Cormac Mccarthy Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Cormac Mccarthy. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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There is no God and we are his prophets.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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What's the bravest thing you ever did? He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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You have my whole heart. You always did.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that. You forget some things, dont you? Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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He knew only that his child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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I can normally tell how intelligent a man is by how stupid he thinks I am.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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You have to carry the fire." I don't know how to." Yes, you do." Is the fire real? The fire?" Yes it is." Where is it? I don't know where it is." Yes you do. It's inside you. It always was there. I can see it.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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When you die it's the same as if everybody else did too.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Your heart's desire is to be told some mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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If only my heart were stone.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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He stood at the window of the empty cafe and watched the activites in the square and he said that it was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they'd have no heart to start at all.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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The point is there ain't no point.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry. Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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If you break little promises, you'll break big ones.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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There is no forgiveness. For women. A man may lose his honor and regain it again. But a woman cannot. She cannot.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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They were watching, out there past men's knowing, where stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
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Where men can't live gods fare no better.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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How does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
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People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they don't deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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Listen to me, he said, when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you're happy again, then you'll have given up. Do you understand? And you can't give up, I won't let you.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Query: How does the never to be differ from what never was?
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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What would you do if I died? If you died I would want to die too. So you could be with me? Yes. So I could be with you. Okay.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Can you do it? When the time comes? When the time comes there will be no time. Now is the time. Curse God and die.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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I don't know why I started writing. I don't know why anybody does it. Maybe they're bored, or failures at something else.
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Cormac McCarthy
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No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I'd always known. That all courage was a form of constancy. That it is always himself that the coward abandoned first. After this all other betrayals come easily.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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When one has nothing left make ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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He said that those who have endured some misfortune will always be set apart but that it is just that misfortune which is their gift and which is their strength.
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Cormac McCarthy (All The Pretty Horses: All The Pretty Horses)
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Ever step you take is forever. You cant make it go away. None of it. You understand what I'm sayin?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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It takes very little to govern good people. Very little. And bad people cant be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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...you fix what you can fix and you let the rest go. If there ain't nothin to be done about it it aint even a problem. It's just a aggravation.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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But there are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse
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Cormac McCarthy (Suttree)
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It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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Perhaps in the world's destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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He thought that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought that the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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I think by the time you're grown you're as happy as you're goin to be. You'll have good times and bad times, but in the end you'll be about as happy as you was before. Or as unhappy. I've knowed people that just never did get the hang of it.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning. The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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The closest bonds we will ever know are bonds of grief. The deepest community one of sorrow.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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They spoke less and less between them until at last they were silent altogether as is often the way with travelers approaching the end of a journey.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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Scared money can’t win and a worried man can’t love.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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A man's at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he dont want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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The world is quite ruthless in selecting between the dream and the reality, even where we will not.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses)
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Carry the fire.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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He saw very clearly how all his life led only to this moment and all after led to nowhere at all. He felt something cold and soulless enter him like another being and he imagined that it smiled malignly and he had no reason to believe that it would ever leave.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses)
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The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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I tried to put things in perspective but sometimes you're just too close to it.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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He could not construct for the child's pleasure the world he'd lost without constructing the loss as well and he thought perhaps the child had known this better than he.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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What he could bear in the waking world he could not by night and he sat awake for fear the dream would return.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Grief is the stuff of life. A life without grief is no life at all. But regret is a prison. Some part of you which you deeply value lies forever impaled at a crossroads you can no longer find and never forget.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger #1))
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This country will kill you in a heartbeat and still people love it.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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You give up the world line by line. Stoically. And then one day you realize that your courage is farcical. It doesn't mean anything. You've become an accomplice in your own annihilation and there is nothing you can do about it. Everything you do closes a door somewhere ahead of you. And finally there is only one door left.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
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So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
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His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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What business is it of yours where I'm from, friendo?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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A goodlookin horse is like a goodlookin woman, he said. They're always more trouble than what they're worth. What a man needs is just one that will get the job done.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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Only now is the child finally divested of all that he has been. His origins are become remote as is his destiny and not again in all the world's turning will there be terrains so wild and barbarous to try whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man's will or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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This is my child, he said. I wash a dead man's brains out of his hair. That is my job.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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My daddy always told me to just do the best you knew how and tell the truth. He said there was nothin to set a man’s mind at ease like wakin up in the morning and not havin to decide who you were. And if you done somethin wrong just stand up and say you done it and say you’re sorry and get on with it. Don’t haul stuff around with you.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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But I will tell you Squire that having read even a few dozen books in common is a force more binding than blood.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger #1))
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The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles. For each fire is all fires, and the first fire and the last ever to be.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday dont count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it's made out of. Nothin else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I dont know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who's layin there?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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What he loved in horses was what he loved in men, the blood and the heat of the blood that ran them. All his reverence and all his fondness and all the leanings of his life were for the ardenhearted and they would always be so and never be otherwise.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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It's a mess, aint it Sheriff? If it aint it'll do till a mess gets here.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person's path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning.
