Read Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy Online

outer-dark

By the author of the critically acclaimed Border Trilogy, "Outer Dark" is a novel at once mythic and starkly evocative, set in an unspecified place in Appalachia sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; the brother leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alBy the author of the critically acclaimed Border Trilogy, "Outer Dark" is a novel at once mythic and starkly evocative, set in an unspecified place in Appalachia sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; the brother leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.'McCarthy is a master stylist, perhaps without equal in American letters . . . In his hands, everything is done with consummate skill' "Village Voice "'McCarthy has made the fabulous real, the ordinary mysterious' "New York Times "'A profound parable that ultimately speaks to any society in any time' "Time"...

Title : Outer Dark
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330511223
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 252 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Outer Dark Reviews

  • Annet
    2018-12-09 15:16

    This is my third Cormac McCarthy book. First one was The Road, which is without a doubt one of the best books I ever read, it had a great impact on me. Second was No country for old men, after seeing the movie and discovering this story was also written by McCarthy I felt the need to read the story too to fully grasp its meanings. McCarthy writes dark, incredible, fascinating stories, Outer Dark is no exception. I find his writing and style very powerful, very expressive, beautiful, clear sentences, language and descriptions and the stories are so fascinating and always food for thought, I am a big fan of Cormac McCarthy now. This book leaves you thinking... what does this all mean, and it stays in your mind. I'm sure I will want to keep rereading his books. This man is a great writer. So glad I discovered his talents last year with The Road. Next McCarthy book is on my list to read, but after a break and some other books. This book has to sink in first and first I need some lighter reads before starting the next one. However, looking forward to it already.

  • Mike Puma
    2018-12-01 20:07

    ***The following review, such as it is, might be considered spoilerish.Proceeding cautiously through my long-awaited, chronological rereading of the works of Cormac McCarthy, reading the supplemental materials I’ve picked up over the years, and marveling at things I hadn’t noticed first time around. Isn’t that why we reread anything?This one, as dark and foreboding as anything he’s written, in several ways, seems the telling of the Anti-Nativity—not the birth of the Anti-Christ, but a birth magnificently abhorrent, replete with familiar, though inverted/contorted biblical images worthy of Dante or Bruegel. Consider the three itinerant misfits who preside over the italicized sections—not the Magi, but three evil personages whose presence coincides with the birth of the child, whose presence is a torment to Culla, Rinthy, the unnamed child, the tinker, indeed everyone they encounter—who arrive, not bearing gifts but spreading carnage; consider their unholy communion around the fire with Culla; consider their leader’s uncanny resemblance to Judge Holden (the personification of evil in Blood Meridian).To belabor the point: consider the unnecessary Sacrifice (is a human sacrifice ever necessary?). Try not to compare/contrast the Slaughter of the Innocents writ small in the final campfire scene. Try not to compare/contrast the biblical images of shepherds tending flocks with pigs run amok while their drovers shower blame on the innocent bystander. Try not to consider the child as one sent to redeem the sins of the world, but rather, as one who suffers the sins of the world nevertheless.OD is more than biblical images, biblical language, poetry, and pacing, although it’s hard to not recognize or sense that biblical heft. Some readers may come away from OD feeling as though they’ve read the equivalent of the entire Old Testament. As an aside, I should mention that my biblical recollections are dated—arising, as they did (biting my tongue here) from a period after I followed a spectacular pair of blue jeans to a tent revival which led to a Scandinavian extravaganza with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.It’s tempting to bump up the star rating on this, as it was with The Orchard Keeper, but unless something really startling happens on these rereads I’m going to stick with my initial rating. In this case, maybe bump it up to 4.5 so I can still distinguish it from No Country for Old Men—but then, I may like that one better this time around as well. And now, kind ladies and good gentlemen, I can proceed to the corresponding chapter in Reading the World: Cormac McCarthy's Tennessee Period in the hope of eventually overcoming my novice standing in the world of Cormac McCarthy studies; I know, I know, wishful thinking, but good things come to those who …wait, we’re talking McCarthy—good thing I’m not one of his protagonists.

  • Tom Troutman
    2018-11-30 20:51

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  • Lawyer
    2018-12-11 19:57

    Outer Dark: Cormac McCarthy's Novel of Judgment and ResponsibilityAnd cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:30, KJVIf there were ever a more unprofitable servant to appear in literature, it would be difficult to find one less so than Culla Holme. Brother to Rinthy, he has perpetrated the social taboo of incest. He fears his sin will be found out. When Rinthy's water breaks, he allows her to suffer through labor, refusing to even summon a midwife. She bears a son, whom Culla never allows her to hold or nurse. Rather, he abandons his child in the woods and tells his sister the child has died.A travelling tinker finds the child and saves it. To hide his abandonment of the child, Culla prepares a grave, a deception Rinthy sees through, digging up the grave herself to find that no body is there.Culla leaves their home and seeks work from town to town. Rinthy also leaves home to find her child, her "Chap," as she calls him.Each of Culla's efforts to find work and become a profitable servant fail. He is pursued by three violent men, perhaps symbols of an angry God, who leave a path of death and destruction in their wake. I wondered that there were not four horsemen. But I remembered that McCarthy was the fourth, driving each of the three on and on. The targets of their violence are those with whom Culla has come into contact. The simple honesty of Rinthy brings her into contact with individuals of a kinder and gentler nature than those with whom Culla deals and deceives. That Culla ultimately is confronted by the vengeful trio is inevitable. I leave the outcome of Culla's judgment to the readerm just as must also leave the outcome of Rinthy's search for her Chap.McCarthy's second novel descends into darkness of a degree much greater than seen in his debut novel, The Orchard Keeper. "Outer Dark" is a work intentionally marked with the grim, grotesque, and gothic. With this novel, the reader sees McCarthy's escalating violence that is vivid in its ability to shock and appall.This is a tale that might have been ripped from the pages of the Brothers Grimm and ramped up to a degree that is sufficiently shocking for a society that has become more jaded and unable to wince at the vilest acts of men. It will not easily be forgotten, once read. Nor is it a tale one will easily pick up again.

