into the orchard, the blackened limbs of the trees falling flatly as paper across the path and the red puddle of moon moving as he moved, sliding sodden and glob-like from limb to limb, flatly surreptitious, watching as he watched.” p. 89

“The glade seemed invested with an aura of antiquity, overhung with a silence both spectral and reverent.” p. 90

***”And on the very promontory of this lunar scene the tank like a great silver ikon, fat and bald and sinister.” p. 93

“But there was the house looming, taking shape as he approached, and he felt that he had come a great distance, a sleepwalker who might have spanned vast and dangerous terrains unwittingly and unharmed.” p. 93

“He dropped the lid of the locker closed and the lamp flickered, on the wall a black ghoul hulking over a bier wavered.” p. 94

“The bottle clattered on the floor, he lurched once, wildly, collapsed into the bread rack and went to the floor in a cascade of cupcakes and moonpies.” p. 96

“Wiping water from his eyes he looked about and saw the flashlight, still lit, scuttling downstream over the bed of the creek like some incandescent water-creature bent on escape.” p. 100

“They paid little attention to him and he just watched them, the injured man waving his arms, telling the story, the other scratching alternately belly and head and saying Godamighty softly to himself from time to time by way of comment.” p. 105

“Mornin, the man said cheerfully.
Are you hurt? she asked. She was small and blond and very angry-looking.” p. 107

“The boy looked down at himself, soggy and mudsplattered, seeds and burrs collected on his waterdark jeans like some rare botanical garden being cultivated there, at his rubber kneeboots with twigs and weeds sticking out of them,” p. 108