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Cormac McCarthy
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It's a life's work to see yourself for what you really are and even then you might be wrong. And that is something I don't want to be wrong about.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained wedding veil and some in headgear or cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a Spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses' ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse's whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen's faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes. Of a certain size and color. A certain weight. When their meaning has become lost to us they no longer have even a name. The story on the other hand can never be lost from its place in the world for it is that place.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
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Lying under such a myriad of stars. The sea’s black horizon. He rose and walked out and stood barefoot in the sand and watched the pale surf appear all down the shore and roll and crash and darken again. When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept and he said if he were God he would have made the world just so and no different.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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People don't pay attention. And then one day there's an accounting. And after that, nothing is the same.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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I yearn for the darkness. I pray for death. Real death. If I thought that in death I would meet the people I've known in life I don't know what I'd do. That would be the ultimate horror. The ultimate despair. If I had to meet my mother again and start all of that all over, only this time without the prospect of death to look forward to? Well. That would be the final nightmare. Kafka on wheels.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
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Your god must once have stood at a dawn of infinite possibilities, and this is what he's made of it. You tell me that I want God's love? I don't. Perhaps I want forgiveness, but there's no-one to ask it of. And there's no going back, there's no setting things right, there's only the hope of nothingness.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
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The truth is that the forms I see have been slowly emptied out. They no longer have any content. They are shapes only. A train, a wall, a world. Or a man. A thing dangling in senseless articulation in a howling void. No meaning to its life. Its words. Why would I seek the company of such a thing? Why?
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
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In the end we all come to be cured of our sentiments. Those whom life does not cure death will. The world is quite ruthless in selecting between the dream and reality, even where we will not. Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting. I've thought a great deal about my life and my country. I think there is little that can be truly known. My family has been fortunate. Others were less so. As they are often quick to point out.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
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Somebody has been fuckin my watermelons.
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Cormac McCarthy (Suttree)
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He thought that in the history of the world it might even be that there was more punishment than crime but he took small comfort from it.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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He poured the tumbler full. Drink up, he said. The world goes on. We have dancing nightly and this night is no exception. The straight and the winding way are one and now that you are here what do the years count since last we two met together? Men's memories are uncertain and the past that was differs little from the past that was not.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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Ever is a long time. But the boy knew what he knew. That ever is no time at all.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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From daydreams on the road there was no waking. He plodded on. He could remember everything of her save her scent. Seated in a theatre with her beside him leaning forward listening to the music. Gold scrollwork and sconces and the tall columnar folds of the drapes at either side of the stage. She held his hand in her lap and he could feel the tops of her stockings through the thin stuff of her summer dress. Freeze this frame. Now call down your dark and your cold and be damned.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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Beauty makes promises that beauty cant keep.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger #1))
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He thought that God’s goodness appeared in strange places. Dont close your eyes.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger #1))
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Words pale and lose their savor while pain is always new.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
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Doomed enterprises divide lives forever into the then and now
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
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You can tell it any way you want but that's the way it is. I should of done it and I didn’t. And some part of me has never quit wishin I could go back. And I cant. I didn’t know you could steal your own life. And I didn’t know that it would bring you no more benefit than about anything else you might steal. I think I done the best with it I knew how but it still wasn’t mine. It never has been.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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He said that men believe the blood of the slain to be of no consequence but that the wolf knows better. He said that the wolf is a being of great order and that it knows what men do not: that there is no order in this world save that which death has put there.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing)
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Well, I guess in all honesty I would have to say that I never knew nor did I ever hear of anybody that money didnt change.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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White pussy is nothin but trouble.