  • Cecily
    2018-11-16 17:49

    Having given 5* to The Road (my review here http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...), I was surprised and disappointed at how much I disliked this. Like The Road, it is dark and sparse, and involves destitute people travelling on foot, looking for food, shelter and hope, but that is where the similarity ends.This is set much longer ago (before cars) and tells several parallel and occasionally intersecting stories: a woman searching for her missing baby; her brother searching for her; a tinker travelling between towns, and a gang.Although they all rely on, and often receive kindness from strangers, the book is suffused with brooding menace: "a sky heavy and starless... and laden with the false warmth of impending storm" and "the tracks of commerce lay fossilised in dried mud" and "a hushed blue world of the dead".Like The Road, the language is bleak and McCarthy doesn't scatter the pages with punctuation, though he uses far more than in The Road: the main omission is quotation marks. Whereas I think that extreme sparseness worked in The Road, the middle path adopted in this book is neither one thing nor the other.I never found the story really engaging, but my real problem with it is the gruesomeness. There is a vicious, motiveless murder, done with a smile. Nasty, but in context, it fits with the story. However, near the end there is something much worse that I wish I hadn't read.Not for the faint-hearted.

  • Zoeytron
    2018-11-26 22:16

    An air of ruin permeates this bleak tale of abandonment, desperation, and want. 'Hard people makes hard times.' Culla and Rinthy Holme, brother and sister, were brought up hard. They ain't never had nuthin'. Look for a man who bares 'his orangecolored teeth in a grimace of lecherous idiocy.' Regard the 'dead gray serpentine of the river' as it flows. See the old crone with the elfin face in the woods. She won't abide a hound dog on the place, but has no qualms with a pig rooting around and sleeping inside her shack. For readers who dig on desolate, unforgiving plots, this one's for you. I thought it was outstanding.

  • Aubrey
    2018-11-21 19:57

    3.5/5The ancestors had called Europeans “the orphan people” and had noted that as with orphans taken in by selfish or coldhearted clanspeople, few Europeans had remained whole. They failed to recognize the earth was their mother. Europeans were like their first parents, Adam and Eve, wandering aimlessly because the insane God who had sired them had abandoned them.-Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the DeadI will always be a fan of McCarthy because of his treatment of the "Western" tradition. However, my rating is part comparison to his previously read works, part comparison to previously read as a whole, due to my growing intolerance for gore porn. Chances are good that, had I not read Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West previous to this, the rating would have been higher. This not being the case, coupled with the climatic overload of (view spoiler)[gruesome baby murder (hide spoiler)] having been hit upon recently in a much stronger fashion by God's Bits of Wood, renders the stars as shown.And as he lay there a far crack of lightning went bluely down the sky and bequeathed him in an embryonic bird's first fissured vision of the world and transpiring instant and outrageous from dark to dark a final view of the grotto and the shapeless white plasm struggling upon the rich and incunabular moss like a lank swamp hare.Another reason for the not quite 'really liked it' is my quota of McCarthytasmagoric prose remaining unfulfilled by the end of the book. This is his first or thereabouts, if I remember correctly, which may explain the beginning of the text flashing out in cthulu glory only to die down and save for a couple brief surges never regaining its sermon of pungent damnation. Few can match the prose of an everlasting stumbling out of the utter darkness into a world of inexorable senses, so if you're looking for a McCarthy intro less inundated by public praise, this would be a good place to start. As you maybe can tell from my own five-dollar word ramblings, his writing style is an infectious breed.I believe I would've liked it more if the themes had tended less towards the biblical parsings of Original Sin and more towards what it really means for a country to instill an overwhelming desire in all its citizens to go out alone and make as violent and crazed a living as is necessary for their "independence". Or maybe it was McCarthy's insistence on fleshing out the prolicidal male of the incestuous couple when the author's strengths lie neither in empathy nor in resonance but in fearful archetype of what we worship and cower amongst. Ah well. I'm banking on Suttree to go better than this one did, so here's hoping that pops up at a sale in the coming weeks.

  • Diane Barnes
    2018-11-15 15:56

    I wasn't sure about this book. I read "All the Pretty Horses" many years ago and didn't care for it. I tried "Suttree" and put it down after a couple of chapters. I liked "The Orchard Keeper", but it wasn't his typical dark, dark themes.But maybe this one came along at just the right time in my evolution as a reader. Despite the violence and sadness, despite the intentionally evil actions of some and the wrong actions of others that were committed in innocence, this book became for me an allegory of our journey through life."Times is hard.""Hard people makes hard times. I've seen the meanness of humans til I don't know why God ain't put out the sun and gone away."To say Cormac McCarthy has a way with words is an understatement. His writing is on a different plane of consciousness and transports me to that plane as I am reading. And his mastery of dialogue is pure genius. He leaves a lot of decisions about his characters up to the reader, which I appreciate. I like it when an author thinks I'm intelligent enough to figure it out.There is a scene near the end of this book where Holme, one of the main characters, meets up with a group of men driving a herd of hogs to market. It is a comic masterpiece, placed in exactly the right spot to make the horror in the next chapter even more awful. McCarthy doesn't like one to get too comfortable.So, to surprise a lot of people, myself most of all, I am now a full-fledged McCarthy fan. I may give "All the Pretty Horses" another try, but first I need to read "The Road". After an interval, of course. His words are too powerful, and need to be rationed out.

