Charles Portis on McSweeney's | Rock Candy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Charles Portis on McSweeney's

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM

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To promote "Read Hard," an anthology of writing from the Believer, McSweeney's excerpts one  of the featured pieces, Ed Park's tribute to Charles Portis, "Like Cormac McCarthy But Funny."

The title comes from Roy Blount Jr., who once said Portis "could be Cormac McCarthy if he wanted to, but he'd rather be funny."

There's a nice spot in the essay where Park catalogs something I'd forgotten — all the great food bits in "Norwood."

Norwood's decidedly humble (call it American) menu nails the country's midcentury gastronomy with a precision that today takes on near-archaeological value: canned peaches, marshmallows, Vienna sausages, cottage cheese with salt and pepper, a barbecue sandwich washed down with NuGrape, a potted-meat sandwich with mustard, butter on ham sandwiches, biscuit and Brer Rabbit syrup sandwiches, an Automat hot dog on a dish of baked beans, Cokes and corn chips and Nabs crackers, a Clark bar, peanuts fizzing in Pepsi, a frozen Milky Way.

ALSO: There's a reference to an interview Portis gave several years back for the Pryor Center's Gazette Project. I linked to it a while back. Here it is again in PDF form. Perfect for a rainy day.

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