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Cormac McCarthy (Child of God)
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I ain't got an original thought in my head. If it ain't got the scent of divinity to it, I ain't interested in it
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
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I know all the people I want to know.
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Cormac McCarthy (Suttree)
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If you had to say something definitive about the world in a single sentence what would that sentence be? It would be this: the world has created no living thing that it does not intend to destroy.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
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She smiled. I think it's just the snow. I think it makes people stop and think. Bell nodded. I hope it comes a blizzard then.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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You always pay too much. Particularly for promises. There aint no such thing as a bargain promise.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
When I was in school I studied biology. I learned that in making their experiments scientists will take some group--bacteria, mice, people--and subject that group to certain conditions. They compare the results with a second group which has not been disturbed. This second group is called the control group. It is the control group which enables the scientist gauge the effect of his experiment. To judge the significance of what has occurred. In history there are no control groups. There is no one to tell us what might have been. We weep over the might have been, but there is no might have been. There never was. It is supposed to be true that those who o not know history are condemned to repeat it. I don't believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood and this is a thing that even God--who knows all that can be known--seems powerless to change.
”
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses)
β€œ
The man smiled at him a sly smile. As if they knew a secret between them, these two. Something of age and youth and their claims and the justice of those claims. And of the claims upon them. The world past, the world to come. Their common transiencies. Above all a knowing deep in the bone that beauty and loss are one.
”
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Cormac McCarthy (Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3))
β€œ
It looks a lot better from up here than it does down there, dont it? Yes. It does. There's a lot of things look better at a distance. Yeah? I think so. I guess there are. The life you've lived, for one. Yeah. Maybe what of it you aint lived yet, too.
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Cormac McCarthy (Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3))
β€œ
Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I dont want to confront him. I know he's real. I have seen his work.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
Years later he'd stood in the charred ruins of a library where blackened books lay in pools of water. Shelves tipped over. Some rage at the lies arranged in their thousands row on row. He picked up one of the books and thumbed through the heavy bloated pages. He'd not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come. It surprised him. That the space which these things occupied was itself an expectation.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
β€œ
He said that whether a man's life was writ in a book someplace or whether it took its form day by day was one and the same for it had but one reality and that was the living of it.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
β€œ
I don't believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamor and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and everything that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes. I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
”
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
β€œ
I didn't mean I'd seen everything, John Grady said. I know you didn't. I just meant I'd seen some things I'd as soon not of. I know it. There's hard lessons in this world. What's the hardest? I dont know. Maybe it's just that when things are gone they're gone. They aint comin back. Yessir.
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Cormac McCarthy (Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3))
β€œ
When I came into your life your life was over. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is the end. You can say that things could have turned out differently. That they could have been some other way. But what does that mean? They are not some other way. They are this way.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
In the neuter austerity of that terrain all phenomena were bequeathed a strange equality and no one thing nor spider nor stone nor blade of grass could put forth claim to precedence. The very clarity of these articles belied their familiarity, for the eye predicates the whole on some feature or part and here was nothing more luminous than another and nothing more enshadowed and in the optical democracy of such landscapes all preference is made whimsical and a man and a rock become endowed with unguessed kinship.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
Acts have their being in the witness. Without him who can speak of it? In the end one could even say that the act is nothing, the witness all.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
β€œ
If the world itself is a horror then there is nothing to fix and the only thing you could be protected from would be the contemplation of it.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
People will go to strange lengths to avoid the suffering they have coming.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger #1))
β€œ
I had no say in the matter. Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person's path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
Rage is only for what you believe can be fixed. All the rest is grief.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
Nobody comes with names. You give them names so that you can find them in the dark.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger #2))
β€œ
They rode like men invested with a purpose whose origins were antecedent to them, like blood legatees of an order both imperative and remote. For although each man among them was discrete unto himself, conjoined they made a thing that had not been before and in that communal soul were wastes hardly reckonable more than those whited regions on old maps where monsters do live and where there is nothing other of the known world save conjectural winds.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
Even a nonbeliever might find it useful to model himself after God. Very useful, in fact.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
In the spring or warmer weather when the snow thaws in the woods the tracks of winter reappear on slender pedestals and the snow reveals in palimpsest old buried wanderings, struggles, scenes of death. Tales of winter brought to light again like time turned back upon itself.
