Is every great novel about life and death?
February 26, 2019
That’s what Cormac McCarthy believes, and he may be, in my opinion, the best pure wordsmith writing today.
Cormac McCarthy believes that all great novels deal with life and death.
I didn’t think he was right.
Then I thought about it for a while.
And now I’m convinced he is right.
You can have as many themes as you want.
You can have as many plots as you want.
You can have as many subplots as you want.
But the story always boils down to a single conflict, the struggle between life.
I have long read and admired the work of Cormac McCarthy. He may be, in my opinion, the best pure wordsmith writing today.
He views the landscape of our existence.
He draws upon his knowledge of our motivations:
And his novels can be described in two words.
The more I thought about it, the more I began to understand what Cormac McCarthy was talking about.
It’s not always about the beginning of life.
And the ending of life.
It takes place along the journey of life.
Then there are problems, troubles, cheating, lying, betrayal, anger, and jealousy.
Hope is dashed.
And love dies.
We have dreams.
Then come rejection, disappointment, failure, criticism, and humiliation.
Plans fall apart.
We face defeat.
We are suffocated with defeat.
And dreams die.
We possess ambition.
Then we get knocked down, passed over, shoved aside, fired, and abandoned.
We are dejected.
We lose faith.
And ambition dies.
A journey begins.
Then the path is filled with twists, turns, potholes, sorrow, and regret.
We become lost.
All the bridges are washed out.
The road ends.
And the journey dies.
There is an old saying that has haunted me for a long time:
Life asked death,
Why do people love me
And hate you?
Because you are a beautiful lie
And I am a painful truth.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that Cormac McCarthy was right.
But every one of them, in one form or another, is about life.
They represent what takes place between our first breath and our last.
Please click HERE to find my historical mystery, Bad Side of a Wicked Moon, on Amazon.