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Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy
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Outer Dark (original 1968; edition 1993)

by Cormac McCarthy

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1,314405,924 (3.9)81
Member:stang50logan
Title:Outer Dark
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Vintage (1993), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
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Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy (1968)

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English (37)  Italian (3)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Wow. What was that! The story is beautifully written... an apocalypse in a snow globe. I'm not sure where to begin with this. Maybe to say that it's The Hobbit meets Appalachia with heavy biblical overtones is a descent place to start and end. ( )
  suniru | Mar 8, 2016 |
Though the plot fairly unwound toward the end and lacked McCarthy's usual chaotic climax, the writing is so beautiful I didn't much care how it ended, I was only sad to see it end. For example, any other writer would have tried a line like "She looked like a zombie." But McCarthy writes, "Emaciate and blinking and with the wind among her rags she looked like something replevied by grim miracle from the ground and sent with tattered windings and halt corporeality into the agony of sunlight." Does the English language get more beautiful than that? No, it does not. ( )
  Snoek-Brown | Feb 7, 2016 |
Another dark and fascinating novel by my favorite author. I don't think I'm presenting a spoiler when I say that when you get to the interaction between the man and his wife, the wife who makes butter, and the young girl - if you don't laugh out loud there is something wrong with you. I would not be surprised to see this made into a movie.

Read again in March 2013 - can't believe I didn't remember reading this at all, didn't remember anything about it, only discovered this when I went to do this review. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
This is taken from the blog for consistency:

Here we go again.

Three stars. (Sorry McCarthy fans.) In my opinion, it's a generous ranking for OUTER DARK.

UPDATE: I lied. Make that two stars. (i.e. it was okay)

**************************************************​**************************************************​**************************************************​

I so want to love McCarthy, and I don't even know why. I have read a couple books by him I liked, but these last two? Meh. Double meh on OUTER DARK. At this point, CHILD OF GOD, SUTTREE, and OUTER DARK haven't held up in comparison with THE ROAD. I should probably read THE ROAD again, just to see how his writing changed between that story and these earlier works. I don't remember nitpicking over the style of it. I do recall that the boy was rather cryptic. "Yes." "Okay." I don't recall the father being verbose either. Those weren't chatty times however, considering the premise.

I think I'm beginning to get the sense of McCarthy, or more accurately, his style. Basically it's to use odd, rarely used words (that require a dictionary for most of us), then try as hard as possible to fling a multitude of them into a sentence. Pick the most taboo subject (OUTER DARK is about incest between a brother and sister, CHILD OF GOD was about necrophilia) and use it in a story. Make sure your characters are mostly miserable, yet sometimes funny. Make sure they say, "I got to get on," several times and have the other character interrupt and delay their departure. Again and again. Do it multiple times throughout the book. Do it in several books. Start most conversations off with "Hidy." (for those not sure, quaint way of saying "howdy.") I think what I'm saying is, his technique is repetitive and his characters come out sounding very much alike.

I have to hand it to him on one thing. He's a master at developing a scene via dialogue. In OUTER DARK, there's one where one of the main characters (Holme as he's called), is watching a handful of drovers lead a bunch of pigs to some distant place. One of them stops to have a conversation with Holme and then goes on. The pigs get a little crazy and next thing everyone knows, a good portion of them are careening off into a ravine. The man Holme spoke with also ends up going over the edge somehow. Holme goes up to the bunch and says, "what happened?" They don't know. Next, a preacher walks up. ("Hidy") And before long, the other men are blaming Holme for the death of their friend, eyeing him with suspicion because all the while, the preacher with his repeated "don't hang him," plants this very idea into their heads. Definitely skilled at this sort of thing.

I thought maybe I'd simply chosen the wrong books. I peeked at ALL THE PRETTY HORSES on Amazon and began reading the preview. I barely got past the first page. I flipped a few more. I saw "I better get on back." The other character continued the conversation. "I better get on." (again)

Yep, I'm through and through at the moment. I can't bring myself to buy another one. At this time, BLOOD MERIDIAN is the last McCarthy book in my TBR pile. It just might have to sit there a while. ( )
  DonnaEverhart | Oct 27, 2015 |
Well written and evocative. McCarthy has a gift for dialect that takes you into it but doesn't wear you out on it.

But oh, the bleak. Hopeless and brutal, the characters walk on through the story yet go nowhere. ( )
  tarshaan | Sep 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
The originality of Mr. McCarthy's novel is not in its theme or locale, both of which are impressively ancient. It is his style which compels admiration, a style compounded of Appalachian phrases as plain and as functional as an ax.
added by eereed | editNew York Times, Guy Davenport (Oct 29, 1968)
 
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They crested out on the bluff in the late afternoon sun with their shadows long on the sawgrass and burnt sedge, moving single file and slowly high above the river and with something of its own implacability, pausing and grouping for a moment and going on again strung out in silhouette against the sun and then dropping under the crest of the hill into a fold of blue shadow with light touching them about the head in spurious sanctity until they had gone on for such a time as saw the sun down altogether and they moved in shadow altogether which suited them very well.
She shook him awake into the quiet darkness.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679728732, Paperback)

Outer Dark is a novel at once fabular and starkly evocative, set is an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century.  A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; he leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes.  Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son.  Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

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This stark novel is set in an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; he leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.… (more)

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