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Cormac McCarthy (Child of God)
β€œ
Hear me, man, he said. There is room on the stage for one beast and one alone. All others are destined for a night that is eternal and without name. One by one they will step down into the darkness before the footlamps. Bears that dance, bears that don't.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
When all trace of our existence is gone, for whom then will this be a tragedy?
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
And in the dream I knew that he was goin on ahead and that he was fixin to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
Men do not turn from God so easily. Not so easily. Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot e fled nor hid from. To imagine otherwise is to imagine the unspeakable. It was never that this man ceased to believe in God. No. It was rather that he came to believe terrible things of him.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
β€œ
You can be patriotic and still believe that some things cost more than what they're worth.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
Every man’s death is a standing in for every other. And since death comes to all there is no way to abate the fear of it except to love that man who stands for us. We are not waiting for his history to be written. He passed here long ago. That man who is all men and who stands in the dock for us until our own time come and we must stand for him. Do you love him, that man? Will you honor the path he has taken? Will you listen to his tale?
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Cormac McCarthy (Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3))
β€œ
Here a year or two back me and Loretta went to a conference...I got set next to this woman...she kept talkin about the right wing this and the right wing that. I aint even sure what she meant by it...She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I dont like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I dont think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I dont have much doubt but what she'll be able to have an abortion. I'm goin to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she'll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
Evening. The dead sheathed in the earth's crust and turning the slow diurnal of the earth's wheel, at peace with eclipse, asteroid, the dusty novae, their bones brindled with mold and the celled marrow going to frail stone, turning, their fingers laced with root, at one with Tut and Agamemnon, with the seed and the unborn.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
β€œ
I read in the papers here a while back some teachers came across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they'd been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forms that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So think about that. Because a lot of the time when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I'm gettin old. That it's one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I've got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it aint too late.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
I'm not really concerned about what other people believe. I dont consider them qualified to have an opinion.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
I gave up apologizing for myself a long time ago. What should I say? That I’m sorry to be that which I am? I’d very little to do with it.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger #2))
β€œ
Do you think God knows what's happenin? I expect he does. You think he can stop it? No. I dont.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
You are either going to have to find some other way to live or some other place in the world to do it in.
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Cormac McCarthy (Child of God (Vintage International))
β€œ
We used to talk about death, she said. We don’t anymore. Why is that? I don’t know. It’s because it’s here. There’s nothing left to talk about. I wouldn’t leave you. I don’t care. It’s meaningless. You can think of me as a faithless slut if you like. I’ve taken a new lover. He can give me what you cannot. Death is not a lover. O yes he is. Please don’t do this. I’m sorry. I can’t do it alone.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
β€œ
Even in this world, more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
If you’re sane enough to know that you’re crazy then you’re not as crazy as if you thought you were sane.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger #2))
β€œ
It takes very little to govern good people.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
All of history [is] a rehearsal for its own extinction.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger, #1))
β€œ
It's not about knowin where you are. It's about thinkin you got there without takin anything with you. Your notions about startin over. Or anybody's. You don't start over. That's what it's about. Ever step you take is forever. You can't make it go away. None of it. You understand what I'm sayin? You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it's made out of. Nothin else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I don't know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who's layin there?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
To watch these things issuing from the otherwise mute pastoral morning is a man at the barn door. He is small, unclean, unshaven. He moves in the dry chaff among the dust and slats of sunlight with a constrained truculence. Saxon and Celtic bloods. A child of God much like yourself perhaps. Wasps pass through the laddered light from the barnslats in a succession of strobic moments, gold and trembling between black and black, like fireflies in the serried upper gloom.