  • Eisnein
    2018-11-28 16:02

    From his earliest literary forays like 'The Orchard Keeper' and 'Suttree', it was clear that the American Novel had found its heir to Faulkner. His prose contained the same lyrical beauty and biblical gravity of his artistic predecessor, but with a harsh, often brutal clarity that was all his own.With 'Outer Dark', he transcended the labels and comparisons, defining himself as the greatest prose stylist of his generation, framing the rough structure for his dark personal vision of America... populated by the all-too-human horrors and nightmares that haunted the frontier, leaving their bloody fingerprints across the pages of American history.As American as this novel is, McCarthy mines deeper veins, working mythological ores seamlessly into the alloy. The baby left exposed on a hillside due to deformity or weakness, or as in this case, incest, is drawn from the Bronze Age traditions of ancient Greece, wherein the gods decide the child's fate. The terrifying and brilliant presence of the three deadly strangers stalking the siblings' trail are the Erinyes, The Furies, agents of divine retribution tasked with hounding and destroying those who spill the blood of their own family.The allusions continue, and a knowledge of Greek myth is certainly helpful in fully appreciating the depth of the novel, but isn't necessary. McCarthy draws upon archetypal resonance to give 'Outer Dark' a weight that transcends the particulars of time and place without in any way negating them. It's not his greatest novel, but it was his first true masterpiece.

  • Darwin8u
    2018-12-08 18:55

    “Ive seen the meanness of humans till I dont know why God aint put out the sun and gone away.” ― Cormac McCarthy, Outer DarkI keep reading Cormac McCarthy to find a single crack of light in his dark, grotesque lyricism. 'Outer Dark' was unconventional and amazing. The story was allegorical without being stiff, it was regional without being provincial. Like most of McCarthy's work it is Biblical in its power and intensity. In 'Outer Dark', McCarthy is throwing chert boulders at the dark center of the Universe. He isn't interested in little themes. Even in his small books he is taking on ideas as large and slippery as fate, guilt, agency, and God. Structurally, Outer Dark was drum-tight. The prose and the vernacular/archaic dialogue were both crisp and amazing. 'Outer Dark' is prose art at a high-level and it scared the literary Hell out of me.

  • Cody
    2018-12-01 18:15

    Color rating: CrimsonHere, in this forested glade lorded over by Moloch, I could remain evermore. I place Outer Dark in one of the medaled positions of McCarthy’s entire body of work—it’s that extraordinary. There is an ephemeral otherness to the whole affair that renders it an uncommon jewel of a novel (and a bit of an outlier in comparison to his other books): you’re required to do a lot of the heavy-lifting and connect some dots yourself. As I don’t mind working for my keep, that’s more than fine by me.Listen: when you start a book with consensual incest, you’re getting off to whipsmart start in my opinion (all apologies to survivors of consensual incest, survivors of Flowers in the Attic, &c). Although that’s the more salacious aspect to Dark, it’s not really where my interest or loyalties lie. I speak, of course, of The Bearded One, Harmon, and he-with-no-name. These avenging angeldemons are a creation of pure genius; a category-defying motley of Recompense and Reckoning that blur the line between God and Devil to its properly indistinguishable blood smudge. They are the Three Horseman of the Apocalypse; the New Riders of the Crimson Sage. The framing that McCarthy uses for their unrelenting progress is some of the finest, most purely worddrunk prose-song of his career:What discordant vespers do the tinker’s goods chime through the long twilight and over the brindled forest road, him stooped and hounded through the windy recrements of day like those old exiles who divorced of corporeality and enjoined ingress of heaven or hell wander forever the middle warrens spoorless increate and anathema. Hounded by grief, by guilt, or like this cheerless vendor clamored at heel through wood and fen by his own querulous and inconsolable wares in perennial tin malediction.Outer Dark reads like some expurgated book of the Old Testament, where allegory and metaphor replace overt action. Though just as insidiously concerned with the evils of the Fallen as ever, McCarthy’s bloodiness here isn’t grandiose. It is thick-clotted at the jugular, and when it breaks free it devastates with grotesque beauty. Let us make Moloch this sacrifice and remain cool in the shade of the selfsame.

  • Teresa Proença
    2018-11-26 21:03

    Quando era miúda ouvia falar, em surdina, num livro maldito que levava à loucura quem o lesse até ao fim. Como sempre fui mais curiosa que medrosa, no dia em que o encontrei tratei, rapidamente, de o ler (do fim para o princípio, para ter mais efeito maléfico); e não fiquei louca (pelo menos não mais que os demais). Teria cerca de dezasseis anos e, muito descrente de histórias de bruxaria, ri-me, perdidamente, imaginando a trabalheira que os feiticeiros tinham para conseguir os ingredientes necessários à confecção das poções. Esta recordação surgiu-me quando terminei de ler Nas Trevas Exteriores, pois temo que Cormac McCarthy consiga o que o Capa de Aço de São Cipriano não conseguiu: enlouquecer-me. Enfeitiça-me a sua prosa; angustiam-me as suas histórias; fascinam-me as suas personagens; intrigam-me os seus epílogos. Rinthy e Culla são irmãos. Quando o filho de ambos nasce, o pai abandona-o para que ele morra na floresta. Separam-se e ela parte em busca do filho e ele em busca dela. Vagueiam por terras, pedindo abrigo e comida nas casas por que vão passando; e enquanto ele pede trabalho, ela pergunta pelo bébé. Na sua demanda, vão-se cruzando com três homens misteriosos até um final que pressagia o apocalipse para este mundo de cegos..."Que necessidade tem um homem de ver o seu rumo, se afinal de contas não há modo de lhe fugir?"(Carlo Carra, The Horsemen of the Apocalypse)

