Are there any authors like Cormac McCarthy?
October 21, 2009 11:11 PM   Subscribe

Which author comes closest to Cormac McCarthy?

I am a great fan of Cormac McCarthy. I only read one book and instantly became a fan. I read a few more and loved his style.

Can anyone suggest an author who's like him?

PS. If anyone has a hardcover good copy (1st printing would be nice) of his "Blood Meridian" (Not book club edition) they would like to sell, please let me know.
posted by Bacillus to Writing & Language (19 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Faulkner. With CM's earlier novels especially the Faulkner influence is writ large.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:18 PM on October 21, 2009

Russ Vliet
posted by TheRaven at 12:07 AM on October 22, 2009

Seconding Faulker.
posted by rokusan at 12:13 AM on October 22, 2009

posted by rokusan at 12:13 AM on October 22, 2009

White Noise reminds me a lot of The Road.
posted by at the crossroads at 12:31 AM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, and William Gass, if for nothing else but The Pedersen Kid.
posted by Iridic at 12:44 AM on October 22, 2009

If you're into the "post apocalyptic dystopia" feel I tend to associate with Cormac McArthy then I'd also recommend JG Ballard (seems to be an upsurge in popularity since he died earlier in the year) and John Christopher (particularly "The Death of Grass"). Come to think of it, there's a lot of great stuff along these lines written by early 20th century British novelists.
posted by tkbarbarian at 1:00 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

You may get a kick out of Raymond Carver if it's McCarthy's terse, plain language you like.
posted by GilloD at 3:01 AM on October 22, 2009

Russell Hoban's 'Riddley Walker' is as close a post-apocolyptic oddity as is 'The Road'.
posted by mr. remy at 5:44 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

(speaking of which, my grammar in the post above is sort of a post-apocolyptic oddity)
posted by mr. remy at 5:48 AM on October 22, 2009

posted by paanta at 5:52 AM on October 22, 2009

I just finished The Road. It's my first and as yet only Cormac McC, but I felt like I was reading a parallel tale to Saramago's Blindness in both theme and style. And after reading both of these books, I found that I was framing my thoughts in a manner that mirrored this style, a sure sign that a book has gotten under my skin.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 6:19 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd love a first edition of Blood Meridian too, but market price is beyond my reach.
posted by ArgentineBlonde at 8:26 AM on October 22, 2009

Hemingway and Steinbeck.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:45 AM on October 22, 2009

I'd recommend Warlock by Oakley Hall.
posted by mattbucher at 10:03 AM on October 22, 2009

Agree with Faulkner. And to a lesser extent Hemingway. Also, in some respects, James Joyce.
posted by dfriedman at 10:11 AM on October 22, 2009

Disagree with foxy_hedgehog about Saramago. I love McCarthy, hated Blindness.

Agree with Hemingway and Raymond Carver.

This is an odd one, but maybe try Patricia Highsmith, & not just the Ripley series.
posted by onell at 11:12 AM on October 22, 2009

Melville. Cormac McCarthy has said that Moby-Dick is his favorite book. A few commonalities: both echo the Bible in imagery and language, concrete realistic descriptions of the natural world interspersed with the narrator's metaphysical speculations on those phenomena (side note: a number of McCarthy fans were disappointed that No Country for Old Men had ATMs when they had not been introduced at the time of the novel's setting), the otherness of nature (especially animals - and more than that, both have plots involving "outlaw" animals) and its contrast to the civilized domestic world, and both writers feature predominantly male characters.

If you haven't read the King James Bible, you might be interested in the style of some of the Old Testament prophets - maybe Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Their style is quite different, but I think many McCarthy fans would enjoy Katherine Dunn's Geek Love. I picked it up when I heard one of the McCarthy Forum old-timers, perhaps the moderator, praise it to the heavens. Excellent book.

I disagree with the proposed similarity to Faulkner. I don't know that it goes much farther than some of McCarthy's novels being set in the South, and the prose of both having some rather long, ornate sentences. A big part of Faulkner's presentation is the depiction of his character's interior monologues. We are never privy to the thoughts of McCarthy's characters. McCarthy may say a word or two about his characters that is not description of appearance or action, but it doesn't go farther than say, "Cole's love for the ardent-hearted" (paraphrased).

Good luck on finding an affordable copy of Blood Meridian. I've been looking for one for about 15 years. There has been no pullback in price at all, just ever accelerating rates of increase. If you can afford one now, get it. When McCarthy dies, the price will go up dramatically.
posted by BigSky at 2:24 PM on October 22, 2009

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