Men at Work
The literary masculinity of Cormac McCarthy.
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In the novel's final passage, eerily reminiscent of "Big Two-Hearted River," McCarthy returns to the image of trout: "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 … 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." Hemingway's emotional and spiritual refuge is long gone. But the redemption, McCarthy seems to say, was in us all the time.
Jennifer Egan's new novel, The Keep, was published this fall.
Illustration by Rob Donnelly.