Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, author of nine Southern Gothic and Western novels. He lives in the Tesuque area of Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife, Jennifer Winkley and their son John.
Literary critic Harold Bloom has named him as one of the four major American novelists of his time, along with Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Philip Roth. He is frequently compared by modern reviewers to William Faulkner and, less often, Herman Melville.
McCarthy's family moved to Knoxville in 1937, and McCarthy spent some time at the University of Tennessee and in the US Air Force in the 1950s before eventually marrying and settling in Tennessee. He published his first novel, The Orchard Keeper, in 1965. It was followed by Outer Dark, Child of God and Suttree. These early works were all set in southern Appalachia.
In the mid-1970s McCarthy moved to El Paso, Texas, and 1985's Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West found the author switching the setting of his books to the Southwestern U.S.. Often regarded as McCarthy's finest work by his fans, the novel tells the story of a teenager who finds himself riding with a vicious gang of outlaws who are being paid by the Mexican government to bring back Indian scalps. The book unflinchingly depicts horrific acts of violence committed by Americans, Indians and Mexicans alike. Critics have noted strong gnostic elements in Blood Meridian.
Despite several awards and a number of positive reviews, McCarthy was not widely read until the publication of his sixth novel, All the Pretty Horses (1992). The book, the first part of what McCarthy calls "The Border Trilogy," spent some time on bestseller lists and won the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. It was later made into a film. The Crossing (1994) and Cities of the Plain (1998) rounded out the trilogy. In July 2005, McCarthy published his ninth book, No Country for Old Men.
It has been reported by film trade magazine "Variety" that the Coen brothers have acquired the rights to write, direct, and produce No Country for Old Men.
McCarthy guards his privacy closely and rarely gives interviews; one of his few interviews (with the New York Times) described McCarthy as a "gregarious loner". He remains active in the academic community of Santa Fe and spends much of his time at the Santa Fe Institute, which was founded by his friend Murray Gell-Mann. They met through the MacArthur Foundation, and McCarthy even line-edited the manuscript for Gell-Mann's book "The Quark and the Jaguar" (1994) (but Gell-Mann was too rushed and disorganized to take advantage of the suggestions.)
McCarthy uses a blue Olivetti Lettera 32 portable typewriter when writing.