Tagged: The Orchard Keeper
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01 Apr 2012 at 6:22 pm #614
I just posted my last post in the old forum, RIP, and this is my first post in the new, and I’m still exploring and familiarizing myself with the website, and I’m now testing the posting function, and why not be the first to create and post in “The Early Novels” section!
The Orchard Keeper ranks among McCarthy’s best novels, a masterpiece that has not been recognized as such, underrated even among McCarthy enthusiasts; someone tell me if I’m wrong about this, as apparently I couldn’t read or write because I use the semicolon and the exclamation point a lot, even in the same sentence, such as this one!
Mom and Dad: Is it true you named me after the first villain in McCarthy’s first novel?
02 Apr 2012 at 2:34 am #634
I suspect that part of The Orchard Keeper‘s reputation comes from the fact that it reads much like Faulkner does, stylistically speaking. It’s thought of as an imitation. You’ll find some mimicry in it, but overall, the book’s a clear signal of the arrival of a new voice. “Masterpiece” might be a strong word, especially given what came later from McCarthy. The book does have an acutely focused quality that isn’t always present in McCarthy’s writing, but which tends to be found in his best.
Another thing about The Orchard Keeper: I think it’s almost an antique book. It’s not terribly approachable because it seems to have arisen organically from the ground on which it’s set. It sometimes seems older than the story it’s telling, and that distance has a chilling effect on the reader.
I might be completely wrong here, but those are my thoughts.
WebmasterQuote26 Apr 2012 at 2:44 pm #1061
I only recently became aware of The Orchard Keeper, even though I’ve been a fan of McCarthy’s middle and later novels for many years. I was sorting through an old family bookcase day before yesterday to select books for donation to my local library for a book sale when I came across a copy of Orchard Keeper – I’d seen it in the bookcase for many years without realizing who the author was. I was delighted with the prospect of an unread book to read, and then even more so when I opened it and found it was autographed “For Dorothea Christmas 1971 Cormac McCarthy”.
I’m wondering if this was possibly a gift from CM to a friend? I haven’t started reading it yet, am still enjoying the anticipatory pleasure..
23 Aug 2012 at 8:02 pm #1814
I hear a Hesse echo in the ending of TOK. It’s from one of Hesse’s poems on homesickness called A Swarm of Gnats.
Many thousand glittering motes
Crowd forward greedily together
In trembling circles.
Extravagantly carousing away
For a whole hour rapidly vanishing,
They rave, delirious, a shrill whir,
Shivering with joy against death.
Whole kingdoms sunk into ruin,
Whose thrones, heavy with gold, instantly scattered
Into night and legend, without leaving a trace,
Have never known of so fierce a dancing.
29 Jan 2013 at 7:59 pm #291030 Jan 2013 at 10:53 am #291130 Jan 2013 at 6:37 pm #2912
The recent evidence from the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife is that pythons are smarter.
Rick WallachQuote30 Jan 2013 at 9:18 pm #2913
Gulp! What an image that makes, Rick.
….Coincidentally, speaking of cats, I was looking again at Chatwin’s Songlines today and read his theory about the big “brute cat” as the dominant predator on the African Savannah.
31 Jan 2013 at 12:10 am #2914
Speaking of pythons, did anyone read the article in the NYT ( I read it in last weekend’s Int. Herald Tribune) about the Floridian method of dealing with the pesky vermin? Apparently, the preferred instrument of elimination is a cattle gun. No Country for Old Men even gets a namecheck in the article. So much for the idea of a fighting chance.
Send in the Drones, that’s what I say.
cantonaQuote26 Feb 2013 at 9:04 am #3053
The New York Times had a recent article on the cat (my previous post), and now it’s time for the bird, specifically the owl: The Owl Comes Into Its Own.
This article and its the video and audio features bring to mind the motif of the bird, in particular the hawk, and the hawklike owl: “Owls were long thought to be closely related to birds of prey like hawks and eagles, which they sometimes superficially resemble — hence the names hawk owls and eagle owls.” The article discusses the lore of the owl and the distinctive face of the owl, though it does not mention, as I posted here before, that in Chinese (at least in Cantonese) the term for owl is literally “cat-head hawk”.
Article: “Many owl species are renowned for their ability to fly almost completely silently, without the flapping noises and air whooshes that might warn prey of their approach.” This brings to mind, among other passages in The Orchard Keeper: “Their steps ghostly on the warping boards, rousing an owl from the beams, passing over them on soundless wings, a shadow, ascending into the belfry like an ash sucked up a flue and as silently.” (164)
In the video, one of the owl watchers saw, among other captured animals in an owl’s nest, two cats. The entire chapter 17 of The Orchard Keeper (216-217) is about the owl preying on and capturing the cat. The resultant image is, owl and cat are fused into one, echoing the owl as “cat-head hawk”, and setting up the motif of cat-and-bird (specifically hawklike bird) in novels to come: the lion-eagle of “Griffin” in Blood Meridian and “Llewellyn” (“lion”) and “Eagle Pass” in No Country For Old Men.
I also find the readers’ comments interesting and informative. Pleasantly surprised that so many people have owl experiences and beliefs to share.
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