  • Matthew
    2018-11-21 18:10

    All of the other reviews are too slavering, too worshipful, too fucking nerdy and self-referential to suggest that their authors actually read this book. I read about 15 of them, and not once did I see a comment, suggestion, reflection that added anything to my understanding of the text. Spare me the book reports. If you don't have anything to say, find a forum in which your lack of authority is expected: I suggest the rest of your life. Funny that I didn't see a single mention of its place in the canon of wander tales, or of aimlessness, or of narrative freedom, or of the painfully intentional disappointment of expectation, or of the absence of time or space.What's Outer Dark about? Given that all the heroes in McCarthy's books are killers, and all the killers embody nothingness, and that everything else is muffheaded stylistic flourish, I'd say that it's probably about nothingness. And what's nothingness about?"Uh, I'm some douchey guy on the internet. Please allow me to give you a handjob McCarthy. This book is about 'Southern Noir' and violence and incest and taboo and a bunch of other horseshit that makes me uncomfortable and I'm so grateful for your suffocating malletfisted talent and for your allowing me to learn the names of trees and how to violate grammar and syntax artfully."Meh.Shut up.5 out of 5.

  • Craig
    2018-12-03 15:09

    I'm not a fan of nonsense lyrical language nor am I a fan of incest cannibalist nihilism or lack of punctuation so this book is probably not the book for me.

  • Tiffany Reisz
    2018-11-28 19:13

    If I met Mr McCarthy I’d be mighty tempted to ask him what happened to him as a child to make him write books this dark. But I wouldn’t ask because he’d probably tell me.

  • Kirk Smith
    2018-12-04 19:54

    Absolute pleasure to read. Artistic perfection. The book and the author are classics!Update after second reading. A horrible and violent story, beautifully written. No happy ending.

  • Mary
    2018-11-24 19:07

    What’s a jew?One of them old-timey people from in the bible.This was as bleak and foreboding as each McCarthy novel I've read so far. Perhaps made all the more enjoyable as I just returned from visiting a very “Child of God like” part of Tennessee. Almost put me off BBQ meat, though...

  • Szplug
    2018-11-14 19:52

    This was my second Cormac McCarthy read, having initiated myself years ago with his more Faulkneresque rookie effort, The Orchard Keeper. I really enjoyed this one—grim, brooding, spectral atmosphere, replete with three harrowing strangers, seeping violence, who dog the steps of the fraternal half of our brother-sister protagonists. The book begins with sin, and this particular stain won't wash out, regardless of how far the brother, Culla, journeys through unnamed Appalachia in an attempt to scrub it. Towards the end, when the brother sits down for a distinctly uncomfortable parley with the trio who have been pouring blood into his tracks as a macabre spoor, the stage is set for the understanding that he has reached the darkest corner of his own realization of hell. And what of the tinker, that peripatetic figure of gritty creases and scrub bristles who barters with those for whom he will serve as accomplice, witness, shriver and judge?This is southern gothic done very well. McCarthy's vision of early America is the stuff of dreams and nightmares, populated with itinerant strangers and alternately hostile and accommodating locals. Not of the same caliber as Blood Meridian, but close.

  • Larry Bassett
    2018-12-01 14:13

    Who were those three men? I am sure that (view spoiler)[I have no idea!(hide spoiler)]I have read several Cormac McCarthy books: The Road, No Country for Old Men, Blood Meridian and Suttree. With the exception ofSuttree I have not disliked any of those books and I even gaveSuttree two stars (It Was OK) because of the stunning language that turned up regularly.So Outer Darkwas a special McCarthy experience for me. I could actually follow the story: sister has baby; brother abandons baby; sister goes in search for baby; brother goes in search of sister. Then it ends. There is more to this than a story but I decided just to enjoy the story and not try to figure out the meaning. Other GR reviews will have to take over from me on that aspect.Here is a long paragraph with McCarthy’s specialty: language. McCarthy give spellcheck fits.It was a very old cabin and the ceiling of the room he stood in was little higher than his head, the unhewn beams smoked a foggy and depthless black and trellised with cobwebbing of the same color. The floor was buckled and the walls seemed tottering and he could see nothing plane or plumb anywhere. There was a small window mortised crookedly into the logs of one wall, the sash being with leather hinges. That and the long clayless chinks among the logs let in the waning light of this day and wind crossed the room with the steady cool pull of running water. There was a claymortared fireplace of flatless and illfitted fieldstone which bulged outward in the room with incipient collapse, a wagon spring for lintel, the hearth of poured mud hard and polished as stone. A serpentine poker. Two wood bedsteads with tickings of husks and a half-bed with a mattress on which lay curled a dead cat leering with eyeless grimace, a caved and maggoty shape that gave off a faint dry putrescence above the reek of aged smoke. He took hold of the mattress and pulled it from the bed and dragged it to the door, fighting it through the narrow opening and outside and long bright red beetles coming constantly from beneath the cat to scatter in radial symmetry outward and drop audibly to the floor. He threw the mattress in the yard and went back in. In the kitchen a doorless woodstove propped in the front with two bricks against the floor’s fierce incline. A partitioned meal bin with sifter and a hard dry crust of meal adhering to the wood, the meal impregnated with worms whose shed husks littered the floor of the bin among micedroppings and dead beetles. A solid butternut safe in which languished some cheap white crockery, chipped and handleshorn coffeecups, plates serrated about their perimeters as though bitten in maniacal hunger, a tin percolator in which an inverted salmoncan sat for a lid. When Holme was taken from this cabin to the Squire at the point of a shotgun for what was finally determined to be trespassing, I almost laughed out loud (unheard of for me and McCarthy) at the long scene of the hearing, judgment and sentencing in the kitchen of the Squire’s house.I not only laughed but didn’t want to put the book down at the end of the story wondering what was going to happen.On the basis of the story, I am going to surprise all of you and give Outer Darkfour stars. I just enjoyed the language and although much of it was grim, I was captivated by the writing. Sure, sometimes I did wonder what this or that meant but I just tried to re-immerse myself in the story. It is a good one. I am so happy that I finally found something by Cormac McCarthy to really like. But don't ask me about those three mean men.

