The son of a spiritualist and astrologer, Jack London maintained more earthly interests throughout his lifetime. He was drawn to the tangible, natural elements of the world — especially the great, white wilderness of the chilly Alaskan landscape. Through his own mythos, he pondered the internal monologue of man and beast in those conditions. Today is the White Fang and The Call of the Wild author’s birthday, and we’re celebrating with ten books that also go off the grid. These fictional and true-life tales highlight the inherent adventure, mystique, and philosophical draw of stories set in the great outdoors.
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy’s 1985 opus, Blood Meridian, “comes at the reader like a slap in the face, an affront that asks us to endure a vision of the Old West full of charred human skulls, blood-soaked scalps, a tree hung with the bodies of dead infants.” Following a gang of bounty hunters, the story is set in the wilds of the Mexican-American border during the 1840s. “The tale of slaughter that he recounts has a bleakness that matches this arid landscape; both aspects of the text express the mythoclastic notion of American as a ‘wasteland,’” John Cant wrote of the author’s epic work.