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Cormac McCarthy (Child of God (Vintage International))
β€œ
every man is tabernacled in every other, and he in exchange and so on in an endless complexity of being and witness to the uttermost edge of the world.
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Cormac McCarthy
β€œ
One of the things you realize about gettin older is that not everbody is goin to get older with you.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
...do you think if you died drunk you’d sober up before you met Jesus?
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger, #1))
β€œ
If psychosis was was just some synapses misfiring why wouldnt you simply get static?
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
Your life is set upon you like a dog.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger #2))
β€œ
That there is little joy in the world is not just a view of things. Every benevolence is suspect. You finally figure out that the world does not have you in mind. It never did.
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
Life is being in bed with you. Everything else is just waiting.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Counselor: A Screenplay)
β€œ
So how bad is the world? How bad. The world's truth constitutes a /vision so terrifying as to beggar the prophecies of the bleakest seer who ever walked it. Once you accept that then the idea that all of this will one day be ground to powder and blown into the void becomes not a prophecy but a promise. So allow me in turn to ask you this question: When we and all our works are gone together with every memory of them and every machine in which such memory could be encoded and stored and the Earth is not even a cinder, for whom then will this be a tragedy? Where would such a being be found? And by whom? p.377
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger, #1))
β€œ
They rode out on the north road as would parties bound for El Paso but before they were even quite out of sight of the city they had turned their tragic mounts to the west and they rode infatuate and half fond toward the red demise of that day, toward the evening lands and the distant pandemonium of the sun.
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Cormac McCarthy
β€œ
I have never thought this life particularly salubrious or benign and I have never understood in the slightest why I was here. If there is an afterlife - and I pray most fervently that there is not - I can only hope that they wont sing. Be of good cheer, Squire. This was the ongoing adjuration of the early Christians and in this at least they were right. You know that I've always thought your history unnecessarily embittered. Suffering is a part of the human condition and must be borne. But misery is a choice. p.347
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger, #1))
β€œ
Out on the roads the pilgrims sank down and fell over and died and the bleak and shrouded earth went trundling past the sun and returned again as trackless and as unremarked as the path of any nameless sisterworld in the ancient dark beyond.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
β€œ
See him. You could say that he's sustained by his fellow men, like you. Has peopled the shore with them calling to him. A race that gives suck to the maimed & the crazed, that wants their wrong blood in its history & will have it. But they want this man's life. He has heard them in the night seeking him with lanterns & cries of execration. How then is he borne up? Or rather, why will not these waters take him?
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Cormac McCarthy (Child of God)
β€œ
They set forth in a crimson dawn where sky and earth closed in a razorous plane. Out there dark little archipelagos of cloud and the vast world of sand and scrub shearing upward into the shoreless void where those blue islands trembled and the earth grew uncertain, gravely canted and veering out through tinctures of rose and the dark beyond the dawn to the uttermost rebate of space.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
The fire had burned to coals and he lay looking up at the stars in their places and the hot belt of matter that ran the chord of the dark vault overhead and he put his hands on the ground at either side of him and pressed them against the earth and in that coldly burning canopy of black he slowly turned dead center to the world, all of it taut and trembling and moving enormous and alive under his hands. What's her name? said Rawlins in the darkness. Alejandra. Her name is Alejandra.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
β€œ
They sell that shit to schoolkids. It’s worse than that. How’s that? Schoolkids buy it.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
Anything can be an instrument, Chugurh said. Small things. Things you wouldn't even notice. They pass from hand to hand. People don't pay attention. And then one day there’s an accounting. And after that nothing is the same. Well, you say. It’s just a coin. For instance. Nothing special there. What could that be an instrument of? You see the problem. to separate the act from the the thing. As if the parts of some moment in history might be interchangeable with the parts of some other moment. How could that be? Well, it’s just a coin. Yes. That’s true. Is it?
