As a sophomore in college, I tried to read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) over spring break. By the fifteenth page I put it down in disgust. I couldn’t handle the gore. But when I saw the No Country for Old Men movie trailer in 2007, I wanted to see the movie and read the book. I wanted to try McCarthy again. This time around, the Sheriff narrator in No Country for Old Men (2005) caught my interest, as did McCarthy’s knowledge of and talent in writing about mechanical details. I read the book in two sittings, then saw the movie, which closely followed the novel. I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve read seven of McCarthy’s ten novels. Currently my favorite book of his is Cities of the Plain, the third book in his border trilogy. The protagonist John Grady Cole made me sob–a feat no character has accomplished since Owen Meany. If I care about a character as much–or more–as I care about real live people, the author’s done at least part of his work well.