It's as if the poets and sages are leaving a place irreparably stricken by crisis - war, plague, madness, the desecration of the planet.

Cormac McCarthy gone so soon after Martin Amis. Two writers who really mattered to me as a reader and writer. They made me want to write (and often give up because they were brilliant). It was McCarthy's idea to make every page a matter of life and death that led me to write The Ritual. I took that literally and tried from the very first page.

But the continuity of their impact on my imagination, and every other benefit, however, as I read and reread them, is unbroken. Despite them being no longer alive in a physical sense, they still accompany me. And that's the great thing about great writers: for as long as we're present, the great questions will be meaningfully addressed.

I think in terms of McCarthy's mastery of language, his expression of the epic and timeless, he consistently came closer to Shakespeare than anyone else I have read.

He was one of a handful of writers to take me through my entire emotional range while sitting still and reading his books. Also, I always read other authors who were said to write like him because I craved more of what he did. For example, that's how I found William Gay, and how I fell in love with "regional American literary fiction", as I once saw it classified.

If I had to shortlist my favourites - Suttree, Blood Meridian, The Road. I have three editions of the latter and feel the need to reread the story every couple of years, and yet, I feel trepidation before beginning each reread. I have to steel myself. And I love that.

Long live the books of Cormac McCarthy.

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