Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country for Old Men, dead at 89

Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country for Old Men, dead at 89

Cormac McCarthy, long considered one of the greatest contemporary American authors, has passed away at 89.

One of the giants of contemporary literature is no more. Deadline is reporting that Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Country for Old Men and The Road, has died at 89. No specific cause of death other than natural causes has been revealed. McCarthy was one of a kind, being considered by many as one of the finest living Western authors. His books, which adopt a spare yet poetic prose, are all unified by the theme of a violent, sometimes contemporary (and sometimes not) West, as depicted perhaps most famously in No Country for Old Men. That was adapted into a stunning film by Joel and Ethan Coen. McCarthy’s apocalyptic novel, The Road, was turned into another great film by John Hillcoat (starring Viggo Mortensen). At the same time, he also wrote the screenplay for the divisive Ridley Scott film, The Counselor.

McCarthy kept busy until the end, with him releasing two novels in 2022, The Passenger and Stella Maris, which are companion novels about two people haunted by their parents’ contribution to the development of the atomic bomb. Before publishing these two novels, McCarthy hadn’t written a book in sixteen years. He also wrote a play, The Sunset Limited, which was turned into an HBO movie starring Tommy Lee Jones, who also appeared in No Country for Old Men. James Franco also directed a little-seen adaptation of his novel Child of God. At the same time, Billy Bob Thornton adapted All the Pretty Horses into an epic for Miramax, which Harvey Weinstein notoriously hacked to bits (the full version has never surfaced).

There have also been many attempts over the years to film his Western epic Blood Meridian, but the extreme violence present in the novel has put the kibosh on most potential movies, as it would lead to at least an NC-17-rated film. Most recently, The Road‘s John Hillcoat was trying to bring it to the big screen, but we’ll see if it ever happens.

If you haven’t read any of Cormac McCarthy’s books, I highly recommend starting with No Country for Old Men, which is more accessible than some of his others. All the Pretty Horses is also a terrific read. If you like both of those, you should tackle Blood Meridian, which is a monster but well worth digging into.

Originally published at

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