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Child of God ()


You think people was meaner then than they are now? the deputy said.

The old man was looking out at the flooded town. No, he said. I don’t. I think people are the same from the day God first made one.
It is the triumph of Cormac McCarthy's disturbing third novel that, by its end, we feel sorry for its homicidal necrophile anti-hero, Lester Ballard. One is forced to consider the horrifying truth that Lester is a “child of God much like yourself perhaps.”

The novel opens with the Ballard home being auctioned off for back taxes after Lester's father has committed suicide. Lester becomes a squatter on the land. He wanders the countryside and along local roads. Eventually he comes upon a car wreck where a young couple has been killed and takes the dead female to be his mate. When her corpse deteriorates he begins to kill other women to replace her and lives with these corpses in a cave he has retreated to after accidentally burning down his squat. with every step he takes he sinks further into isolation and savagery.

I know, you're having trouble feeling any sympathy. Nor does McCarthy help much with his notoriously spare prose and minimalist dialogue. But when the townspeople come hunting the serial killer who's been preying on them Lester retreats further into the catacombs. It's obviously pitch black and he inevitably becomes lost for days. Even if you have no inclination to claustrophobia these scenes are terrifying. And no matter how awful Lester's crimes and the way he's been reduced to a bestial existence over the course of the novel, the situation is just so dehumanizing that we are reminded that even he is ultimately human. The title of the book is not ironic.



(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C+)


Websites:

See also:

Cormac McCarthy (4 books reviewed)
General Literature
Cormac McCarthy Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Cormac McCarthy
    -ENTRY: Cormac McCarthy (Encyclopedia.com)
    -TRIBUTE SITE: CormacMcCarthy.com (The Cormac McCarthy Society)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Cormac McCarthy (IMDB)
    -WIKIPEDIA: No Country for Old Men
    -WIKIPEDIA: No Country for Old Men(film)
    -ENTRY: No Country for Old men (Encyclopedia.com)
    -The Cormac McCarthy Journal (Penn State University Press
    -Cormac McCarthy Papers (Wittliff Collection, Albert B. Alkek Library, Texas State University)
    -Featured Author: Cormac McCarthy (From the Archives of The New York Times)
    -EXCERPT: No Country for Old Men (BookBrowse)
    -READERS GUIDE: No Country for Old Men Reader’s Guide BY CORMAC MCCARTHY (Penguin Random House)
    -POEM: Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats (Poetry Foundation)
    -WIKIPEDIA: The Road
    -BOOK SITE: The Road (Random House)
    -GOOGLE BOOK: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    -ESSAY: The Kekulé Problem: Where did language come from? (CORMAC MCCARTHY, APRIL 20, 2017, Nautilus)
    -PROFILE: Cormac McCarthy Explains the Unconscious (Nick Romeo, 4/22/17, The New Yorker)
    -INTERVIEW: Cormac McCarthy on the Santa Fe Institute's Brainy Halls (NICK ROMEO, 2/12/12, Newsweek)
    -PROFILE: Cormac Country: Cormac McCarthy would rather hang out with physicists than other writers. He doesn’t do blurbs, book tours, or even Oprah. But with the publication of his blood-spattered new novel, No Country for Old Men, he gives his first interview in 13 years—since All the Pretty Horses turned him from cult figure into literary star. (RICHARD B. WOODWARD, AUGUST 1, 2005, Vanity Fair)
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy, brutal but brilliant The harshness and hope of an American master (Chilton Williamson, Jr., 7/25/20, Spectator USA)
    -PROFILE: Hollywood's Favorite Cowboy: Author Cormac McCarthy, 76, talked about love, religion, his 11-year-old son, the end of the world and the movie based on his novel 'The Road.' He was just getting going. (John Jurgensen, Nov. 13, 2009 , WSJ)
    -VIDEO: Looking for Cormac
    -ESSAY: DARKNESS LAUGHABLE: THE COMIC GENIUS OF CORMAC MCCARTHY: As one of our greatest living writers has his work lifted into the ivory tower, let’s reflect on how it’s the light, not the darkness, that keeps us going back for more. (JAMES MCWILLIAMS, JUL 2, 2014, Pacific Standard)
    -INTERVIEW: Harold Bloom on Blood Meridian (Leonard Pierce, 6/15/09, AV Club)
    -ESSAY: Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" and McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men": Art and Artifice in the New Novel (Steven Frye, The Cormac McCarthy Journal)
    -ESSAY: Cormac and Oprah, Revisited (AUSTIN ALLEN, 16 January, 2012, Big Think)
    -VIDEO LECTURE: 17. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (Professor Hungerford, Nov 21, 2008, The American Novel Since 1945, Yale Courses)
    -ESSAY: No God for Anton Chigurh? (Jim Emerson March 28, 2008, RogerEbert.com)
    -ESSAY: No Country for Old Literalists (Jim Emerson, November 09, 2007, RogerEbert.com)
    -PROFILE: Cormac McCarthy: America's great poetic visionary: He is the ultimate pessimist, a reclusive soothsayer who makes even Hemingway look touchy-feely. Now, his apocalyptic novel, The Road, is coming to the big screen, bringing his bleak vision to a wider audience (Tim Adams, 19 Dec 2009, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy doesn't know the American south-west: Despite what he has said, plenty of writers before him had written about this region, and many did so a lot better (Christine Granados, 14 Apr 2010, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: Who is the greatest American novelist? 3: Cormac McCarthy v John Fante (Matthew Spencer, 19 Dec 2013, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: No Country For Old Men: 7 Big Differences Between The Book And Movie (HUGH SCOTT, JUN. 19. 2019, Cinema blend)
    -ESSAY: Book vs. Movie: No Country for Old Men (Matt Matros, Ploughshares)
    -ESSAY: The Antiwar Theme in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (ANQ A Quarterly Journal, October 2016
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy's Venomous Fiction (Richard B. Woodward, April 19, 1992, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: In the Country of “No Country for Old Men” and On the Trail of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian”: What I Did for My Summer Vacation (William J. Cobb, August 25, 2017)
    -ESSAY: "As Full of Grief as Age": "King Lear" as Tragic Ancestor to "No Country for Old Men" (Alexander L. Barron, The Cormac McCarthy Journal)
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy’s "No Country for Old Men": Narrative Elements in Film and Novel (INESE ROMANOVA, Master's Thesis, 2013)
    -ESSAY: Amphora: American Furies: Justice in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men And the Oresteia Trilogy (Karen Rosenbecker, 05/25/2018, Society for Classical Studies)
    -THESIS: Amoral Antagonists: Interrogating the Myth of the West in Cormac McCarthy's Fiction (John Thomas Arthur, University of Denver, 1-1-2017)
    -ESSAY: No Country for Old Men (Ryan Parker, october 2007, Journal of Religion and Film)
    -ESSAY: DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE, AND TRAGEDY IN CORMAC MCCARTHY'S "NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN" (Benjamin Mangrum, Autumn 2011, Religion & Literature)
    -PROFILE: Ten things that make Cormac McCarthy special: Novelist, recluse... guest on Oprah. Welcome to Cormac McCarthy country (Christopher Goodwin, 1/20/2008, Times of London)
    -PROFILE: A conversation between author Cormac McCarthy and the Coen Brothers, about the new movie No Country for Old Men (TIME, 10/18/07)
    -PROFILE: Writer Cormac McCarthy confides in Oprah Winfrey (Michael Conlon, 6/05/07, Reuters)
    -PROFILE: When Oprah Met Cormac: He's no Salinger. (Troy Patterson, June 6, 2007, Slate)
    -PROFILE: Way out, west: The novelist Cormac McCarthy is the best-kept secret of American letters, but his new book could change all that (GORDON BURN, 4/04/93, Independent)
    -PROFILE: Cormac McCarthy (BLAKE MORRISON, 14 August 1994, Independent)
    -PROFILE: Cormac McCarthy: American literature’s great outsider: Few writers have captured the grandeur and cruelty of the American frontier more vividly than Cormac McCarthy. As the film of his novel 'No Country for Old Men' sweeps the Oscars (Boyd Tonkin, 26 February 2008, Independent)
    -ARTICLE: 'The Road' as Outreach? (Lillian Kwon, 11/13/09, Christian Post)
    -ESSAY: Faith, Fear & Cormac McCarthy (Christopher Badeaux, January 7, 2009, The City)
    -ESSAY: The Hugo award winner that spawned a Pulitzer prize winner: Walter M Miller Jr's A Canticle for Leibowitz is a direct ancestor of Cormac McCarthy's The Road (Sam Jordison, 10/28/08, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy’s Paradox of Choice: One Writer, Ten Novels, and a Career-Long Obsession (Scott Esposito , Quarterly Conversation)
    -ESSAY: The New Nuke Porn: Our nuclear fantasies have gotten more hard-core. (Ron Rosenbaum, May 8, 2009, Slate)
    -ESSAY: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy: John Crace saddles his horse and heads into the desert to hunt down Cormac McCarthy's 1985 XXX-rated western, Blood Meridian (John Crace, 9/24/09, guardian.co.uk)
    -ARCHIVE: The First Reviews of Every Cormac McCarthy Novel: FROM THE ORCHARD KEEPER TO THE ROAD (Bookmarks)
    -ARCHIVES: cormac mccarthy (London Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES: Cormac McCarthy (The Guardian)
    -ARCHIVES: cormac mccarthy (The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (James Wood, The New Yorker)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Walter Kirn, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Keith Phipps, AV Club)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Annie Proulx, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Julie Hale, BookPage)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Alan Cheuse, NPR)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Clive Sinclair, The Independent)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Dean Polling, Valdosta Times)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Eric iles Williamson, LA Times)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (James Tipton, Mexconnect)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (William Deresiewicz, The Nation)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Richard A. Blake, America)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Bun Rutter, N+1)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (William J. Cobb, Houston Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Ira Boudway, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Sean Michaels, The Skinny)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Where Pen Meets Paper)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Cult of the New)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Beaverton City Library, OregonLive)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Diana Mican, Pajiba)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Andrew Bannon, The Roundup)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men (Medium)
    -ARCHIVES: cormac mccarthy (Daily Telegraph)
    -ARCHIVES: cormac mccarthy (Independent)
    -ARCHIVES: "cormac mccarthy (Slate)
    -ARCHIVES: Cormac McCarthy (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVE: for The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Metacritic)
    -REVIEW: of The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Phil Christman, Books & Culture)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Janet Maslin, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (William Kennedy, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Ron Charles, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Chris Cleave, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Todd Shy, Christian Century)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Michael Moorhead, Christian Ethics Today)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Joseph Kugelmass, The Valve)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Ten O'Clock Scholar)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Image)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Jennifer Egan, Slate)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Slate Audio Book Club)
    -REVIEW: of The Road ()
    -REVIEW: of The Road (John Holt, California Literary Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Michael Chabon, NY Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Alan Cheuse, NPR)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Clive Sinclair, Independent)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Ed Caesar, Independent)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Adam Mars-Jones, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Mark Holcomb, Village Voice)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Alan Warner, Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (George Monbiot, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Victoria Hoyle and Paul Kincaid, Strange Horizons)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Fl;orence Williams, Outside)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Benjamin Whitmer, Modern Word)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Dierdre Donahue, USA TODAY)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Chris Barsanti, PopMatters)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (David Hellman, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (The New Yorker)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Gail Caldwell, Boston Globe)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Niall Griffiths, Daily Telegraph)
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Charles McGrath, The Scotsman)
    -REVIEW: of The Road ()
    -REVIEW: of The Road (Gordon Hauptfleisch, Blog Critics)
    -REVIEW: of No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (James Wood, The New Yorker)
    -REVIEW: of No Country (John Freeman, The Scotsman)
    -REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of
   