  • Jessaka
    2018-11-30 15:58

    I read this in one day as it was that good. I was afraid that it was going to be a really dark read with a lot of violence, and not to say that it didn't have some moments, but it was no worse than "All the Pretty Horses." So, my next book by him will be "Blood Meridian." Might as well delve into the real darkness.It reminded me somewhat of his book "The Road" but only in that Holmes was out looking for his sister who was roaming the country trying to find their baby, and in their search they were meeting a lot of interesting and not so interesting people as well as searching for food and shelter. I read some reviews to see if there is anything I had missed, but I found that a lot of people were writing that they saw Christian overtones in it, Christ scenarios. Why do college professors always have to do this with books? I remember a professor once saying that the watermelon in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" represented the blood of Christ. I can always tell a college student when they start this with books. To me, analyzing a book takes away from its enjoyment. Sure the couple were religious, and the brother believed he had sinned against his sister, but then to begin making biblical analogies, such as the baby being Christ and the couple being Joseph and Mary, etc. No. I don't believe that McCarthy is busy writing these books because he is trying to make biblical analogies. He probably just met a lot of religious people when he was growing up, and what is a southern novel without some religion? But if he ever comes out and says that he actually wrote this book as a biblical analogy, then I will believe him.

  • Aprile
    2018-11-21 15:16

    BestialeMi ero quasi dimenticata di cosa volesse dire leggere McCarthy. Esseri umani elementari, primitivi, colti nell'atto della loro sopravvivenza quotidiana, scevri da qualsiasi sovrastruttura dovuta alla cultura o all'abitudine alla convivenza, impegnati a guadagnare un dollaro al giorno quando la fame aggredisce le viscere, o meglio, quando gli stenti non consentono più di proseguire il cammino. Nei libri di McCarthy si cammina spesso e si incontrano persone, tutte poco meno affamate e selvatiche del viandante stesso. Si galleggia. Non si nuota a crawl o a rana, si galleggia, ci si accontenta. Finalmente ne "Il buio fuori" compare in primo piano una donna, Rinthy, che ricorda tanto Lena di "Luce d'agosto" di Faulkner. Mi chiedo se Cormac non ci abbia pensato mentre narrava del comportamento così lineare, spontaneo e consequenziale di Rinthy, il comportamento di una gatta che cerca i propri cuccioli affogati. E questi ignoranti, grezzi, mentecatti sono i personaggi positivi. Il male, invece, ha le vesti di una "trinità" bestiale o di mandriani di maiali, tra i quali il barlume della coscienza umana - non consapevolezza animale - è soffocato sul nascere o addirittura non è mai riuscito a germinare neppure una volta. La bestia. Il nero più nero. Il buio fuori. Solo la lingua è ricercata, dettagliata, adeguata e penetrante, a testimonianza di ciò che potrebbe distinguere l'uomo dalla bestia e dalla natura. Queste ultime partono svantaggiate - non sanno parlare e scrivere - ma spesso superano nella gara la partecipazione umana. 1968, Providence (Rhode Island) 1933

