Monday, September 8, 2008

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

I'm not sure exactly where to start with this one. I can't really say that I enjoyed this book. I really thought I would from the blurb on the back of the book, but it wasn't to be. I haven't read anything else by McCarthy so I don't know if this is typical of his writing or not. If it is, I probably won't be reading any more of his work. The story is about a young woman who has her brother's baby. There's no background information to explain how they came to be alone or why they're living in this remote cabin in the middle of nowhere. The reader isn't told whether the brother rapes his sister or whether she consents to sex with him. All this happens before the story begins. He's afraid that someone will find out about their secret and so he won't call anyone to help her when the time comes to deliver the baby. In reality, I don't think he wanted anyone to be there to witness what he does. After his sister falls asleep, he takes the baby and leaves him in the woods and tells her that the baby died. She soon discovers his lie. While she spends the rest of the book looking for her son, her brother is searching for her. I'm not squeamish, but I could see how some people would find this book more than a little disturbing. There is quite a bit of senseless violence without any redemption. Don't worry about spoilers with this one -- because there really is no plot. Like I said, this one is hard to describe.

9 comments:

Lezlie said...

I think McCarthy, for the most part, is an acquired taste. He's a very disturbing writer, but I can't stay away. I have a review for his book "The Orchard Keeper" on Books 'N Border Collies, if you're curious about more weirdness. :-)

Lezlie

Iliana said...

Ok, I have to think that all of his books sound so depressing! I don't know that I'll be rushing to add this one to my list. Hmm....

Anyway, I tagged you on a meme but only if you feel up to it :)

Lisa said...

lezlie, I don't usually shy away from dark or depressing books, but for some reason this one just didn't have much of a plot or story. I was left asking the question, What was the point of this book? I am interested to know about his other work, so I'll be coming over to check out your review. Thanks!

iliana, I hate to turn any one off of an author, but this book just didn't seem to have much of anything to offer other than death and destruction. I kept waiting for some bigger picture to emerge or some redeeming quality. But, it never appeared. Lezlie has a review at her blog of one of his books that I'm going to check out, though. Maybe he is just an acquired taste.

Dorothy W. said...

I have trouble getting excited about McCarthy, except for The Road, which I really loved. But I've tried other novels, and they just don't do it for me. He really does require a certain kind of taste I think.

Lisa said...

dorothy, I haven't read The Road, but my husband read it. I really don't remember what he had to say about it. I want to try something else, so if you liked The Road maybe I'll try that one. I don't want to give up on this author after only one book.

Lezlie said...

Lisa ~ I've read three of his now, and The Road is the only one I actually recommend to other people. Definitely give that one a try. As I'm sure you've seen around the blog world, it's a depressing read, but very, very powerful.

Lezlie

Lisa said...

lezlie, I don't usually mind depressing if there's something else to the book. I will definitely give The Road a try. Thanks for the recommendation.

SFP said...

Suttree is my favorite McCarthy. It took a long time for me to get into it, but then I loved it wholeheartedly. I doubt I'll ever manage to finish Blood Meridian.

Lisa said...

sfp, I've never heard of Suttree. Maybe I need to try to find that one. I'm determined to read something else by McCarthy.