Here is Court Merrigan channeling Ecclesiastes on the subject of books and our common Fate, a stern reminder.
by Court Merrigan
When I moved my family back to the US from Thailand in 2009, I left two bookcases worth of books stranded in the tropics. Last month we went back. The two years have not been kind.
Here is a six-year-old copy of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men:
My essay about a summer childhood afternoon is up at Numero Cinq. Douglas Glover has this to say about it:
Here’s a lovely addition to the growing list of Numéro Cinq “Childhood” essays from Court Merrigan who grew up in Nebraska and lives just across the state line in Wyoming. Court was raised on a farm. He has that authentic Western voice, a voice bred in the dirt and heat and the smell of oil from the farm machines and the chink of irrigation pipes and sound of distant thunder (farmers watch the sky far more than city folk). I have a fondness for the piece based on personal history—the first story I published was about a hail storm on the farm where I grew up. Court’s father towers over this story, his laugh, his exhortations and his reading. What’s really particular and authentic here is that father, Catholic, Jesuit-trained, literate, and wise. He’s appeared before on NC, just in passing, in Court’s “What it’s like living here.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Brad Green for reading several early versions of this essay and pronouncing them – thankfully – DOA. I found this piece as difficult to write as anything I’ve ever done, and I ran a real risk of real embarrassment in those early attempts if Brad hadn’t been there to save the day.
Thanks also to Douglas Glover for asking for the piece, and then publishing it once he had it.
Please head on over to Numero Cinq and have a look. Thanks.
I have a new piece up at Numero Cinq, a little essay about how those who we regard as great may only be greatly lucky:
Beyond the flickering light of those few writers who achieve fleeting fame in their lifetimes, past the much brighter halo of the Faulkners and Dickens and Shakespeares whose posthumous fame constitutes the canon, lies a vast, unseen, unmentioned graveyard. A graveyard of unknown books, a monstrous, unknown continent that surrounds the little enclave of books we revere.
Please head on over and have a look. Thanks.
If you’ve got a spare moment to help out a Canadian, eh, go cast a vote for Elle, by Douglas Glover to make the Top 40.
Elle is the best novel I’ve read in a long while, and deserves all the recognition it can get. If you haven’t read it yet, it awaits your eyes. In the meantime, take my word for it and go vote.