“What are Cormac McCarthy’s Best Books?” We looked at all of McCarthy’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!
We took all of the books written by Cormac McCarthy and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.
The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.
The Orchard Keeper’ tells of John Wesley Rattner, a young boy, and Marion Sylder, an outlaw and bootlegger who, unbeknownst to either of them, has killed the boy’s father.
A woman bears her brother’s child, a boy, the brother leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother’s lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying strangers, toward an apocalyptic resolution.
In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard–a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape–haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail. While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.
All the Pretty Horses tells of young John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of Texas ranchers. Across the border Mexico beckons—beautiful and desolate, rugged and cruelly civilized. With two companions, he sets off on an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.
A searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece. A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
Following All the Pretty Horses in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy is a novel whose force of language is matched only by its breadth of experience and depth of thought. In the bootheel of New Mexico hard on the frontier, Billy and Boyd Parham are just boys in the years before the Second World War, but on the cusp of unimaginable events. First comes a trespassing Indian and the dream of wolves running wild amongst the cattle lately brought onto the plain by settlers – this when all the wisdom of trappers has disappeared along with the trappers themselves. So Billy sets forth at the age of sixteen on an unwitting journey into the souls of boys, animals and men. Having trapped a she-wolf he would restore to the mountains of Mexico, he is long gone and returns to find everything he left behind transformed utterly in his absence. Except his kid brother, Boyd, with whom he strikes out yet again to reclaim what is theirs – thus crossing into “that antique gaze from whence there could be no way back forever.” What they find instead, is an extraordinary panoply of fiestas and circuses, dogs, horses and hawks, pilgrims and revolutionaries, grand haciendas and forlorn cantinas, bandits, gypsies and roving tribes, a young girl alone on the road, a mystery in the mountain wilds, and a myth in the making. And in this wider world they fight a war as rageful as the one neither, in the end, will join up for back home. One brother finds his destiny, while the other arrives only at his fate. An essential novel by any measure, and the transfixing middle passage of Cormac McCarthy’s ongoing trilogy, The Crossing is luminous and appalling, a book that touches, stops,and starts the heart and mind at once.
The concluding volume of the Border trilogy. In this magnificent new novel, the National Book Award-winning author of All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing fashions a darkly beautiful elegy for the American frontier. It is 1952 and John Grady Cole and Billy Parham are working as ranch hands in New Mexico, not far from the proving grounds of Alamogordo and the cities of El Paso and Juarez. Their life is made up of trail drives and horse auctions and stories told by campfire light. They value that life all the more because they know it is about to change forever. The change comes when John Grady falls in love with a beautiful, ill-starred Mexican prostitute and sets in motion a chain of events as violent as they are unstoppable. Haunting in its beauty, filled with sorrow, humor, and awe, Cities of the Plain is a genuine American epic.
In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell–can contain. As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives–McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines. No Country for Old Men is a triumph.
An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.
Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there–a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters–he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity.
|Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West||1||4||1||1|
|No Country for Old Men||3||1||4||3|
|Cities of the Plain||5||1||6||4|
|All the Pretty Horses||6||3||7||7|
|Child of God||9||4||9||8|
|The Orchard Keeper||10||10||10||10|
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