The Stonemason: A Play in Five Acts

The Stonemason: A Play in Five Acts

by Cormac McCarthy
     
 

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From a writer hailed as an American original — and the author of the national bestsellers All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing — comes a taut, expansively imagined drama about four generations of an African American family.

The setting is Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1970s. The Telfairs are stonemasons and have been for generations. Ben Telfair has

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Overview

From a writer hailed as an American original — and the author of the national bestsellers All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing — comes a taut, expansively imagined drama about four generations of an African American family.

The setting is Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1970s. The Telfairs are stonemasons and have been for generations. Ben Telfair has given up his education to apprentice himself to his grandfather, Papaw, a man who knows that "true masonry is not held together by cement but...by the warp of the world." Out of the love that binds these two men and the gulf that separates them from the Telfairs who have forsaken — or dishonored — the family trade, Cormac McCarthy has crafted a drama that bears all the hallmarks of his great fiction: precise observation of the physical world; language that has the bite of common speech and the force of Biblical prose; and a breathtaking command of the art of storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"McCarthy has achieved something only a few artists even attempt: He has created his own world...and made it his own — beautiful, nightmarish, isolated." — Wall Street Journal
Library Journal
It is fitting that Ecco Press, which reissued McCarthy's novels when most of the world was neglecting them, should publish a play that is still in search of a theater. But this story of deep trouble amidst four generations of a black family in Louisville, Kentucky, places McCarthy-arguably America's best living novelist-in the long tradition of novelists who have tried the dramatic form and failed to meet its elusive demands. There are some wonderful scenes, and obvious problems of stagecraft-such as cue lines for a god and impractical sets, including a real stone wall-are nothing a good director can't surmount. But a deeper flaw is that its conflicts are both overly transparent and insufficiently bodied forth in dramatic action. The main character, Ben, is wrong when he tells us that stonemasonry is man's first gift and oldest craft. Those in theater know there is an older one whose secrets are just as long, as hard, and as necessary to master. Recommended for comprehensive literature collections.-Peter Josyph, New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679762805
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1995
Series:
Vintage International Series
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
916,289
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.39(d)

Meet the Author

Cormac McCarthy is the author of numerous novels, including Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men, and The Road. He has won the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. His plays include The Stonemason and The Sunset Limited, which was originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His screenplay The Counselor was made into a film directed by Ridley Scott and released in 2013.

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