Better English Through the Apocalyptic Novel

Voice of America Special English, which is designed to help listeners improve their command of the language, has a feature on Thomas McGuane and Cormac McCarthy. I like the idea of using either of them as literacy-improving devices–The Road, in certain ways, seems clear and simple and irony-free enough to do the job very well.

The transcript of the piece includes this bit:

Thomas McGuane recently spoke at a literature event held by the Pen Faulkner organization in Washington, D.C. He praised the group for inviting writers to speak from all areas of the United States. Then he read two short stories. He also talked about what it was like to make movies. He talked about working with the actors Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson for a movie he wrote called “Missouri Breaks.” He said that when he worked on movies in the nineteen seventies, the industry was very different from what it is today.

I was there, and McGuane also talked about what it was like to get 3 a.m. phone calls from a fucked-up Steve McQueen. But maybe that sort of thing is only for advanced readers.

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