Saturday, April 13, 2013

11 Reasons Why Cormac McCarthy's Child of God is (Actually) the Best Book You'll Read this Month

Okay, so you've read Hannah's latest post. I'll admit it, those are some pretty good reasons to buy "The Illumination." But I think there's something I have in support of my selection, Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," that Hannah doesn't have: an extra reason. That's right, without further ado, 11 Reasons Why Child of God is the Best Book You'll Read this Month:

1. It situates itself squarely within the Southern Gothic literary tradition. While reading this book you may find yourself asking aloud: "What is this I'm reading? Is it Faulkner? Is it Flannery O'Connor? Eudora Welty?" Answer: no, it's just one of the strongest and most lyrical American writers alive today at his finest.

2. It asks big questions. If you're a fan of fiction that's not afraid to take on big subjects this book is for you. In a scant 195 pages McCarthy raises problems of grace and violence, depravity and free will, and a common human nature implicates us all in the actions of those we deem to be moral monsters. Woah.

3. Two words: cover art. Vintage has released editions of almost all McCarthy's work with parallel, gorgeous cover art. This could be the first in a magnificent collection.

4. Did you like "The Road?" Did you enjoy making your way through "The Border Trilogy"? Here's a McCarthy book that you'll like just as much, and that you can then recommend to your friends (seriously, like no one has even heard of this McCarthy book. Like it before it's cool!).

5. No one does violence or the grotesque like McCarthy, and no where is it more lyrically rendered than in this book.

6. Because I'll give you a better high-five than Hannah.

7. It's a quick read. You can do it! Sick of all those 600 page tomes that you optimistically purchased and then stopped reading after the first forty pages? This slim volume (at 195 pages, I'm telling you, you can do it!) doesn't sacrifice anything in terms of content, but it's realistic. Seriously: you can do it!

8. Because just because! (Trust me!)

9. What else are you going to spend $15 on? Hannah's book? Puh-lease! (Actually, Hannah's book is really good from what I hear, but don't let that sway you!)

10. Because who needs quotation marks? (McCarthy sensibly does away with all those frills of punctuation like quotation marks, apostrophes and basically anything other than periods.)

11. Do it for America. McCarthy is an example (like Denis Johnson or, I think, Marilynne Robinson) of how contemporary fiction writers can carry on the themes and tropes that have typically preoccupied American writers. So this book might not just be your best read this month, it could also be the most patriotic.

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