Monday, January 09, 2023

Five of the best books about surviving war (or not)

Before becoming a full-time writer, Kevin McColley worked many jobs, including operating a nuclear reactor. He served in the U.S. Navy for six years, during which he traveled throughout the Caribbean pursuing drug runners. He also spent eight months in the Mediterranean recovering downed U.S. pilots, both dead and alive, and he patrolled Gaddafi’s “line of death.”

McColley is the author of several novels, including The Other Side: A Novel of the Civil War.

At Shepherd he tagged five of the best books about surviving war (or not), including:
Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

In my opinion, the best novel written in the last fifty years. The violence would be too much in the hands of a lesser writer and there is no greater living writer in English than McCarthy. McCarthy perfectly captures the nihilism of war, and how that nihilism later comes back to haunt war’s survivors.
Read about another entry on the list.

Blood Meridian is one authority's pick for the Great Texas novel; it is among Bruce McCandless III's top six books about crime & colonialism at the U.S.-Mexico border, Paul Howarth's top ten tales from the frontier, Craig DiLouie’s ten top fantasy books steeped in the Southern Gothic, Graham McTavish's six best books, ShortList's roundup of literature's forty greatest villains, Brian Boone's five great novels that will probably never be made into movies, Sarah Porter's five best books with unusual demons and devils, Chet Williamson's top ten novels about deranged killers, Callan Wink's ten best books set in the American West, Simon Sebag Montefiore's six favorite books, Richard Kadrey's five books about awful, awful people, Jason Sizemore's top five books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, Robert Allison's top ten novels of desert war, Alexandra Silverman's top fourteen wrathful stories, James Franco's six favorite books, Philipp Meyer's five best books that explain America, Peter Murphy's top ten literary preachers, David Vann's six favorite books, Robert Olmstead's six favorite books, Michael Crummey's top ten literary feuds, Philip Connors's top ten wilderness books, six books that made a difference to Kazuo Ishiguro, Clive Sinclair's top 10 westerns, Maile Meloy's six best books, and David Foster Wallace's five direly underappreciated post-1960 U.S. novels. It appears on the New York Times list of the best American fiction of the last 25 years and among the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King.

--Marshal Zeringue