No Place for Home
Spatial Constraint and Character Flight in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy
By Jay Ellis
Routledge – 2006 – 358 pages
This book was written to venture beyond interpretations of Cormac McCarthy's characters as simple, antinomian, and non-psychological; and of his landscapes as unrelated to the violent arcs of often orphaned and always emotionally isolated and socially detached characters. As McCarthy usually eschews direct indications of psychology, his landscapes allow us to infer much about their motivations. The relationship of ambivalent nostalgia for domesticity to McCarthy's descriptions of space remains relatively unexamined at book length, and through less theoretical application than close reading. By including McCarthy's latest book, this study offer the only complete study of all nine novels. Within McCarthy studies, this book extends and complicates a growing interest in space and domesticity in his work. The author combines a high regard for McCarthy's stylistic prowess with a provocative reading of how his own psychological habits around gender issues and family relations power books that only appear to be stories of masculine heroics, expressions of misogynistic fear, or antinomian rejections of civilized life.
"Ultimately, the real achievement of the critic [Ellis] is his ability to take earthy material and underline for his readers the scope of its most heartening impacts." -- Craig Monk, The Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, Volume 62, Number 1, Spring 2008