What Cormac McCarthy Knew

John Gray at The New Statesman:

Cormac McCARTHY, American novelist in a restaurant. 1992.

In its surrender to mystery, McCarthy’s sensibility was religious. Unlike the religions with which we are familiar, he does not offer any glimpse of a final harmony. Even Buddhism, by the standards of Western monotheism an atheist faith, holds out the prospect of nirvana, release from suffering. McCarthy comes closer to the faiths of ancient Mexico, on which DH Lawrence drew in The Plumed Serpent (1926). There is no evidence that he read the prolific English writer, but there are parallels between the religion implicit  in McCarthy’s novels and that sketched in Lawrence’s writings on Mexico. In both, human beings are not accidentally embodied minds but mortal creatures  of flesh and blood, whose fates are as random and inescapable as those of birds and toads. All living things find themselves in a state of war. As Judge Holden put it:

“It makes no difference what men think of war… As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”

more here.