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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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1,408435,380 (3.88)83
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)

Recently added byelphie93, private library, TheBookStop, Pezski, ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez, tomeades, DrPhil1, JuanitaWoz, martinb1, LitaVore
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English (40)  Italian (3)  All (43)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
This is an darkly atmospheric and episodic tale, as we follow the separate travels of a brother and sister around some uncertain part of the American South, probably in the late 19th Century. She is searching for her lost new born child and he follows, searching for her. The land is a harsh, unforgiving wilderness and the people who inhabit it often as harsh as the climate and as poor as the soil. Alternating episodes deal with encounters of the siblings on their travels. The sister, Rinthy, tends to accept hospitality from people on the way and be treated well, while her brother, Culla, more often than not stumbles into situations where he falls foul of suspicion and the pointed finger of blame for for crimes for which he is blameless - unless it is perhaps reward for his refusal to accept hospitality as he journeys, or the act he commits that sets both of them on their journey.

McCarthy weaves the tale with dazzling language, flights of metaphor and simile that bring to life the harsh world of the book. He does not worry that the language of narration is nothing that the simple, illiterate main characters of the novel could compose - or even, probably, comprehend - but merely chooses his analogies for their power and vividness (although, very occasionally, he overstretches, such as "as unfamiliar as android visitors from an alien world", which is just too far from the setting to sit right). The high language and episodic, picaresque narrative give the whole tale the feel of parable, and this is reinforced by the third storyline, the dark, murderous trio of men who occasionally cross Culla's path, setting up the eventual meeting and denouement. But if the tale is a parable, it is not one that is straightforward or easy to understand, but dark and murky, filled with uncertainty and uneasiness and thoroughly disturbing.

There is one lighter moment, oddly. On one of the occasions when Culla is falsely accused of a crime - indeed, the one for which the outcome appears most serious - the whole event quickly takes on the air of farce and, despite the imminent danger, I found it close to laugh out loud funny amidst the sombre tone of the rest of the novel. McCarthy is a writer of quite stunning power, and I'm just sorry I left it so long to make his acquaintance. ( )
  Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
McCarthy's second novel (1968), about the incestuous Holme siblings circa 1900. ( )
  beaujoe | Oct 3, 2016 |
Review: Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy. I thought it was a well written book for McCarthy’s style and quality of grammar. I enjoyed every aspect.

This story was about a brother (Culla) and sister (Rinthy) living in the wilderness, poverty stricken, in a run down camp. There was incest involved which led to the birth of a baby boy. The brother did not want to keep the baby so while his sister slept he took the baby and left it in the woods to die. He went back to his sister and when she woke he told her the baby died right after birth.

Unknown to the brother a tinker man was on route through the path where the baby was left. The tinker took the baby and found a woman to raise the child. The book never said if he was trying to save its life or if he just was interest in the baby to sell. This is the way McCarthy leaves his readers to fill in what has not been said in his book. He keeps us thinking and sometimes answering our own questions. Creepy, spooky dark dimensions.

I enjoy his way of explaining or not explaining some of the dense dark secrets of the story. His description of the characters, environment, events, is enough to keep the person interest to the end of the book. Plus, the way he creates the dialect is exceptional by his poetic descriptions of the land and its people. His deep invasion of words ultimately specks for itself.

The story continues…The sister with her mother instincts tells her that her brother is lying to her. She believes the baby is alive. She sets out across the Appalachian country side looking for her son. She travels through thick and thin, ushering what intellect she has and ventures into the world that is so unknown to her. With only the close on her back, no shoes on her feet she follows the trail of the tinker man. Plus, at a later time her brother takes his journey, working here and there for food in the hopes of finding his sister. Both characters lived in a dark world. The story continues….Creepy, spooky, set in a dark dimension aura…

( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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