Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

Outer Dark (original 1968; edition 1993)

by Cormac McCarthy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,338415,791 (3.89)83
Title:Outer Dark
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Vintage (1993), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy (1968)

Recently added byprivate library, wm3395, mlouer, kalliger, five_keys, augustgarage, TWC_Library, Jedidiah_Evans, marquayrol
Legacy LibrariesRalph Ellison



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 83 mentions

English (38)  Italian (3)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (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)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
283 wanted
4 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.89)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 1
2 9
2.5 8
3 55
3.5 29
4 139
4.5 24
5 68


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,166,075 books! | Top bar: Always visible