As noted when I posted Suttree, I’ve been on a Cormac McCarthy reading kick – The Passenger and Stella Maris and The Orchard Keeper and Suttree and now Child of God.
This is a short book, more of a novella, and quite reminded me of the movie No Country for Old Men.
In particular, the title helped give me a sense of McCarthy’s fascination with human evil and cruelty.
Notes and quotes…
12 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.
73 Already the ceiling of smoke and small fires licked along the bare wood floor at the edge of the linoleum. As he whirled about there in the kitchen door the last thing he saw through the smoke was the idiot child. It sat watching him, berry eyed filthy and frightless among the painted flames.
100 Ballard and the log bore on into the rapids below the ford and Ballard was lost in a pandemonium of noises, the rifle aloft in one arm now like some demented hero or bedraggled parody of a patriotic poster come aswamp and his mouth wide for the howling of oaths until the log swept into a deeper pool and rolled and the waters closed over him. He came up flailing and sputtering and began to thrash his way toward the line of willows that marked the submerged creek bank. He could not swim, but how would you drown him? His wrath seemed to buoy him up. Some halt in the way of things seems to work here. 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 and the crazed, that wants their wrong blood in its history and will have it. But they want this man’s life. He has heard them in the night seeking him with lanterns and cries of execration. How then is he borne up? Or rather, why will not these waters take him?
102 Seems like trouble ought to make people closer stead of some tryin to rob others. Some people you cain’t do nothin with, the sheriff said. Ain’t that the truth.
108 You think people was meaner then than they are now? the deputy said. The old man was looking out at the flooded town. No, he said. I don’t. I think people are the same from the day God first made one.
- Read Child of God by Cormac McCarthy.