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Dear Cormac McCarthy,

If you want me to read your National Book Award-winning trilogy that begins with All the Pretty Horses, then in the beginning, when you are introducing your characters to your readers, do not make it so freaking difficult to figure out who is telling the damn story. Because, look, when you introduce new characters, and don't give the reader any threads of comprehension as to how they are related or who the hell is speaking, then your average Mtv generation reader will give up about 10 pages in. Life is too short to read books that frustrate and bore me. For you, and for superhappytime and 1gr8poetess and for the sake of my own damn ego and love of great literature and also for my budding love of the Texas/Mexico border I gave you a second chance. I re-read the first 10 pages three times and was still confused and bored. If that's all part of your style or whatever, then that's fine. Just know that one girl in Northern California is gonna quit your book and talk smack about you in her Attention Deficit-addled blog.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
10 pages?

give it 50.

he doesn't make it clear in any book. he writes the same in all of them. and roddy doyle and irvine welsh "borrowed" that idea, among others.
Apr. 19th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
I'm not going 50 pages in on the off-chance that I'll get hooked. The hook has to come fast and it has to come easy. Once I'm hooked, you can roll in the fog and make things disconcerted all you want, but too much of that at the beginning will turn me off. I need orientation in the beginning or it's over.
Apr. 19th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
that's just terrible. it would seem to rule out a lot of great literature. I can't imagine getting sucked in to David Foster Wallace in 10 pages. Or getting oriented. The same could be said of Delillo or Pynchon or even Toni Morrison.

Not to mention all the Russians.
Apr. 19th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
I've done Delillo, the Russians and Toni Morrison. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for Cormac.
Apr. 19th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite writers. Like, top five.

Apr. 19th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Maybe I'll give him another try at some point in the future.....perhaps it was just bad timing or my mood or something. So many of my friends are into him.
Apr. 19th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
If you're not already on the McCarthy train, it can be hard. For me, I'm in for a penny, in for a pound. I studied McCarthy at college, and was a research assistant for a book about him.
Apr. 19th, 2009 08:10 am (UTC)
I can't fucking stand that guy. Loads of pomo precious style like he's Joyce and Faulkner, and then no story.
Apr. 19th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
I absolutely hated "The Road". Did not feel compelled to read "No Country For Old Men" (however loved the movie because of Javier Bordems portrayal of "Chigurh"}. Have no interest in "All the Pretty Horses"; however, be advised, that I think Jack Kerouac wrote the "Great American Novel" when he wrote "The Town and the City". Life is too short to give any writer "another try". Go with your gut.
Apr. 19th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
A big fat "Me, too!" on hating "The Road." I guess I could say I'm glad I read it because I was feeling all kinds of left out before I did, but now I'll happily dismiss him and all previous and future books based on this experience alone.

He's been flung aside with reckless abandon to pout in the corner with Joyce Carol Oates. Blech.
Apr. 19th, 2009 10:59 am (UTC)
hmmm. someone just gave me a birthday gift of mcCarthy's Suttree and said it changed his life. i think i tend to agree with you because there is so much to read and so little time. i prefer not to struggle immensely early on in an effort to figure things out, especially as i age.
Apr. 20th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, double Mac can be tough. I liked No Country For Old Men, but thought Blood Meridian really missed the mark.
Apr. 20th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
Being married to a poet I have all sorts of opinions about all kinds of writers, BUT you have to go with what works for you. I'm not against things being confusing (though I do have to be in the right mood to confront it) but I am against being bored for many pages. My guess is that the boredom kept you from being able to deal with the confusion. No sweat, there are plenty of authors out there. (But I'm not sure one should be against someone as a writer just because one doesn't like that style of writing, just be against it for you.)
Apr. 21st, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
I'm not even against the style, it's just that there needs to be something that draws me in, even if I don't know who is talking or if things are confusing, I'm fine with that, just draw me in.
Apr. 21st, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
Now I'm feeling like I want to read the first 10 pages myself to see if there is anything that would draw me in. Hmmm, is this how that saying of 'there's no such thing as bad publicity' works?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )