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Outer Dark Paperback – June 29, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Cormac McCarthy is known for his profoundly dark fiction and masterful reflections on the nature of good and evil. Visit Amazon's Cormac McCarthy Page.
Top Customer Reviews
wordsmith and perfection of metaphor than for complicated plots or rich characterization, McCarthy has crafted this early novel around a simple premise--simple but no less eerie for its simplicity. The story follows an orphaned brother and sister aged around 20 years who spawn a child between them which the brother steals and leaves for dead in the nearby Appalachian forest--telling his sister that the baby died. A traveling salesman finds the child in the forest and takes the baby with him. The sister catches her brother in his lie and sets out across the surrounding towns and countryside in search of the baby for the next year or so. The brother likewise sets out in search of work and his sister. Their brief but spooky adventures in search of the baby and each
other comprise the remainder of the book. By virtue of his craft, McCarthy slowly reveals the world through which the siblings search to be the very
landscape of a sort of living Hell dominated by horrible luck and a sub-Miltonic evil trinity. Readers who enjoyed Blood Meridian will not be let down; will perhaps even be more impressed by parts. This book actually contains a 5 page passage that is arguably richer than the best of Blood Meridian. Describing the brother running from the forest after leaving his child for
dead, McCarthy writes, "He did not come upon the river but upon the creek again. Or another creek. He followed it down, in full flight now, the trees beginning to close him in, malign and baleful shapes that reared like
enormous androids provoked at the alien insubstantiality of this flesh colliding among them."
This is one of McCarthy's first novels, and as good as this novel is, he has gone on to hone his talent even further, becoming one of the true masters of 20th century American fiction. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Faulkner, and any of the authors he has influenced over the decades. Like his influences, McCarthy is not easy reading by any means, but also like them, reading him is a substantially rewarding experience.
This is not a novel for all readers. McCarthy is an aquired taste. The hope through regeneration and purgation is present but certainly takes a close reading to discover. I am not a fan of dark literature per se, but McCarthy posseses such a unique linguistic style, that he indeed weaves a magic tapestry around his narratives and seduces the reader. He also manages to breathe new life into a classic American genre by throwing a new spin at his audience.
Like the rest of McCarthy's novels, "Outer Dark" is on one hand extremely cinematic with its rich and dense imagery and yet completely unfilmable. In fact Jim Jarmasch's excellent but aquired taste "Dead Man" contains many scenes that could have been taken directly from "Outer Dark".
As with all westerns, McCarthy devotes a large portion of his storytelling to creating a vivid landscape. The natural world according to McCarthy is wide, expansive and filled with great dread and danger. The Wilderness is not a place for the meek- they do not get to inherit the earth according to McCarthy. His view is extremely Old Testement in that regard. The wild expanses of the undeveloped country is, in of itself a scourge angel where wickedness is to be purged.
"Outer Dark" is at times a difficult read. For those brave souls willing to take a chance on a risky work of art, I whole heartedly reccomend this unique novel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Certainly is dark, inner and outer; hard to follow some inserted scenes. As depressing as The Road, but a great author is always worth reading.Published 2 hours ago by George L.
McCarthy is a genius--able to conveys more in one sentence than other authors manage in an entire book.Published 14 days ago by Mason G. Petty
This was a disturbing read. I hate open endings as well. I think the author catches poverty like it was then, like we today have never witnessed. Read morePublished 15 days ago by jane
I liked the book, as with McCarthy, it has a lot of imagery & irony, one could argue that one of the main characters are the personification of evil, or that evil is reflection,... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Brad Meder
For many authors, I have found that their earliest works are the best part of their oeuvre. Perhaps it is because no well contains an infinite supply of water, and a writer is... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Robert Bolton
Abeautifulprose style in the tradition of William Faulkner.His Appalachinstories are very dark;more so than even his Texas/Mexico novelsPublished 21 days ago by Jeffrey P. Hufnagle
This is my favorite McCarthy. (Yes, I LOVE Blood Meridian and Suttree, his main contenders.) Outer Dark is the stealth Allosaurus that would evolve into the T-Rex of Blood... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Thora
The master of the dark and morbid, McCarthy doesn't disappoint with this novel. A fine read about simple folk and their quest for redemption.Published 3 months ago by Stephen E. Malo