The Man Who Writes a Novel About a Single Person

Cormac McCarthy, 89, has a new novel — two, actually. And they’re almost perfect. He’s a writer who writes better than anyone else.

Cormac McCarthy is the author of seven novels, six of which have been published in the last three years. There are no shortage of critics—Cormac’s books have won the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award, and he is the author of some of the most important American books of the past forty years. He writes about the Middle East and the American south: “My real life is in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and everywhere else.” But, you know, he also writes about fiction, about politics and race, and about the novel as the most perfect form, more than any other genre. He’s also given a name to a new art form: the Southern novel, and, yes, he writes about sex.

When you consider these things together, it’s very hard to believe that he hasn’t written another novel. But here he is, at the age of 89, with something new—two. And it opens with a scene in which a young woman, in a tiny bikini, swims with another woman who is much bigger. It’s a scene without a happy ending. A little girl who lives in the house with the two adults has to go over to her grandmother’s house and ask to see the new bikini from the girl’s mother, the one that the woman who swims with her grandmother showed to her. We later learn that this woman is named Ann.

“A good fiction writer tells a story about a single person who can’t see it through, but is not a bad person. It’s a story about a person who is trying to deal with the issues that are so important to him at least as much as it is a story about a person who is trying to deal with his fear and his joy and his sorrow.”

—Cormac McCarthy, in ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’

I have a problem with many, many books by authors who have passed away. This has been a problem with me for many years, and I have been

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