Hello, all!

It's time for discussion of the first half of the book, or through the end of chapter 12. I hope everyone's enjoying the book so far and has made it the whole way. Some medical issues and an inordinate amount of work have forbidden me from being all the way, but I've gotten most of the way and I'm absolutely loving it. I'll discuss more in the comments, along with everyone else.

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So, Cormac McCarthy lived in El Paso for a while, presumably traveled in Mexico. And not in the best of circumstances, he was dirt poor. I think that when he set out to write a western/military history novel, he asked himself, "what sort of man would have lived where I live, 150 years ago?" And then he wrote a series of characters who are archetypal or at least typical of the setting, but overshadwed by it -- because west Texas, south Texas and desert Mexico are overwhelming, scary places. They're dry, they're unforgiving, and they're empty -- and so are McCarthy's fucking characters. I love it.

His depiction of violence is just realism. I don't see the need to subscribe symbolic value to it. Texas/Mexico (the distinction was blurry then) in the 1800s was a really dangerous place, with a lot of competing factions centered in a small area. All the history of the time that I've ever read indicates McCarthy's violent scenes are by no means beyond normal.

posted 2391 days ago