McCarthy and Alaska

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  • 11 Sep 2016 at 8:48 pm #8552

    mother_he
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    What is known about McCarthy’s time in Alaska, beyond the basics (Air Force, “discovered literature”, radio show, saw a bear)? I recently made the move to Anchorage and find myself curious, and I’ve always been intrigued by McCarthy’s apparent affinity for Jack London. He’s also familiar with Dickey’s To the White Sea, which to my mind is a criminally underrated book, one that really opens up when compared with Child of God and Blood Meridian. Any insight?


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    12 Sep 2016 at 11:05 am #8554

    Richard L.
    Member

    The existentialism of McCarthy’s protagonists in the Border Trilogy remind me most of Jack London’s own protagonists, and also the protagonist in Dickey’s TO THE WHITE SEA.

    The mindful judgmental observing that pops up from time to time in the narration is also similar. I think especially in such Jack London stories as TO BUILD A FIRE and A PIECE OF STEAK.


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    12 Sep 2016 at 7:39 pm #8555

    Glass
    Member

    I recall McCarthy said his time in Alaska afforded him the opportunity to read a lot of books very quickly.

    And his personal book collection is yuuuge. He’s got the best books. It’s unbelievable. Believe me.


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    15 Sep 2016 at 8:18 pm #8559

    mother_he
    Member

    Here’s a few pages of archived photographs of the base in Anchorage, which might be of some interest:
    http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/Elmendorf

    I wonder if somewhere in McCarthy’s (probably destroyed) juvenilia there exists some abortive attempt at conveying military life, like Pynchon’s ‘Small Rain’.


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