Outer Dark is told in a spare style, with much emphasis on dialogue to carry the action. The story is episodic but, as one critic has noted, many of the episodes center on acts of judgment as is appropriate for this tale of guilt and punishment. There are numerous biblical echoes beyond the title itself, the most significant of them coming from the gospels of Christ, and the book reads almost as an extended parable. Despite the bleakness of most of the story, Outer Dark is not without hope, but it refuses to offer easy salvation and suggests that grace can be a frightful gift.
Aldrich, John W. “Cormac McCarthy’s Bizarre Genius: A Reclusive Master of Language and the Picaresque, on a Roll.” The Atlantic Monthly 274 (August, 1994): 89-97. Traces the evolution of McCarthy’s fiction, from the publication of Orchard Keeper in 1965 to All the Pretty Horses in 1994. Offers brief analyses of Outer Dark and Suttree.
Arnold, Edwin T. “Blood and Grace: The Fiction of Cormac McCarthy.” Commonweal 121 (November 4, 1994): 11-14. Arnold asserts that McCarthy’s novels often explore the more negative aspects of the human condition in meaningful, religiously significant ways. He discusses several of McCarthy’s works.
Arnold, Edwin T., and Diane C. Luce, eds. Perspectives on Cormac McCarthy. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993. This collection of ten essays explores the historical and philosophical influences on McCarthy’s work, the moral center that informs his writings, and the common themes of his fiction. Includes an extensive bibliography.
Jarret, Robert J. Cormac McCarthy. New York: Twayne, 1997. Jarret offers a detailed examination of all seven of McCarthy’s works, including Outer Dark and Suttree . His masterful study...
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