  • Matt
    2018-11-17 17:00

    I’ve been struggling with this review for over three weeks. ‘Outer Dark’ is probably my favorite Cormac McCarthy book to date and also the most aptly titled. There should be vouchers for free therapy printed on the inside cover. The thing that attracts me to McCarthy’s work is that he utilizes such beautiful prose in tales that outline the nature of human ugliness. Here are two of my favorite passages:“She shook him awake from dark to dark, delivered out of the clamorous rabble under a black sun and into a night more dolorous, sitting upright and cursing beneath his breath in the bed he shared with her and the nameless weight in her belly.” P. 5“She went west on the road while the sky grew pale and the waking world of shapes accrued about her. Hurrying along with the sunrise at her back she had the look of some deranged refugee from its occurrence. Before she had gone far she heard a horse on the road behind her and she fled into the wood with her heart at her throat. It came out of the sun at a slow canter, in a silhouette agonized to shapelessness. She crouched in the bushes and watched it, a huge horse emerging seared and whole from the sun’s eye and passing like a wrecked caravel gaunt-ribbed and black and mad with tattered saddle and dangling stirrups and hoofs clopping softly in the dust and passing enormous and emaciate and inflamed and the sound of it dying down the road to a distant echo of applause in a hall forever empty.” P. 211-212It is basically all expository writing peppered with obscure words, but I find it intoxicating. No one speaks like this and very few write in this way. The gravity of his voice seems to come from the alien way in which it communicates. Similar to his other titles during the late 1960’s/early 1970’s the setting for this story is in the Appalachian region. Rinthy and Culla Holmes are siblings of unspecified ages (one would assume that they are both in their mid-teens) who live alone in a cabin deep in the woods. Rinthy is…hold onto your hats…pregnant with Culla’s child. Before we proceed further, I must get this out of my system:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyKvD-...OK, sorry. The baby comes to term and Culla abandons it out in the woods where it is picked up by a tinker. When Rinthy discovers this she takes off in search of the tinker and her “chap” while Culla takes off on a never defined quest of his own. To further complicate matters, three murderous rubes seem to be after them for reasons unknown. I’m still pondering what the hell it all means. During her travels Rinthy seems to usually fall in with honest folks who give her a meal or healthcare when they have little to spare themselves. Culla on the other hand always ends up being nearly hanged in every town he stumbles into. Why all the playa hatin’? Homeboy just knocked up his sister and stole some boots, haven’t we all…OK, never mind. Is this really the main point of this book, simply that what goes around comes around?Another possibility comes from a blurb that I spotted which asserted that this book is an inverted reboot of the nativity story. This is where things start to get really weird. Sure, some of the characters fall in line such as Rinthy being Mary, the chap being Jesus, and the pursuing freak show being the magi. There are also a couple of crazy-assed prophets that show up now and again. The problem with this theory is Culla. Would he be Joseph or God? To follow this line of thought to its end one would have to assume the latter and that the final fate of the terribly neglected, one-eyed baby is McCarthy’s own indictment of the Christian God for allowing a world so steeped in the meanness of humanity to continue. Surprisingly enough, there are a few instances of humor in this dark masterpiece. These rare moments come across as gut-wrenchingly funny, but this probably has more to do with the stark contrast of the moment rather than McCarthy’s wit. I’m not sure if this was being played for laughs, but near the end of the book Culla engages a pig herder in a conversation that ends up being totally surreal. Anyone who has spent time in an isolated, rural area has most likely overheard similar conversations and been torn between laughter and a despaired amazement at how the participants do not forget to keep breathing as they trundle through their daily affairs. Yes, this book is dark and in no way spiritually uplifting, but it is also morbidly beautiful like an old cemetery.

  • sologdin
    2018-11-22 13:56

    As though Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire focused intently on the concentration of forces at issue in the moment of "the things I do for love." I've read enough McCarthy to understand, I think, that his prose is almost tediously spartan for nine parts and then will bust a sudden swagger of rhetorgasm, as perhaps suggested by prior remarks on Blood Meridian.Some examples (in addition to the quotations in the status updates):Early foreshadowing in "the trees reared like enormous androids provoked at the alien insubstantiality of this flesh colliding among them" (17);One principal observes how "the tracks coming up the near side had vanished. As if their maker had met in this forest some dark other self in chemistry with whom he had been fused traceless from the earth" (20);A "town looked not only uninhabited but deserted, as if plague had swept and decimated it. He stood at the center of the square where the tracks of commerce lay fossilized in dried mud all about him, turning, an amphitheatrical figure in that moonwrought waste manacled to a shadow that struggled grossly in the dust" (131);One of the antagonists--"his beard shone and his mouth was red, and his eyes were shadowed lunettes with nothing there at all" (171);"She crouched in the bushes and watched it, a huge horse emerging seared and whole from the sun's eye and passing like a wrecked caravel gaunt-ribbed and black and mad with tattered saddle and dangling stirrups and hoofs clopping softly in the dust and passing enormous and emaciate and inflamed and the sound of it dying down the road to a distant echo of applause in a hall forever empty" (212); or"Before him stretched a spectral waste out of which reared only the naked trees in attitudes of agony and dimly humanoid figures in a landscape of the damned. A faintly smoking garden of the dead that tended away to the earth's curve. He tried his foot in the mire before him and it rose in a vulvate welt claggy and sucking" (242). (Nevermind the dantean echoes there or the invocation of the foreshadowed description supra--we have come full circle with Cersei's 'myrish swamp' in this 'vulvate welt' FFS.)One of the principal protagonists is not really sympathetic, though he attempts to distract from his awfulness with quite correct propositions such as "It ain't no crime to be poor" (47). He travels within a sphere of antisocial nihilism, apparently, as "Swamp peepers hushed constantly before him and commenced behind as if he moved in a void claustral to sound" (131). The other principal protagonist is very likely blameless, and, by contrast, travels within a sphere of acute social significance insofar as she "gave him a little curtsying nod, ragged, shoeless, deferential and half deranged, and yet moving in an almost palpable amnion of propriety" (151). Main antagonist shares with the Judge of Blood Meridian an interest in nomenclature: "That'n ain't got a name, he said. He wanted me to give him one but I wouldn't do it. He don't need nary" (174"). "Some things are best not named" (175). Nameless, for his part, "was regarding him with malign imbecility" (177).The title arises out of "The two hounds rose howling from the porch with boar's hackles and walled eyes and descended into the outer dark. The old man took up his shotgun and peered out through the warped glass of his small window" (129). Am reading this that the outer dark is anything outside of the perimeter established by the light of the home, i.e., the world. Earlier one of the principals is admonished that it's a "goodly sizeable world to set out huntin somebody in" (111). Later someone out in the world "sat in the gathering dark" (151) and thereafter another is in "constant dark" (239). The latter is one afflicted with blindness, who warns that "they's darksome ways afoot in this world" (241)--and we had already been cautioned that "In a world darksome as this'n I believe a blind man ort to be better sighted than most" (226). Ultimately, the conclusion must accordingly be, in proper misanthropic rightwing form, that "Hard people make hard times. I've seen the meanness of humans till I don't know why God ain't put out the sun and gone away" (192).Please be advised that this is a McCarthy novel, so it is full of horrific violence, worse here than is likely to be imagined.Recommended for readers struggling upon the rich and incunabular moss, those upright in a coffin-sized doorway, and persons who look with a kind of aberrant austerity.

