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Between the lines

Cormac McCarthy's dislike of publicity has made him one of the commanding absences of American letters. But the huge success of his latest novel, The Road, may change that for good

By Jason Cowley   June 2007

In an interview earlier this year, Norman Mailer was asked about the contemporary writers he most admired. There were only a few novelists, the old egoist replied, who were truly ambitious, excluding himself naturally: Martin Amis, Thomas Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy.

As surprising to me as the omission of Philip Roth from this list (though this being Mailer, it is probably not so surprising that he would not privilege a fellow Jewish-American) was the inclusion of Cormac McCarthy. It was a long time since I had read McCarthy, and when, in idle moments, I thought of the writers whose new novels…

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