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
β€œ
A man seeks his own destiny and no other, said the judge. Will or nill. Any man who could discover his own fate and elect therefore some opposite course could only come at last to that selfsame reckoning at the same appointed time, for each man's destiny is as large as the world he inhabits and contains within it all opposites as well. This desert upon which so many have been broken is vast and calls for largeness of heart but it is also ultimately empty. It is hard, it is barren. Its very nature is stone ...The world goes on. We have dancing nightly and this night is no exception. The straight and the winding way are one and now that you are here what do the years count since last we two met together? Men's memories are uncertain and the past that was differs little from the past that was not.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
I dont believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamour and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and every thing that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes, I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
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Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
β€œ
The survivors lay quietly in that cratered void and watched the whitehot stars go rifling down the dark. Or slept with their alien hearts beating in the sand like pilgrims exhausted upon the face of the planet Anareta, clutched to a namelessness wheeling in the night.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
He said that those who have endured some misfortune will always be set apart but that it is just that misfortune which is their gift and which is their strength and that they must make their way back into the common enterprise of man for without they do so it cannot go forward and they themselves will wither in bitterness. He said these things to me with great earnestness and great gentleness and in the light from the portal I could see that he was crying and I knew that it was my soul he wept for. I had never been esteemed in this way. To have a man place himself in such a position. I did not know what to say. That night I thought long and not without despair about what must become of me. I wanted very much to be a person of value and I had to ask myself how this could be possible if there were not something like a soul or like a spirit that is in the life of a person and which could endure any misfortune or disfigurement and yet be no less for it. If one were to be a person of value that value could not be a condition subject to the hazards of fortune. It had to be a quality that could not change. No matter what. Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I’d always known. That all courage was a form of constancy. That it was always himself that the coward abandoned first. After this all other betrayals came easily. I knew that courage came with less struggle for some than for others but I believed that anyone who desired it could have it. That the desire was the thing itself. The thing itself. I could think of nothing else of which that was true.
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Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
β€œ
He’d half meant to speak but those eyes had altered the world forever in the space of a heartbeat.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Border Trilogy: All the Pretty Horses / The Crossing / Cities of the Plain)
β€œ
She was gone and the coldness of it was her final gift. She would do it with a flake of obsidian. He'd taught her himself. Sharper than steel. The edge an atom thick. And she was right. There was no argument. The hundred nights they'd sat up arguing the pros and cons of self destruction with the earnestness of philosophers chained to a madhouse wall. In the morning the boy said nothing at all and when they were packed and ready to set out upon the road he turned and looked back at their campsite and he said: She's gone isn't she? And he said: Yes, she is.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
β€œ
There were people who escaped Hiroshima and rushed to Nagasaki to see that their loved ones were safe. Arriving just in time to be incinerated. He went there after the war with a team of scientists. My father. He said that everything was rusty. Everything looked covered with rust. There were burnt-out shells of trolleycars standing in the streets. The glass melted out of the sashes and pooled on the bricks. Seated on the blackened springs the charred skeletons of the passengers with their clothes and hair gone and their bones hung with blackened strips of flesh. Their eyes boiled from their sockets. Lips and noses burned away. Sitting in their seats laughing. The living walked about but there was no place to go. They waded by the thousands into the river and died there. They were like insects in that no one direction was preferable to another. Burning people crawled among the corpses like some horror in a vast crematorium. They simply thought that the world had ended. It hardly even occurred to them that it had anything to do with the war. They carried their skin bundled up in their arms before them like wash that it not drag in the rubble and ash and they passed one another mindlessly on their mindless journeyings over the smoking afterground, the sighted no better served than the blind. The news of all this did not even leave the city for two days. Those who survived would often remember these horrors with a certain aesthetic to them. In that mycoidal phantom blooming in the dawn like an evil lotus and in the melting of solids not heretofore known to do so stood a truth that would silence poetry a thousand years. Like an immense bladder, they would say. Like some sea thing. Wobbling slightly on the near horizon. Then the unspeakable noise. They saw birds in the dawn sky ignite and explode soundlessly and fall in long arcs earthward like burning party favors. p.116
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Cormac McCarthy (The Passenger (The Passenger, #1))
β€œ
In that sleep and in sleeps to follow the judge did visit. Who would come other? A great shambling mutant, silent and serene. Whatever his antecedents he was something wholly other than their sum, nor was there system by which to divide him back into his origins for he would not go. Whoever would seek out his story through what unraveling of loins and ledgerbooks must stand at last darkened and dumb at the shore of a void without terminus or origin and whatever science he might bring to beat upon the dusty primal matter blowing down out of the millennia will discover no trace of any ultimate atavistic egg by which to reckon his commencing.
