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Outer Dark

Narrated by: Ed Sala
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
3.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.74

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Publisher's Summary

Outer Dark is a novel at once fabular and starkly evocative, set is an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; he 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 separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.

©1968 Cormac McCarthy (P)2013 Recorded Books

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Profile Image for Darwin8u
  • Darwin8u
  • 22-04-2013

Throwing chert boulders at the dark center

I keep reading Cormac McCarthy to find a single crack of light in his dark, grotesque lyricism. 'Outer Dark' as a novel is unconventional and amazing. The story was allegorical without being stiff, it was regional without being provincial. Like most all of McCarthy's work, it is Biblical in its power and intensity.

In 'Outer Dark', McCarthy is throwing chert boulders at the dark center of the Universe. He isn't interested in little themes. Even in his small books he is taking on ideas as large and slippery as fate, guilt, agency, and God. Structurally, Outer Dark was drum-tight. The prose and the vernacular/archaic dialogue were both crisp and amazing. 'Outer Dark' is prose art at a high-level and it scared the literary Hell out of me.

44 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • John C Raiss MD
  • 29-04-2016

Amazing book, no happy ending

I couldn't stop listening : great dialogue , thrilling scenes. Loved it. Cormac really hit his stride with this, his second novel.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • tom
  • 17-05-2015

The ultimate southern gothic tale.

Fantastic storytelling. This mythical tale of lost wandering wayfarers, dark and darker leads the reader down paths intertwined and alone of lost souls to a dantean finale.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Aaron Zimmerman
  • 14-09-2018

Shit from Apple Butter

Finally catching up to Outer Dark (1968) by Cormac McCarthy. It contains my new favorite quote in the whole of the Great Southern literary tradition (that I have read): “He don’t know shit from apple butter!” Of course, it’s incredible for so many other reasons: Descriptive passages so beautiful and haunting they make you cry (particularly the descriptions of the settings and landscapes in which the characters dwell). Dialect so purely authentically southern you know practically which county that voice is coming from. Quirky, weird, funny, delicate, brutal characters that make you giggle with their peculiarity and profundity. Plots that lumber along then snap to and drive you to places of utter awe or terror or grandeur sometimes all at once. And it’s tied together with prose is so stripped down to the essentials its practically poetry. It’s all here in Outer Dark and it fucking rules.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Eli Luoma
  • 05-05-2016

Excellent, but...

I felt like I needed to shower while listening to get the grime of the words off of me. It was as though I was face down in the decaying mud of a bog listening.

I say that as a good thing. This is a vivid story, excellently voiced.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie Hulett
  • 16-09-2019

Dark & beautiful

Dark and incredibly beautiful and there couldn’t have been a better reader for this work. It’s perfection

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  • Mr. Bitz
  • 06-05-2019

Mysterious, eerie, and wonderful!

I bought this book during a sale and had no idea who Cormac McCarthy was but the story sounded interesting. Didn't realize he wrote so many American classics! The entire book takes you on a mysterious trip through turn-of-the-century Appalachia with some colorful characters and a story that doesn't try to make life better than it really is for these people. At first, the writing seems a little forced with overly complex descriptions but you quickly come to appreciate this quirk. Ed Sala is an AMAZING narrator and enhances the visual picture of already excellent writing. I also recommend any reader not to over-analyze the story. I'm sure there are some deep meanings involved but during the first read just sit back, listen, and enjoy a weird and wonderful trip.

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  • W Perry Hall
  • 18-04-2019

Definitionally Southern Gothic

This novel should top the list in any Google search for, or be featured in any dictionary's definition of, "Southern gothic fiction." What we have here, friends, is two odysseys through a few circles like Dante's, full of nihilistic brutality, edentulous elderly, incest, cannibalism, grim reapers and angels of death, liquor, piety, grotesquery, apocalyptic ambiguities, and Biblical allegories.

You'd best wear boots when you start to readin' cuz yore fixin' to enter a world of sh*t.

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  • Ira Rogers
  • 14-01-2019

bleak chilling and dreadful consequence

Cormac mccarthy delivers something truly ghastly and horrific. Southern gothic terror and constant suffering. Very fitting narration and is best to experience this by listening while reading along.

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  • Talmadge
  • 18-02-2018

Phenomenal read.

The wizardry of Cormac McCarthy and his prose are beyond excellence. A master of his craft creating a reality that seems all to grim yet so human. Is the world as cold as it seems? According to outer dark it just might be.

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  • hfffoman
  • 13-11-2013

Bleak but riveting

Any additional comments?

An extremely bleak story but so well written as to be entirely absorbing. The dialogue is so good I cannot think of any novelist who surpasses it. The reading is perfect for the book, so gritty you feel you are right there among these wiry people, tough as worn out boots. Ed Sala is a true performer, bringing out the dialogue perfectly. I will look for more books he has done..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • chris
  • 01-03-2019

pay attention

not an easy listen, casual violence lyrically written and performed brilliantly. The words are lean and the talented narrator delivers them vividly. Only an American actor could do this because he captures the nuances of the language and the rhythm of McCarthy's prose which immerses the listener in the bleak but brilliant novel from one the world's greatest writers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Heisenberg
  • 24-08-2019

Bleak subject matter but sublime writing.

Nobody writes quite like Cormac McCarthy.

A dark Southern Gothic tale of an incestuously conceived baby abandoned in the woods, and the mother's subsequent search for her child.

If that sounds like a very dark story to you, then you would be correct; this is, after all, Cormac McCarthy. Yes, it is bleak, but at the same time it is written in the most lyrical, beautiful style that I have encountered.

It is perfectly read by Ed Sala, his voice and manner completely in sync with McCarthy's writing.

Given the subject matter, this is not for everyone, but my goodness it is writing so near perfect that it takes the breath away.

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  • Blind Girl
  • 31-05-2014

A Bad Mens' World

Don't read this one if you haven't already read latest books from the author. 'Outer Dark' is a tipical wrong second novel after a tolerable first book: loads of material with no tangible concept. Incongruent simbolism, exhausting poetry,confused picaresque narration. However you can see traces of the future genius: endless erration on a road to nowhere, hostile landscape, evil locals and dead, dead, dead all along the story. (God will certainly punish Mr. McCarthy for all the babies and young people massacred in his novels) But locks of humour and a minimum of benevolent thinking. Adolescent blood hunger and uncomfortable storytelling. Quite forgettable.

Ed Sala is like a fat country cat, slow and jovial. Very enjoyable!

3 of 8 people found this review helpful