Spirited and insightful essays from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Memories of a Catholic Girlhood and a “delightfully polished writer” (The Atlantic Monthly).
Whether penning criticism, memoir, or fiction, the New York Times–bestselling author of The Group invariably wrote with “an icily honest eye and a glacial wit” (The New York Times). Gathered here are three collections of her personal essays and literary criticism.
Occasional Prose: McCarthy imbues this collection with her unique gifts of clear-eyed observation, sharp insight, and heartfelt passion as she gives us the story of La Traviata in her own words, reviews a charming and practical book on gardening, revisits Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and eulogizes friends, including Hannah Arendt.
“Bracing opinions tartly expressed . . . May she continue to call us all to attention . . . showing us the world of her imagination, thought and rich experience.” —The New York Times
The Writing on the Wall: With engaging and thought-provoking essays on Madame Bovary, Macbeth, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, William S. Burroughs, J. D. Salinger, and Hannah Arendt, this collection of literary reactions is distinguished by McCarthy’s savage intelligence, clarity of thought, and utter lack of pretension.
“The brand name tells all. Potential readers do not have to be informed by me of the excellence of this volume—the acumen, intelligence, clarity, wit and lack of bitchiness.” —Anthony Burgess, The New York Times
Ideas and the Novel: In this lively, erudite book, McCarthy throws down the gauntlet: Why did the nineteenth century produce novels of ideas while the twentieth century is so lacking in serious fiction? Could Henry James be a big part of the problem? With verve and passion, McCarthy provides a critique of how the novel has evolved—or not—in the last century.
“[McCarthy’s] writing is spirited. [Her] musings serve a larger purpose, make a grander statement, or rather, indictment. She means to set the modern novel apart.” —The Harvard Crimson