  • Jeremy
    2018-12-05 18:53

    This, much more so than the Orchard Keeper, feels like McCarthy's first full work. The narrative focus is much tighter, even if the journeys that Culla and Rinthy take are every bit as shiftless and as doomed. But by the end of the book, Mccarthy has stepped well beyond the typical southern Gothic territory he spends most of his first novel treading through. Outer Dark, with it's central incestuous conflict, could easily have been just another novel about screwed-up Appalachian degenerates. Instead it launches itself into a space of morbid ceremonies, nightmarish pseudo-myths, and inexplicable, cyclical violence. It's not southern Gothic or even american Gothic as much as it is Gothic period. It's easy to see the jumping off points for the themes he would explore in Blood Meridian, The Crossing, et al here.

  • Chloe
    2018-11-29 18:55

    It's been said that for writer's first novels, it is inevitable that they wear their influences on their sleeves. This is certainly the case with Cormac McCarthy's second novel, Outer Dark. Steeped in the tradition of Southern Gothic writing, this story of wandering siblings perpetually on the wrong side of luck and fortune reads like a Faulknerian nightmare.Rinthy Holme has no sooner given birth to her first child than its father, her brother Culla, hoping to rid himself of the incestuous offspring steals it away and leaves it to the fates and the elements to dispose of. Fate has other plans for the babe, though, and a traveling tinker soon finds the child and cares for it. Not believing Culla's protestations that the infant is long dead and suffering from an overproduction of milk, Rinthy heads off down the road to track down her child. Feeling somewhat responsible (as well he should), Culla soon follows after, searching alternately for his missing sister and the child that seems to have cursed his very existence.From town to town throughout the South these siblings wander, Rinthy meeting the good people of the land and benefiting from the charitable nature that lies within most while Culla is plunged from one doomed misadventure to another in a descent toward madness that makes one wonder whether his long odyssey is some act of Old Testament vengeance a la Job. Throughout the tale he is run out of town, suspected of murder, trapped on an out of control boat with a frenzied horse, nearly plunged over the side of a cliff during a stampede, until finally coming face to face with evil incarnate in the form of three murderers who have been dogging his footsteps through every town and hamlet, leaving behind the bodies of those who dare to show friendship or kindness to this damned soul. This is an old school morality tale of the sort that I had long thought extinguished from contemporary fiction. There is none of the moral relativism or justification for a person's actions that is a hallmark of postmodern thought, but rather absolute morality of a sort that calls to mind a darker and harder age- if not the Old Testament then further back to the first tragedies of the Greeks. The writing isn't McCarthy's greatest, large swaths of the book read like minor rewrites of Faulkner's A Light In August, but there are all the ingredients I've come to expect from McCarthy- violence, hopelessness, a sense of loss at the changing of one epoch to another, and a yielding to the vicissitudes of fate. I don't think it stacks up to his more well-known works, but is an exceedingly entertaining early effort from an author that I am swiftly coming to regard as one of the most important thinkers still putting pen to page.

  • Sentimental Surrealist
    2018-11-15 19:58

    A lunatic and disgusting novel, Outer Dark sends an incestuous, impoverished and illiterate brother and sister across a hellish landscape populated by three violent vagabonds and a mysterious tinker, none of whom seem human. The brother, who abandons the child his sister bears him, experiences the worst in people. The sister, who sets off in search of this child, gets mainly the best. There's all this talk of names and how the damned don't have them and a lot of characters without names and a few others who have names but can't spell them, which sets my literary-analytic brain ticking. In places, the levels of violence, the clarity of the prose, and the ability to disturb rivals Blood Meridian. There are floods and brutal murders and attacks and accusations true and false, and the motivations behind these events aren't always explained, but it's so clear that McCarthy's writing in allegorical mode that the explanations aren't necessary: these disasters and mysteries happen because they do, because it's a disastrous and mysterious world, because the brother (Culla) has sinned and must be punished.The most exhausting two hundred pages you'll ever read. Would be a five if McCarthy hadn't gone on to even greater heights.

  • Peycho Kanev
    2018-12-15 19:54

    Like a sledgehammer of dried rose petals to your skull. Terrific book!

