Books: A Southern Parable

OUTER DARK, by Cormac McCarthy. 242 pages. Random House. $4.95.

Cormac McCarthy is one of those few writers who go on from a well-remarked first novel to write a superior second book. His first. The Orchard Keeper, won him the William Faulkner Foundation Award for 1965, a traveling scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Rockefeller Foundation grant. His new work shows that the 35-year-old author from the backwoods of Tennessee, while still echoing the style of Faulkner, has developed into an exceptional talent on his own.

Outer Dark is a morality tale that has elements of a...

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