Otázka: Child of God – Cormac McCarthy
Přidal(a): Adam Smeták
Cormac McCarthy was born in 1933. He grew up in Tennessee. He is an American writer, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. He obtained many awards like: Pulitzer Price and James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction for his post-apocalyptic novel The Road. U.S. National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award for All the Pretty Horses. He published ten novels. All the Pretty Horses, Child of God, and The Road were filmed. His well-known novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a film by Coen brothers, which won four Oscar Academy Awards, including Best Picture. He was visiting University of Tennessee but he never graduated. During his studies he wrote two stories. Because of that stories he was awarded the Ingram Merrill Award for creative writing. His first novel was The Orchard Keeper. He has got a very specific type of bookwriting: descriptions with many details and minimalism. His books contain a lot of violence and cruelty, often ispired by real events.
Main character of the book Child of God is Lester Ballard. He is an orphan, who never has many friends. He doesn´t like people as same as they doesn´t like him so he lives outside of society. He is weird and life is not easy for him. The story begins in a old barn, where Lester lives. He finds out, that that place is going to be sold. He tries to protest but nobody cares. This event actually represents the entire content of book. Lester is always trying to fight for something but he loses. One of a few people who helps him and maybe only one friend of him is Fred Kirby. After some while Lester finds an old cabin in the woods. He sleeps there and in the evenings he goes to the Frog Mountain to watch lovers in the cars. One day he found two dead bodies in a car. Man and woman. He is possessed by girls body and he takes it to his cabin in the wood. But suddenly the cabin burns down together with Lester´s lover. He is very upset and he needs to find something new. He finds a new home. A cave hidden in the wood nearby. After some time Lester decides to visit his friend. But at home is just her and hers mentally ill son. He wants to have sex with the woman but she disagrees so he kills them both. After that he finds another car with lovers. He is pretending to be policeman and suddenly he shoots them. He drags his victims to his cave. After that he is killing more and more people and he is living with them. But one day he is dressed like an woman and with clothes of his victims he tries to kill a farmer. But farmer has a shotgun and shoots him. Lester wakes up in hospital. Police know about his murders so he decides to lead them to his cave. But there he hides. After some time he becomes sick. And he dies in a hospital, where he goes after long time hiding in caves. After his dead police finds seven dead mouldering bodies.
This book is divided into three parts of almost same lenght. There are many short chapters and a few secondary storylines. But main plot passes very quickly Structure of the book is bulit on easy and short descriptions. There are mainly long sentences. Scenery is very depressive as in others book from Cormac McCarthy. Interesting is that the storyteller is not one man but whole village. They are remainding their memories about Lester Ballard. There is also a lot of slang terms. Mood of the book Child of God is very depressive and reader could sometims feel a little bit anguish. It´s getting worse during the whole book and in the end it´s a clear depression. Interesting fact is that reader sometimes feel sympathethic about main character though it´s awful person.
„Uviděl dívčino ňadro. Blůzku měla rozepnutou a podprsenku vytaženou okolo krku. Ballard tupě zíral. Nakonec se natáhl přes záda mrtvého muže a ňadra se dotkl. Bylo měkké a studené. Bříškem palce mnul plnou hnědou bradavku.“(str. 84)
The extract is from an improtant moment in the book, when Lester founds two dead bodies. After that he starts to be bigger and bigger monster. You can also see how naturalistic the description is.
„Spodní prádlo svých obětí nosil už dávno, ale teď začal chodit i v jejich šatech. Hororová panenka ve špatně padnoucích šatech, její karmínová pusa se osaměle a zářivě vznáší v bílé krajině“ (str.131)
I choose this part of text because of great example of using descriptions with many details in the book. And also as an example of author´s specific style. The extract is taken from moment, when Lester´s madness reaches a highest point. He dresses like a woman and he is totally crazy.
In my opinion it´s a book for specific part of population who like thrillind, dramatic books with a lot of violence and naturalistic descriptions. It´s very well written book about one ill mind of a person. His life is full of fails and he loses almost in everything. I can recommend this book only for adults who are interested in weird themes. And also for the people who likes long descriptions with many details. Though the book is a bit short it´s very exciting and it´s very easy to lost your mind while reading it. I have read a few books by Cormac McCarthy and I have to say that this one was very best for me. It´s a story about a murderer but it´s written very objectively so I was from time to time sympathetic with a main character, who was killing and raping young women. It could sound strange but I´m sure that you would have same feeling as I do. I liked very naturalistic descriptions becuse storyline went rapidly because of that. Also the author´s style of writing is very original and sometimes it wasn´t so easy to read some passages but almost everything was written clearly and you don´t have to think while reading. I was able to predict the ending because I know the real historical event., which is inspired by. I was expecting very controversial story and I wasn´t disappointed.
© 1973 by Cormac McCarthy
Translation © 2009 Bronisava Grygová