  • Santiago Eximeno
    2018-12-01 19:16

    Una obra maestra

  • Ned
    2018-12-01 14:13

    Of course, I loved it. To my great surprise, I discovered that I had not read this one while leafing through my paperbacks. Knowing this author, it foreshadows much of his later work, especially with the biblical themes of original sin, banishment from the garden, and the journey that our actions take us on. That journey is dangerous, often humorous, but always tinged with the innate cruelty residing in the heart of man. The two characters seem oblivious to their original error (incest), though McCarthy cleverly never reveals that in explicit terms. The brother and sister are innocents, spat upon this earth by unfortunate accidents, and their child is abandoned by the lad out of sheer confusion and no doubt an instinct for self preservation. It is an error that sets them both on journeys through Appalachia with nary a rag on their backs, one searching for the other and the mother for her child. A gnome-like misanthrope becomes an unwitting enabler and suffers like many at the hands of a triad of monsters who roam the wild periphery of the embryonic civilizations of this place and time in turn of the century America (but who knows, the towns, times and often the people are irrelevant in the ancient form of fables. The people, animals and land are exquisitely drawn in fine intricacy. McCarthy has talent for defining the physical landscape of life and its movement. Most notably, the dialects and unmarked (he uses no quotations) dialogue are raw, authentic and real. It is an act of wizardry the way this author captures the idiom and words of this time and place. That’s what makes this author so appealing to me, by creating in the reader the belief that it is genuine, and the story will be unfolded in a way that is unpredictable and seemingly random. There is no moralistic tone nor manipulation of the reader, though in the end it is very much a clever parable that instructs morally. This was written well before Deliverance, so the wild Appalachian monster was well molded by the time Dickey put his popular story out. Outer dark is the story of blindness, the play of light on nature, and an allegory for how humans are sucked into their mire, even in the shrieking light of day, and cannot escape the one road that drives them, head down and wary, inexorably toward a fearful fate. It is horrific in many ways, as will be revealed in McCarthy’s later work. The child at the end is a damaged, battered, injured victim that the reader fervently hopes will be spared. The mother searching for her “little chap” is a true innocent, searching unrelenting for that purity of her nature and the reader can’t but hope upon hope. But, of course, this is McCarthy and he is not going to often give us relief. Many will find this deeply disturbing. For me it is the cautionary tale that I need to hear time and again, so I can avoid my own fate, or at least face it with honor and seek the goodness of God in its pursuit. I found the book easy to read compared to other McCarthy. He bends language like poetry, creating new words and exploding punctuation for effect (think Miles Davis’ acceptance of particular sour or imperfect notes above an otherwise gorgeous chord). Even though fabulous, this story’s direct link to our familiar world, and the never changed turnings of the minds and hearts of mankind, give it the ordinary ring of truth. The novel is lively and traces the movements of each innocent and the terrible cadre of monsters that lurk at the edges, un-abated by the civilized world. In some respects, this is a dark version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, with the escapades of grave robbery, lynchings and generalized racism that runs throughout.Any sentence in this tale is noteworthy, here’s but a couple:p. 109: “…an aged face and erupting from beneath some kind of hat lank hair all hung with clots like a sheep’s scut, stumbling along in huge brogans and overalls. She stopped at the sight of this apparition. The road went in deep woods and constant damp and the house was grown with a rich velour of moss and lichen and brooded in a palpable miasma of rot. Chickens had so scratched the soil from the yard that knobs and knees of treeroots stood everywhere in grotesque configuration up out of the earch like some gathering of the mad laid suddenly bare in all their writhen attitudes of pain.”Here’s a cruel, uncaring midget, venting his own diseased spleen on p. 192: “The tinker jerked his arm away. He leaned his face toward her. Give, he said. I give a lifetime wanderin in a country where I was despised. Can you give that? I give forty years strapped in front of a cart like a mule till I couldn’t stand straight to be hanged. I’ve not got soul one in this world save a old halfcrazy sister that nobody never would have like they never would me. I been rocked and shot at and whipped and kicked and dogbit from one end of this state to the other and you cain’t pay that back. You ain’t got nothing to pay it with. Them accounts is in blood and they ain’t nothing in this world to pay em out with”.

  • Dagio_maya
    2018-12-09 22:12

    “Sono tempi duri.È la gente dura che rende duri i tempi. Ho visto tanta cattiveria fra gli uomini che non so perché Dio non ha ancora spento il sole e non se n'è andato.”E’ il 1968 quando Cormac McCarthy pubblica questo suo secondo romanzo. Altamente metaforico e di grande potenza narrativa, “Il buio fuori” esige un lettore vigile non solo ai repentini cambi di scena ma anche ad un registro linguistico accurato e cesellato che reclama un’attenzione particolare. In poche parole: non è un libro che si concilia con una lettura frettolosa e superficiale.****Culla e Rinthy Holme sono fratello e sorella e vivono assieme in un luogo remoto:isolati come due parìa. Quello che hanno da nascondere è la gravidanza della giovane Rinthy frutto di un torbido legame incestuoso che li unisce.Nessun parente, nessuno al mondo. ” Non fare entrare degli sconosciuti mentre sono via.Lei sospirò a fondo. Non c'è un'anima al mondo che non sia sconosciuta, per me, rispose.” Devono bastare a se stessi fino al giorno in cui si separano intraprendendo due viaggi differenti nel mondo al di fuori dell’antro che si erano costruiti.Fin dall’incipit, accanto alla storia dei due giovani (che, per l’appunto, poi si sdoppia) si profila la misteriosa e inquietante comparsa di tre uomini spietati che vengono colti in gesti di estrema violenza fino ad un finale macabro che riproduce le atmosfere di una tregenda.Lo sdoppiamento del viaggio dei due fratelli parla anche di destini differenti. (view spoiler)[ Da un lato Culla schiverà più volte la morte trovando sul suo cammino molta ostilità e finendo per essere additato e accusato per ogni evento nefasto coincidente con il suo arrivo.Rinthy, che viaggia con i seni doloranti e gonfi di latte per la recente maternità, al contrario del fratello, troverà accoglienza e aiuto come fosse una piccola miraggio nel tetro quadro che McCarthy dipinge. (hide spoiler)]Entrambi intraprendono una ricerca che, tuttavia, cammino facendo appare sempre più vana.Brutalità, solitudine: nessuna speranza per un futuro positivo.Guardando davanti a sé, là fuori soltanto oscurità, il buio…Un capolavoro dell’esistenzialismo statunitense.” La donna lo scosse e lui si ritrovò sveglio nell'oscurità silenziosa. Zitto, disse lei. Smettila di gridare. L'uomo si mise a sedere. Cosa? disse. Cosa? Lo aveva scosso facendolo emergere dal buio al buio, fuori da una calca vociante sotto un sole nero, e adesso era sveglio in una notte ancora più dolorosa, seduto, e imprecava sottovoce nel letto che divideva con la donna e con il peso senza nome che lei portava nel ventre.”