Saturday, January 10, 2015

'Men do not turn from God so easily you see' (from McCarthy's 'The Crossing')

Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing is a naturalistic masterpiece. I haven't read enough of his books to repeat this with certainty, but Petra Mundik calls the ex-priest's tale in the middle of this novel the 'Rosetta Stone' of McCarthy's work.

There are dozens of lines one could pull out of that tale, but here are some that struck me as I was reading it for the first time today. The ex-priest is telling the story of a hermit (a Job-like figure) who has returned to the place where he lost his parents at a young age, after having lost his own children as well.

 'Easy to see that naught save sorrow could bring a man to such a view of things. And yet a sorrow for which there can be no help is no sorrow. It is some dark sister traveling in sorrow's clothing. Men do not turn from God so easily you see. Not so easily. Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from. To imagine otherwise is to imagine the unspeakable. It was never that this man ceased to believe in God. No. It was rather that he came to believe terrible things of Him.'

- Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing, page 148

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