- by cnn
- 29 Sep 2023
Cormac McCarthy, long considered one of America's greatest writers for his violent and bleak depictions of the United States and its borderlands in novels like "Blood Meridian," "The Road" and "All the Pretty Horses," died on Tuesday, according to his Penguin Random House publisher Alfred A. Knopf. He was 89.
McCarthy died of natural causes at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Knopf said.
Over a nearly 60-year career, McCarthy - hailed by the late literary critic Howard Bloom as the "true heir" of Herman Melville and William Faulkner - wrote a dozen novels, many of them critically celebrated if not commercial hits, though he would eventually achieve both. For years, he wrote while living on grants, most notably the MacArthur "genius grant," which he was awarded in 1981.
Despite accolades, McCarthy remained relatively obscure for much of his career; as recently as 1992, 27 years after his first book was published, the New York Times Book Review said he "may be the best unknown novelist in America."
Both before and since, McCarthy was seen and portrayed in the media as reclusive, eschewing the kind of book tours, signings, interviews and lectures other renowned writers would see as professional obligations. But McCarthy famously abhorred talking about his books, which principally featured male characters and profuse violence, as well as sparse punctuation.
Still, he was a "writer's writer," the Times reported, with a cult following and a reputation "far out of proportion to his name recognition or sales."
"I never had any doubts about my abilities," McCarthy told the Times in one of his few interviews. "I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this."
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