I recently received a strong endorsement from Richard Wallach the head of the Cormac McCarthy Society. This is an honor to be recognized by such a prestigious group of scholars.
I have been invited to speak at next years Cormac McCarthy Society convention in El Paso. Here is what Rick had to say,
I found out about this novel during the usual New Year’s correspondence with Society members about renewing their annual memberships. Fred mentioned in the course of renewing his that he’d written a novel, parts of which were influenced by elements of Blood Meridian. Several critics, notably Barclay Owen and John Beck, have related Blood Meridian to the Vietnam War because it was largely composed while it was going on, so I found the proposition doubly interesting and ordered a copy of Fred’s book.
Let me say first off that it’s a terrific read. I went through its roughly 250 pages in only a couple of sittings; the language is clean, sinuous and propulsive and the narrative just barrels along. It is structured loosely around Fred’s letters home to his family from the war, letters he discovered his mother had saved, literally every one of them, while he and his sister were sorting through her estate after she passed away. Those epistles were the collective mnemonic device Fred used to return himself to the battlefield. It couldn’t have been easy. As I mentioned to Fred earlier today, it turns the very difficult trick of feeling immediate and current, not retrospective. On the few occasions I put it down I felt wet, muddy and bug-bit, and often shaken up, as though I’d been in some of those hellish combat situations right along with the narrator. As a war novel, it’s as different from, say, Going After Cacciato as Johnny Got His Gun is from Gravity’s Rainbow. It has its humor, but it’s never cartoonish even if it is often nightmarishly surreal.
These days, when some dogs are barking loudly for “boots on the ground” in Syria and Iraq, this novel is, among many other things, a tonic reminder of the ugliness and futility of war.
I’m recommending the book to everyone who wants to see the judge’s philosophy in action. I expect that Fred will be along soon enough to talk about how McCarthy’s work helped him organize and structure some of the most powerful scenes in his novel.