Just one additional comment. I've recommended McCarthy to enough people over a long period that I've gotten plenty of feedback. Most readers seem terrified of the pessimism that pervades his fiction. I think it may be that, and not mainly the violence, that makes him a hard sell. You cannot possibly tell someone that they're going to "have a good time" reading McCarthy. It goes beyond noir because this guy makes it very clear that he's talking seriously and he's not about to let you go! Noir can have relief, even pathetic situations where one can laugh a bit, or use irony as a valve... but The Road makes no such allowances.
So is McCarthy noir? I think he is, most of the time, and often hardboiled, too. But his vision is so strong that the little comforts (well, this is fiction, life is not like that) don't seem to work. At least, they don't work for me. I would have to go back to Franz Kafka (or more recently to some of Saramago's work) to find something equivalent, something that so disarms me. There is a very long sectionof Ernesto Sabato's _Of Heroes and Tombs_ that's in the same category.
To be continued, if somebody brings more beer...
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