Friday, March 19, 2010

If You Write Prose Like This ...

Then I WANT to read your BOOK!!!

From Suttree by Cormac McCarthy:

Dear friend now in the dusty clockless hours of the town when the streets lie black and steaming in the wake of the watertrucks and now when the drunk and the homeless have washed up in the lee of walls in alleys or abandoned lots and cats go forth highshouldered and lean in the grim perimeters about, now in these sootblacked brick or cobbled corridors where lightwire shadows make a gothic harp of cellar doors no soul shall walk save you.
--
Could use a few well placed commas for ease of reading, but the subjective nature sets the tone with poetic perfection. I know nothing about this book, but based on this, I am certain I would love it even if I hated the story.

Cheryl Anne Gardner

6 comments:

Brent Robison said...

I loved Suttree. Also loved All the Pretty Horses, but couldn't get through The Crossing. McCarthy was my idol for a while, but despite his awesome prose, I lost interest in his philosophy. I don't intend to read The Road.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Well that is all the recommendation I need. I will have to pick it up.

I did like Pretty Horses too, but that is the only thing I have read of his.

Jim Murdoch said...

The only book by him that I have read is The Road and I've just written an extensive review of it. It has a similar poetry to the quote. I personally enjoyed it but many didn't and I address the major objections in the article. Don't hold your breath. I've quite a stockpile of posts so it'll be a few weeks before I actually post it most likely.

kristentsetsi said...

I like the words, but if the entire book is missing punctuation, I might get tired.

Craig Lancaster said...

As I told a friend this weekend ...

McCarthy has said that he doesn't like quote marks and other punctuation "blocking up" the page. What he calls "blocking up" I call "an important visual cue that someone is speaking."

He writes beautifully. Pure poetry on the page. I read him because there's no one else I can read who writes the way he does. I'd rather not have to backtrack to rewire all the connections he could make by simply using all the keyboard functions at his disposal, but I suppose it's a small price to pay, considering.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

That's funny Craig, because I am a punctuation appreciator. There is soooo much that can be done for the tone and the mood of a sentence with a well place comma.

Even "Words into Type" tells would be editors not to "F" around with an author's use of commas. However, lack of use can make a sentence exhausting for the reader, as did that McCarthy quote for me.

As for my own personal quirks, I am an ellipses and an em-dash lover, and I am not too overly fond of the semi-colon.