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The Sunset Limited: A Novel in Dramatic Form Paperback – 4 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (4 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330518194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330518192
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a travelling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing, was published with the third volume, Cities of the Plain, following in 1998. McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men, was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Product Description

Review

" A brilliantly articulated piece, penned by a wildly acclaimed fiction writer. Nothing short of dazzling. So astonishingly effecting, so powerful, so stimulating!" - "Chicago Tribune"

Book Description

‘McCarthy has a true ear for the truncated rhythms of dialogue . . . intensely alive to the power of words.’ The Times

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Howard Colyer on 7 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
I suspect that many people will be deterred from reading this book because it is a play, and they will think, reasonably enough, that it is something to be seen on a stage, and not read; but it reads beautifully. It has two characters, Black and White, and Black saves White from throwing himself in front of a train, the Sunset Limited. And then in Black's almost bare apartment they dissect each other's lives, and discuss God, faith and death - with wit, intelligence and passion. The book has something of the claustrophobia of Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground, and something of the philosophic and religious weight of The Brothers Karamazov - it is however some 850 pages shorter, and can be read in a day.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read The Road and wasn't impressed. I know I'm in a minority but I found it baggy and a bit superfluous. Still, I liked the impression of the prose, and it was, admittedly, mostly the story that I found lacking. So I resolved to try McCarthy again in the future (I'm quite excited about Blood Meridian and Suttree). However, when this little book came under my nose in the bookshop I work at, my interest was piqued straight away. I've a friend who's always encouraging me to read plays, and this looked good. So I bought it, and read it of a Sunday afternoon. And really, really enjoyed it. I'd love to see it performed. It's a fantastic (if relatively simple, very linear) meditation on religion and faith and the human condition. It clipped by, it is clear, parts of it are beautiful, parts of it are inspiring. I can't comment on how it is as a written dramatic text, it's not a meter i'm familiar, but as a person entirely unfamiliar with the world of plays, and who only comes to it through contemporary prose, I recommend this highly. It's certainly broadened my horizons a bit, and I expect it would any other fan of good contemporary literature/Cormac generally.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether a play , a novel or a script , good writing is still good writing and this is damn good writing . So why worry about what exactly " a novel in dramatic form is " ; just enjoy it .

Scenery or descriptive passages would only distract from this compelling duologue . The essence of this work is the dialogue between two very different characters one black one white ; one in debt to the other , but both seeking the same goal . I will go no further with the encounter as the book can be read in a couple of hours or so, so why spoil it for you before it starts . Ideal to read in one session so perfect for happily loosing oneself for 2 or 3 hours on a tedious plane or train journey .

Anything by Cormac McCarthy is worth attention and this is no exception .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TJA on 3 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
One thing that McCarthy does well is "simplicity" and this is exactly that. A minimalistic account of two opposing views on life; one black and one white told in basic surroundings and in quick time. Infact you will spend more time on post consideration of this novel/play than you will actually reading it. See it for what it is and you will enjoy it. If you require the authors rich descriptive prose then Blood Meridian is a better choice. I implore you to read everything that he has ever written.
I would love to see this piece performed on stage and agree with a previous reviewer that Morgan FREEMAN would make a terrific "Black", perhaps opposite a "White" Kevin SPACEY?
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Format: Paperback
Cormac McCarthy's playscript-novella opens with a scene at a train station. A troubled man, White, leaps suicidally from his platform only to land on another troubled man, Black. McCarthy allows himself to play with the idea of the (fallen) angel and the Good Samaritan: Black, picking himself and White up off the concrete, jokes that White has fallen clean out of the sky. To this deeply religious man, being positioned to catch a falling man feels like a sign from God (we don't ask ourselves yet exactly what Black himself was really doing on the platform's edge). It seems clear at this auspicious start that White is the person in need and Black the very person with the emotional resources to help him.

Spoiler alert:

Most of the ensuing action takes place in Black's bare New York apartment, in what are increasingly claustrophobic scenes: Black fights a losing battle to persuade White to live. McCarthy doesn't seem to want to delve too deeply into White's back story, or whatever complex roots there may have been to his decision to jump, we only learn the broadest brush strokes, Black's seemingly un-intrusive questions nonetheless reveal a disconnectedness or alienation, at the heart of White's otherwise successful, privileged life. Black believes that he has the answer to White's troubles and he begins his own confessional-inspirational tale, which has a broadly Christian message (although the essence of it, hope, a purposeful life, etc. could as easily be found in any of the six major religions). White neatly sends back all of Black's arguments and the conversation increasingly takes on the tenor of a struggle to the death, with White's suicide being the constant spectre in the room.
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