-REVIEW: of The Crossing (Anthony Quinn, Independent)

FILM:


    -FILMOGRAPHY: Cormac McCarthy (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: No Country for Old Men (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Ethan Coen (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Joel Cohen (IMDB)
    -FILM REVIEW ARCHIVE: Ethan Coen (Metacritic)
    -PROFILE: Coen Heads (David Edelstein, 9/21/07, New York)
    -VIDEO: A discussion about the film No Country for Old Men with Josh Brolin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen and Javier Bardem (Charlie Rose, November 16, 2007)
    -ESSAY: Rescripting the Western in 'No Country for Old Men': How the Coen Brothers' ostensibly faithful award winning adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men diverges from its creator's rather questionable politics. (Sergio Rizzo, 13 Jan 2011, PopMatters)
    -ESSAY: Why Anton Chigurh is still an iconic movie villain, 10 years later: On the anniversary of 'No Country for Old Men,' we look back at Javier Bardem's terrifying character (Christian Holub, November 10, 2017, EW)
    -ESSAY: The ending of No Country for Old Men explained (MATTHEW JACKSON, MARCH 23, 2020, Looper)
    -ESSAY: No Country For Old Men Ending Explained: No Country For Old Men is considered a classic by many but the ending was divisive. We explore the final scene and what it really means. (PADRAIG COTTER, MAR 06, 2019, screen Rant)
    -INTERVIEW: James Franco on Cormac McCarthy, nasty reviews, and tackling necrophilia,/a> (Drew Fortune, 8/05/14, AV Club)
   
