So I read more of McCarthy's books, everything from No Country for Old Men, with its almost comically-nihilistic dialogue (“When I came into your life your life was over. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is the end.”) to Outer Dark, a novel bursting with elaborately-bizarre metaphors (“A far crack of lightning went bluely down the sky and bequeathed him in an embryonic bird’s first fissured vision of the world”).
But as much as I love Cormac McCarthy’s novels, I also hate them, because in spite of his talent at crafting complex protagonists and vivid settings and ornate bird-related metaphors, he can’t write women. His female characters are routinely flat, unrealistic, and sidelined to edges of each novel, defined entirely by the relationships to more prominent male characters. In an interview with Oprah, when asked why he never featured female characters, McCarthy said, simply, that “Women are tough…I don’t pretend to understand women. I think men don’t know much about women; they find them very mysterious.” Really, man? Considering that one of the main aims of literature is to explore the nature of humankind, so it seems a bit unbalanced – not to mention lazy – to focus on just half the species.
McCarthy has another novel in the works, one which, I’ve heard, prominently features a female character. Even if it doesn’t, though, I’ll probably still read it. What can I say? Sometimes I don’t understand myself. But then again, Cormac McCarthy wouldn't understand me, either.