The Stonemason

Cormac McCarthy

19 June 2014
144 pages


Set in Kentucky among four generations of a family losing its craft, The Stonemason is a moving play from Cormac McCarthy, legendary author of Blood Meridian and The Road.

'Expertly constructed and limpidly written' – Chicago Tribune

Ben Telfair admires and respects his grandfather for following the family trade with religious simplicity. Black and middle-class in the 1970s, he has acheived well. His father, on the other hand, has abandoned the old ways of hand-hewn stonemasonry – favouring building contract work. His nephew, likewise, disregards the old man's guidance.

But his father is in debt. His nephew has turned to crime. And so it is that, as the family trade dies out, the family itself may see tragic consequences befall them.

Praise for Cormac McCarthy:

‘McCarthy worked close to some religious impulse, his books were terrifying and absolute’ – Anne Enright, author of The Green Road and The Wren, The Wren

'His prose takes on an almost biblical quality, hallucinatory in its effect and evangelical in its power' – Stephen King, author of The Shining and the Dark Tower series

'[I]n presenting the darker human impulses in his rich prose, [McCarthy] showed readers the necessity of facing up to existence' – Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain

Expertly constructed and limpidly written, the play triumphs in its presentation of Papaw, whose earthy wisdom McCarthy makes altogether credible.
Mr McCarthy has the best kind of Southern style, one that fuses risky eloquence, intricate rhythms and dead-to-rights accuracy.
McCarthy is a born storyteller, a writer of natural, impeccable dialogue, a literary child of Faulkner.