Cormac McCarthy Quotes


The link to these Cormac McCarthy quotes make for a great list on the subject of mortality, but it got me thinking about my own McCarthy quotes from some of his novels I’ve been writing down over the years. They are not totally on the matters of life and death, but of power, pain, fate, and some that are philosophical and poetic, some that ring close to home, and some that are just damn good writing. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

“Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn. A moral view can never be proven right or wrong by any ultimate test. A man falling dead in a duel is not thought thereby to be proven in error as to his views.”   –Blood Meridian

“It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. 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. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.”   –Blood Meridian

“Then he just knelt in the ashes. He raised his face to the paling day. Are you there? he whispered. Will I see you at last? Have you a neck by which to throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered. Oh God.”  –The Road

“All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain.”  –The Road

“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.”  –The Road

“When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up.”  –The Road

“A man leaves much when he leaves his own country. They said that it was no accident of circumstance that a man be born in a certain country and not some other and they said that the weathers and seasons that form a land form also the inner fortunes of men in their generations and are passed on to their children and are not so easily come by otherwise.”  –All the Pretty Horses

“It is the control group which enables the scientist to gauge the effect of his experiment. To judge the significance of what has occurred. In history there are no control groups. There is no one to tell us what might have been.”  –All the Pretty Horses

“It was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.”  –All the Pretty Horses

“In the jars dark liquids. Dried viscera. Liver, gall, kidneys. The inward parts of the beast who dreams of man and has so dreamt in running dreams a hundred thousand years and more. Dreams of that malignant lesser god come pale and naked and alien to slaughter all his clan and kin and rout them from their house. A god insatiable whom no ceding could appease nor any measure of blood.”  –The Crossing

“Doomed enterprises divide lives forever into the then and now.”  –The Crossing

“Men spared their lives in great disasters often feel in their deliverance the workings of fate. The hand of Providence.”  –The Crossing

“And yet a sorrow for which there can be no help is no sorrow. It is some dark sister traveling in sorrow’s clothing. Men do not turn from God so easily you see. Not so easily. Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from. To imagine otherwise is to imagine the unspeakable. It was never that this man ceased to believe in God. No. It was rather that he came to believe terrible things of Him.”  –The Crossing

“It was the nature of his profession that his experience with death should be greater than for most and he said that while it was true that time heals bereavement it does so only at the cost of the slow extinction of those loved ones from the heart’s memory which is the sole place of their abode then or now. Faces fade, voices dim. Seize them back, whispered the sepulturero. Speak with them. Call their names. Do this and do not let sorrow die for it is the sweetening of every gift.”  -The Crossing

“If people knew the story of their lives how many would then elect to live them? People speak about what is in store. But there is nothing in store. The day is made of what has come before. The world itself must be surprised at the shape of that which appears. Perhaps even God.”  –The Crossing

I have quite a few from The Crossing, pages and pages of that book I would love to share, but I will save those for another post.






English Problems

“And while literature is hailed as England’s most important national resource, greater than the entire Empire of India, it is also spoken of as one of the worst possible ways to make a living.”   -Thomas Carlyle

Review: Survivor

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you ever feel like a book has been waiting for you to read it at the right time of your life? I put off reading Survivor for so long, and I’m glad I read it when I did. I think if I had read this at an earlier age I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate what it offers. A book can almost be like a bottle of good wine: Depending on when you pull the cork, the age of the wine offers a different flavor, something different to experience and take away from it. With books, depending on when you crack it open, you can take away a different flavor and experience, except you’re the one that’s aged.

Survivor, in my opinion, is one of Palahniuk’s best work. In ways, I think it is better writing than Fight Club. The underlying theme of suicide, the social issues of TV evangelists and Age of Enlightenment alternative religion, and the element of dual personalities (which is a common element in most of Palahniuk’s work) all come together in a very clever and amusing way with this book.

The story kind of loses its momentum in the middle when Tender Branson becomes the TV Evangelist Messiah, which is why I only gave it four stars, but it picks up the pace and pulls you back in when he joins forces with his long lost twin brother, Adam, and romantic interest, Fertility. All the loose ends are tied up and has a satisfying ending.

This is one of the best chapters I’ve ever read in a novel.

Chapter 2:
Somewhere en route to Port Vila in the New Hebrides, for my last meal I serve dinner the way I’ve always dreamed.
Anybody caught buttering their bread before breaking it, I promise to shoot them.
Anybody who drinks their beverage with food still in their mouth will also be shot.
Anybody caught spooning toward themself will be shot.
Anybody caught without a napkin in their lap-
Anybody caught using their fingers to move their food-
Anybody who begins eating before everybody is served-
Anybody who blows on food to cool it-
Anybody who talks with food in their mouth-
Anybody who drinks white wine holding their glass by the bowl or drinks red wine holding their glass by the stem-
You will each of you get a bullet in the head.
We are 30,000 feet above the earth, going 455 miles per hour. We’re at a pinnacle of human achievement, and we’re going to eat this meal as civilized human beings.

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