I think Cormac McCarthy is taking over my life. I kid you not. After a long and heated debate, with myself, I finally convinced myself that Blood Meridian is my new all-time favorite novel. Now to the average casual reader this may not seem like a life altering event. But for me, this momentous declaration becomes as serious as Rob Fleming’s (of High Fidelity) All-Time Top 5 Lists. I can only attempt to inform you, gentle reader, of the significance of this decision. It wasn’t easy, but here are the facts. Since reading Blood Meridian, my life has changed in the following ways:
Ø I’ve discovered the joy of pairing a great book with an equally great album. But as Blood Meridian taught me, this is no easy task. The music MUST suit the book. For example the twang and stomp of the legendary spaghetti western composer Ennio Morricone is great for Cormac McCarthy. As is the drone band Earth’s take on lonely Western Americana.
Ø I have suddenly become a huge fan of the aforementioned spaghetti westerns. The Man with No Name series in particular. A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good the Bad and the Ugly introduced me to a world of classic machismo and toughness that elicits what can only be described as a beam of happiness. I won’t go so far as to say this trilogy replaced the original Star Wars series as my all time favorite, but it’s definitely giving the Lord of the Rings trilogy a run for its money in the #2 slot.
Ø As alluded to before, I have a new found appreciation for a genre of music that never interested me. Western. I’m not talking your modern radio country here, but vintage Hank Williams, Johnny Cash (of course) and even some crazy western gospel is where it’s at. The twang, the banjo plucking, and the lonely, open-sky sounds offer a delight never before found.
Ø I’ve always been a fan of reading about the plight of the downtrodden. Society’s outcasts. Those who try and try but make the same mistakes over and over and they just can’t get it right. Or those that eschew the mores of society, replacing in its stead their own ethics and values. After reading Suttree, I feel the Palahniuk’s, the Bret Easton Ellis’s and other writers working with Gen X concerns really aren’t operating on the same tier of quality as McCarthy. (Quick summary: In Suttree, a man of privilege forsakes his family to live a meek life as a fisherman, encountering the drunks, dregs, and squalor along the way. He does it with a dignity and a detachment that sets him apart from everything around him.)
Ø I never liked William Faulkner when it was required reading. Cormac McCarthy’s books have shown me the understated brilliance of Faulkner. I have seen the light! (I have to question whether the pupil has surpassed the master when it comes to these two authors, though. McCarthy is often noted as continuing the ‘Faulknerian Tradition’ but I can’t help but wonder if he hasn’t elevated said tradition to a status it never was before him.)
There you have it. I don’t think I’m prepared yet to ask for his hand in marriage, but you can definitely call me a fanboy. The screaming girl at a Britney Spears show? The girls in my elementary classes that had any and all forms of New Kids on The Block swag/memorabillia? I guess you can say these are now my brethren. My kin.