Cormac McCarthy (born Charles McCarthy; July 20, 1933) is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, Western, and Post-apocalyptic genres. He won the Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction for The Road (2006).
McCarthy carries themes across his novels. He tends to choose times and places on the precipice of change and decay: the growing lawlessness in the border towns of No Country for Old Men and the end of the world in the scorched earth of The Road.
McCarthy has a unique writing style. He famously writes with minimal punctuation, saying, "If you write properly, you don't have to punctuate."
McCarthy is notorious for living as a recluse, despite his fame and acclaim. In his own hometown, the better-known McCarthy was his ex-wife Annie. The dark-eyed former British ballerina had, opened a popular new restaurant and live-jazz club.
McCarthy “always had his small minority of hard-core fans. Back in the latter months of the Carter administration, battered first editions of his novels—especially his fourth novel, Suttree—were passed around among certain bohemians, hoboes, slackers, musicians, dropouts and barflies.”
“Among other attributes, Cormac McCarthy is known and admired for his careful research and close attention to the details of physical settings in his novels. Those readers familiar with the general terrain described in a McCarthy novel can usually identify multiple specific locations in each of his earlier books.”
The route taken by the man and boy in The Road can be traced. One scholar states “The location of the beginning and end of the trip are unclear to me, but I believe the trail can be picked-up fairly early in the novel in Middlesboro, KY.”
Blood Meridian illustrates language through pragmatism and postmodernism. “Blood Meridian is McCarthy’s most historic novel, but it is also puzzling because it is the work in which McCarthy begins to elaborate the view of pragmatism and postmodernism as an answer to the enigmas presented by the oneiric images of his early novels.”
Blood Meridian is part of McCarthy’s “Border Trilogy.” He “works out a postmodern view of language in association with the character of the Judge in Blood Meridian that subsequently informs the Border trilogy.”
Cormac is a nickname given to McCarthy's father by Irish aunts. He was raised as a Roman Catholic.
McCarthy was not an overnight success. His early novels sold few copies, but generally received positive reviews.