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Cormac McCarthy
β€œ
Those whom life does not cure death will.
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Cormac McCarthy (All The Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1))
β€œ
And they are dancing, the board floor slamming under the jackboots and the fiddlers grinning hideously over their canted pieces. Towering over them all is the judge and he is naked dancing, his small feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the ladies, huge and pale and hairless, like an enormous infant. He never sleeps, he says. He says he’ll never die. He bows to the fiddlers and sashays backwards and throws back his head and laughs deep in his throat and he is a great favorite, the judge. He wafts his hat and the lunar dome of his skull passes palely under the lamps and he swings about and takes possession of one of the fiddles and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and fiddling at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
The dream wakes us to tell us to remember. Maybe there’s nothing to be done. Maybe the question is whether the terror is a warning about the world or about ourselves. The night world from which you are brought upright in your bed gasping and sweating. Are you waking from something you have seen or from something that you are?
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Cormac McCarthy (Stella Maris (The Passenger, #2))
β€œ
That’s where you’re wrong my friend. Everything’s important. A man lives his life, he has to make that important. Whether he’s a small town county sheriff or the president. Or a busted out bum. You might even understand that some day.
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Cormac McCarthy (Suttree)
β€œ
As war becomes dishonored and its nobility called into question those honorable men who recognize the sanctity of blood will become excluded from the dance, which is the warrior's right, and thereby will the dance become a false dance, and the dancers false dancers. And yet there will be one there always who is a true dancer and can you guess who that might be?...Only that man who has offered up himself entire to the blood of war, who has been to the floor of the pit and seen horror in the round and learned at last that it speaks to his inmost heart, only that man can dance.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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He said that while the huΓ©rfano might feel that he no longer belonged among men he must set this feeling aside for he contained within him a largeness of spirit which men could see and that men would wish to know him and that the world would need him even as he needed the world for they were one.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
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This other man he could never see in his entirety but he seemed an artisan and a worker in metal. The judge enshadowed him where he crouched at his trade but he was a coldforger who worked with hammer and die, perhaps under some indictment and an exile from men's fires, hammering out like his own conjectural destiny all through the night of his becoming some coinage for a dawn that would not be. It is this false moneyer with his gravers and burins who seeks favor with the judge and he is at contriving from cold slag brute in the crucible a face that will pass, an image that will render this residual specie current in the markets where men barter. Of this is the judge judge and the night does not end.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)
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You're free white and twenty-one so I reckon you can do whatever you want.
