Winfrey and Cormac McCarthy: Was it what we expected?


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In the end, Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Cormac McCarthy yesterday didn’t amount to much. Oprah seemed out of breath (or nervous, a word that seems strange applied to her); McCarthy looked embarrassed, uncomfortable, but trying to be good-natured about it. At times, when she teased some humanity out of him, the camera caught something, a look of real displeasure or anger. ‘You’re blushing,’ she said, after asking him if ‘The Road’ was a love story of sorts. A grimace flashed across his face.

Much on the Web, however, credits Winfrey with an unqualified triumph for getting McCarthy even to sit down in front of a camera. TV Guide says McCarthy warmly confided in her, and the Edmonton Journal’s headline reads ‘Talk Show Goddess Meets Mr. End of the World.’ Most of the media coverage shares this view, as does the blog My Tragic Right Hip.


But what was so great about the interview? Based on his body language, McCarthy was trying to keep himself from running out the door. He’ll probably never do this again, and it would have been good to hear his response to questions about influences (everyone, including himself, mentions Faulkner, but where did the necrophiliac interest and the operatic violence come from? You can’t put all of that on F’s shoulders) or even the fact that the plotlines of ‘The Road’ and ‘No Country for Old Men,’ his most recent books, are much more conventional and familiar than anything in his previous novels--does that mean the storyteller is getting tired?

Still, there were some memorable comments in the interview, which was live-blogged on the Dizzies; you can find some interesting nugget-sized quotes there.

What did you think of the interview? Share your comments with us.
Nick Owchar