-PODCAST: No Country for Old Men (Bill Simmons, bill Hader and Chris Ryan, Jul 3, 2019, The Ringer)
    -FILM REVIEW ARCHIVE: No Country for Old Men (Metacritic)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Joe Morgenstern, WSJ))
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Peter Rainer, CS Monitor)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (David Edelstein, New York)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Roger Ebert)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (AO Scott, NY Times)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Lou Lumenick, NY Post)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Mick LaSalle, SF Gate)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (James Berardinelli, Reel Views)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Anthony Lane, The new Yorker)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Lisa Schwarzbaum, EW)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Christopher Orr, The Atlantic)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Rex Reed, NY Observer)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Jason Cowley, The Guardian)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Adam Sternburgh, Vulture)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Dana Stevens, Slate))
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Michael Smith, Tulsa World)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Michael Wood, London Review of Books)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Richard Schickel, TIME))
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Jamie S. Rich, Criterion Collections)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Todd McCarthy, Variety)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Paul Arendt, BBC)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (MARJORIE BAUMGARTEN, Austin Chronicle)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Tom Charity, CNN)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Jamie Russell, Radio Times)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Josh Tate, LAist)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Stephen Hunter, Washington Post)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Alan Noble, Christ & Pop Culture)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Emanuele Saccarelli, World Socialist Website)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Andrew Sarris, NY Observer)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (jeffrey Overstreet, Christianity Today)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Leo Braudy, Film Quarterly)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Alan A. Stone, Boston Review)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (rahul Hamid, senses of Cinema)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist)
    -FILM REVIEW: No Country for Old Men (Andreas Babiolakis, Films Fatale)
    -FILM REVIEW: Child of God (Sam weisberg, Village Voice)
    -FILM REVIEW: Child of God (Film Threat)

Book-related and General Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Child of God
    -ETEXT: Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
    -BOOK SITE: Child of God (Penguin Random House)
    -ESSAY: The Frightening Real-Life Murders That Inspired Cormac McCarthy’s Spookiest Novel (J. R. Sullivan, Men's Journal)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Child of God (IMDB)
    -
   
-STUDY GUIDE: Child of God (BookRags)
    -STUDY GUIDE: Child of God (Study.com)
    -STUDY GUIDE: Child of God (Grade Saver)
    -PROFILE: Cormac McCarthy's Venomous Fiction (Richard B. Woodward, April 19, 1992, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy & the Ironwork Elm: The Dark Novels of an Enigmatic Writer Show Signs of Embedded Grace (Steven Faulkner, March/April, 2014, Touchstone)
    -CHAPTER: Chapter 26 - The Archives and the Tennessee Years, II: Child of God, The Gardener’s Son, and Suttree (Dianne C. Luce, Cormac McCarthy in Context)
    -DISSERTATION: A path to nowhere: Violence, sex, and humor in Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God" and "Suttree" (Justin Cord Hayes, University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
    -ESSAY: The Uncanny Necrophile in Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God;" or, How I Learned to Understand Lester Ballard and Start Worrying (Michael Madsen, 2011, The Cormac McCarthy Journal)
    -ESSAY: “Cold Enough for Ye?”: The Chilling Effect of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God (Russell M. Hillier, ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews)
    -ESSAY: Ignoble Savage: Lester Ballard of Cormac McCarthy's Child of God (Logan White, Fall 2008, The University of North Carolina at Asheville)
    -ESSAY: ANALYSIS: Child of God (1973) (American Literature 1620 -- present)
    -ESSAY: Cormac McCarthy’s 'Child of God' (James Franco, September 11, 2013, Vice)
    -ESSAY: Feeling bad for the Bad. An Empathetic Reading of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God" (Alena Saucke, Free University of Berlin)
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-ETEXT: In the Wake of the Sun: Navigating the Southern Works of Cormac McCarthy by Christopher J. Walsh (Newfound Press)
    -ESSAY: Robert Coles and Cormac McCarthy: A Case Study of Literary Patronage (Dianne C. Luce, Resources for American Literary Study)
    -ESSAY: Isolation In Cormac Mccarthy's Child Of God (123 Help Me)
    -ESSAY: Lester Ballard In Cormac Mccarthy's Child Of God (IPL)
    -ESSAY: Via Negativa: The Way of Unknowing in Cormac McCarthy's Outer Dark (CHRISTOPHER METRESS, Winter 2001, The Southern Review)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God by Cormac McCarthy (Richard P. Brickner, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Paul William Eaton)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (The Modern Novel)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Dean Poling, Valdosta Daily Times)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Ofblog)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Josh Gaines)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Andrew B. Lang)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (The Mookse and the Gripes)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Edmond Stevens, Lunch Ticket)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Matthew Thomas, Off the Shelf)
    -REVIEW: of Child of God (Nicholas J. Parr)