Cormac McCarthy – an interview
Cormac McCarthy, the most celebrated recluse in American literature since J.D. Salinger. Before he emerged to speak to Oprah earlier this year, the seventy-four-year-old author had granted only a handful of interviews in his fourdecade career. He lives so far off the beaten path, he drives a flatbed truck. His self-imposed exile goes beyond the scraps of popular legend – sleeping in cars, bathing in lakes, too poor for toothpaste. He has never voted (“poets shouldn’t vote”), doesn’t read fiction (“it seems like an odd thing to do”), and forsakes book signings, e-mail and cell phones. For years, little was known about him beyond the breadth and power of his work. His violent Western No Country for Old Men has been made into one of the year’s most acclaimed films, and his post-apocalyptic novel The Road won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Few living authors are as admired by their peers: When the New York Times recently asked more than 100 prominent writers, critics and editors to identify “the single best work of American fiction published in the last twentyfive years,” one of the authors whose work was cited most was McCarthy.
McCarthy’s own list of great novels is unusually short: Ulysses, The Brothers Karamazov, The Sound and the Fury and Moby-Dick. Later in the interview he talks about the extreme violence of our time and his apocalyptic vision of the future.