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Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
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Can I ask you something? Yes. Of course you can. What would you do if I died? If you died I would want to die too. So you could be with me? Yes. So I could be with you. Okay.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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I should have done it a long time ago. When there were three bullets in the gun instead of two. I was stupid. We’ve been over all of this. I didnt bring myself to this. I was brought. And now I’m done. I thought about not even telling you. That would probably have been best. You have two bullets and then what? You cant protect us. You say you would die for us but what good is that? I’d take him with me if it werent for you. You know I would. It’s the right thing to do. You’re talking crazy. No, I’m speaking the truth. Sooner or later they will catch us and they will kill us. They will rape me. They’ll rape him. They are going to rape us and kill us and eat us and you wont face it. You’d rather wait for it to happen. But I cant. I cant. She sat there smoking a slender length of dried grapevine as if it were some rare cheroot. Holding it with a certain elegance, her other hand across her knees where she’d drawn them up. She watched him across the small flame. We used to talk about death, she said. We dont any more. Why is that? I dont know. It’s because it’s here. There’s nothing left to talk about. I wouldnt leave you. I dont care. It’s meaningless. You can think of me as a faithless slut if you like. I’ve taken a new lover. He can give me what you cannot. Death is not a lover. Oh yes he is.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
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The trees were all encased in ice, limbless-looking where their black trunks rose in aureoles of lace, bright seafans shimmering in the wind and tinkling with an endless bell-like sound, a carillon in miniature, and glittering shards of ice falling in sporadic hail everywhere through the woods and making the snow with incomprehensible runes.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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The match scratched and popped. Sylder meditated in the windshield the face of the man cast in orange and black above the spurt of flame like the downlidded face of some copper ikon, a mask, not ambiguous or inscrutable but merely discountenanced of meaning, expression. In the flickery second in which Sylder's glance went to the road and back the man's eyes raised to regard him in the glass, so that when Sylder looked back they faced each other over the cup of light like enemy chieftains across a council fire for just that instant before the man's lips pursed, carplike, still holding the cigarette, and sucked away the flame.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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From a lightwire overhead, dangling head downward and hollowed to the weight of ashened feathers and fluted bones, a small owl hung in an attitude of forlorn exhortation, its wizened talons locked about the single strand of wire. It stared down from dark and empty sockets, penduluming softly in the bitter wind.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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The great dome stood complacent, huge. seeming older than the very dirt, the rocks, as if it had spawned them of itself and stood surveying the work, clean and coldly gleaming and capable of infinite contempt.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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The great dome stood complacent, huge, seeming older than the very dirt, the rocks, as if it had spawned them of itself and stood surveying the work, clean and coldly gleaming and capable of infinite contempt.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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In the store the old men gathered, occupying for endless hours the creaking milkcases, speaking slowly and with conviction upon matters of profound inconsequence, eying the dull red bulb of the stove with their watery vision. Shrouded in their dark coats they had a vulturuous look about them, their faces wasted and thin, their skin dry and papery as a lizard's. John Shell, looking like nothing so much as an ill-assembled manikin of bones on which clothes were hung in sagging dusty folds, his wrists protruding like weathered sticks from his flapping prelate sleeves, John Shell unhinged his toothless jaw with effort, a slight audible creaking sound, to speak his one pronouncement: It ain't so much that as it is one thing'n another.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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In the glass cases roaches scuttled, a dry rattling sound as they traversed the candy in broken ranks, scaled the glass with licoriced feet, their segmented bellies yellow and flat.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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Toward late morning a rooster called and the old man's window blushed in a soft wash of rose. He slept and color drained from the glass and the east paled ash-gray.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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Across the yard, brilliant against a facade of pines beyond, a cardinal shot like a drop of blood.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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Don't nobody think much of him I reckon but me. I like him cause he's a mean son of a bitch and twice as ugly.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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He's a rogue and a outlaw hisself and you're welcome to shoot him, burn him down in his bed, any damn thing, because he's a traitor to boot and maybe a man steals from greed or murders in anger but he sells his own neighbors out for money and it's few lie that deep in the pit, that far beyond the pale.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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Through a gap in the trees he could see the valley far below him where the river ran, a cauldron in the mountain's shadow where smoke and spume seethed like the old disturbance of the earth erupting once again, black mist languid in the cuts and trenches as flowing lava and the palisades of rock rising in the high-shored rim beyond the valley-and beyond the valley, circling the distant hoary cupolas now standing into morning, the sun, reaching to the slope where the old man rested, speared mist motes emblematic as snowflakes and broke them down in spangled and regimental disorder, reached the trees and banded them in light, struck weftwork in the slow uncurling ferns-the sun in its long lightfall recoined again in leafwater.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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They go on-steps soft now in the rank humus earth, or where carapaced with lichens the texture of old green velvet, or wet and spongy earth tenoned with roots, the lecherous ganglia of things growing-coming down, pursuing the shadowline into the smoking river valley.
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Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
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One of the mares had foaled in the desert and this frail form soon hung skewered on the paloverde pole over the raked coals while Delawares passed among themselves a gourd containing the curdled milk from its stomach
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West)