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Cormac McCarthy’s Violent Destinies: The Poetics of Determinism and Fatalism edited by Brad Bannon and John Vanderheide

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Cormac McCarthy has received essentially all of the important national fiction awards and is generally considered one of the preeminent contemporary American novelists. Born McCarthy was born in 1933 in Rhode Island, his father soon became a lawyer for TVA in Knoxville. Cormac lived nearby until the 1960s when he moved out west. His early novels were set in East Tennessee. This book contains eleven essays by scholars from across the United States and Canada and as far away as Denmark. It tackles a very focused dimension of the philosophical underpinnings of Cormac McCarthy’s oeuvre: fatalism and determinism.  Greatest attention here is paid to Blood Meridian and then the Border Trilogy, but McCarthy’s early novels set in East Tennessee are addressed in the essay by Woods Nash that centers on Child of God and co-editor Brad Bannon’s essay, “Fatal Loss and Teleological Blindness in McCarthy’s Tennessee Novels.”  Bannon teaches at the University of Tennessee, and his co-editor, John Vanderheide teaches at Huron University College in Ontario, Canada. “Cormac McCarthy’s Violent Destinies is an intelligently assembled, thoughtful, and original collection of essays that, together, form a useful point of reference in the literature that is greater than the sum of its parts.” - Nicholas Monk.

Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2018. 349 pages with an index and a foreword by Rich Wallach. Hardback with pictorial cover, $60.