An astoundingly great novel that will leave your mind with the thousand-yard stare.


Well, where to start ?  Since this novel was first published in 1985, it's come to join  TIME's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.   It typically stands within the top 100 novels of all time.  That's not to say this book is for everyone.

Harold Bloom, one of the most respected literary critics of our time, puts it up as ''the greatest single book since Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.''  However, he initially couldn't get to finish it, finding the brutal violence difficult to stomach. 

The story follows a 14-year-old Tennessee boy simply referred to as ''the kid'' who joins a group of scalp-hunters near the United States and Mexico borderlands between 1849 and 1850.  The book is partially based on historical events, notably My Confession, the autobiography of Civil War Commander Samuel Chamberlain,  and it's apparent that McCarthy made alot of research for this book.  In fact, it seems as if the Author is completely absent at times, and we are only left witnessing helplessly as the story unfolds. 

The book slowly shifts it's center from the Kid to a gifted and intelligent, mysterious man (If he can be called so) named Judge Holden.  He also happens to be a cruel and unforgiving man, cold and calculated, who enjoys war for it's own sake.  As Bloom states, ''the Judge is, short of Moby Dick, the most monstrous apparition in all of American literature''.

Rumors have started popping up about a possible Motion Picture adaptation, however nothing has been set in stone, and no director has even yet been confirmed.  Cormac McCarthy has had great success so far with adaptations of his novels, such as No Country for Old Men and The Road, lets just hope his masterpeice is well taken care of.



''A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained weddingveil and some in headgear of cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or saber done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses’ ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse’s whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.''

Cormac McCarthy