A Play in Five Acts
By Cormac McCarthy
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780679762805, 133pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 1995
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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 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.