20 Best Authors Like Cormac McCarthy (Top Sagas)

Cormac McCarthy was one of the greatest living writers of his time in America, with nearly sixty years of pursuing his career. He is not just the best; he’s a genius craftsman with a virtuoso open-flowing prose style. 

20 Best Authors Like Cormac McCarthy (Top Sagas)

As a Cormac fan, you will know he is a tenacious and audacious chronicler of the darker part happening in his nation- the past, the present, and the future. 

He is known for tackling significant issues in his novel, leaving his readers with questions about existence and demise, the allure of violence, the nature of evil, the passing of ceremonies, ethical preference, and the planet’s future.

This American novelist has written 10 award-winning novels, with Blood Meridian; Or The Evening Redness in the West as his first novel. The way he covers almost all the thriller genres, including the Gothic, post-apocalyptic, and Western, and several plays and screenplays makes him unique. He has won several awards for his works.

McCarthy serves at Santa Fe Institute, a research institute for numerous disciplines. His work at the institute gave birth to his first-ever nonfiction essay, The Kekule Problem. This essay focuses more on the deeds of the unconscious mind and the beginning of languages.

To date, Cormac is a compelling author because of his lack of compromise through his works, vision, and bold fiction style. 

Follow through to find out the 20 best authors like Cormac McCarthy- the perfect ones that keep you at the edge of your seat immersed deep into its pages.

Don DeLillo

White Noise: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Don DeLillo is one of the greatest living writers in America, with over 45 years of experience. Aside from being a novelist, he’s a playwright, scriptwriter, short story writer, and essayist. 

He is a diverse writer whose works are based on subjects like television, nuclear wars, complexities of language, sports, the Cold war, the advent of the digital age, performance art, mathematics, physics, politics, global terrorism, and economics. 

This American novel is known for postmodernist works characterizing the anomie of an American cosseted with material excess and stupefied by empty mass culture and politics. 

Don published 17 novels, one collection, and a novella, alongside numerous plays, which have won many awards, such as PEN/Faulkner and National Books. Some of Delillo’s notable works are White Noise, Underworld, Mao II, and other excellent books. 

Harold Bloom

Shelley's Mythmaking

Another fantastic author like Cormac McCarthy, Harold Bloom, was an American literary critic during his lifetime. He worked as a Sterling Professor at the Humanities department at Yale University. 

His early novels, such as Shelley’s Mythmaking, and The Visionary Company: A Reading of English Romantic Poetry, contained imaginative stories about romance. He is an author who writes mainly for the everyday reader. 

Harold could read over 400 pages in an hour. He could recite Shakespeare’s poetry by heart, visible in over 50 books he published- over 40 on literary criticism, several books on religion, and one novel. 

As a result of his work, he earned the title “most famous and notorious literary critic in the English-speaking world .” Even after his death, His legacy lives on. 

Larry McMurtry

Lonesome Dove: A Novel

Like many other great authors, Larry McMurtry is the author of 29 novels, including the epic frontiersmen Lonesome Dove, which won him the Pulitzer Prize. He’s also the author of three memoirs, two article collections, over 30 screenplays, and several novels adapted into movies. 

Unsurprisingly, he’s known as one of the American master storytellers. Therefore he deserves the accolade of being a co-winner of the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie Brokeback Mountain

William Cuthbert Faulkner

As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text

This Nobel Prize winner and one of the most noteworthy writers of the 20th century was a great American novelist, short story writer, published poet, and an infrequent screenwriter. 

McCarthy is often considered the heir to Faulkner’s work. So it makes sense to read his works. Faulkner earned several national awards before his death. His prominent works include As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and many more. 

Larry Watson

Montana 1948: A Novel

Larry is a fictional prose writer and poet of various novels, including Montana 1948 which brought him into the limelight. Watson’s fiction is available in 10 published foreign editions. He is an all-time award winner and a contributor to short stories, poems, and essays in periodicals and anthologies. 

He’s one of the literary authors that merges close human relations, harsh terrain, and pre-60s into smooth and economical writing, enticing themes, and extraordinary characters, immersing his reader in his world. 

Isaac Bashevis Singer

A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw (National Book Award Winner)

If you like Cormac for his characters and intricate themes, then you will surely love the Polish-American author, Singer. Acknowledged for his Jewish-themed fiction, Isaac develops complex characters with fascinating and occasionally convoluted relationships. 

Like McCarthy, he makes use of dark humor to navigate his plots. One of Singer’s famous works is A Day Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw

Mary Flannery O’Connor

Wise Blood: A Novel (FSG Classics)

Flannery is a prolific young author like Cormac MC Carthy, who is very versatile. Despite writing just two novels: Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, and several short stories, she’s considered one of Americans’ greatest fiction writers. 

Reading her hooks reminds her readers of the conflicts Cormac’s work addresses. One significant similarity between these writers is their style and irreverence (they are unapologetic with their writing crossing traditional literary boundaries). 

Joseph Conrad

Lord Jim

Although this classic writer is more proficient in complex language than McCarthy, his themes are not any different from Cormac’s. Conrad taps into the despair and darkness of humanity and, through his writing, shows how individual lives intersect with history and political events. 

His books like Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, and lots more earned him the nickname” a masterful seller of colorful adventures of the sea.”

Williams Gay


If you are a fanatic of McCarthy’s southern novel, you will surely like Gay’s writing. His fictional prose is strong, captivating, evocative, and oozes a Cormac vibe. 

Gays’ work centers on poor, desperate people living in deeply rural Tennessee. It’s okay to immerse deeply in some of his fascinating works like Twilight, Provinces of the Night, etc. You surely will enjoy it! 

Hermann Hesse

Demian: The Story of a Youth

Known for his impactful fiction Hesse is one of the greatest living novelists. His versatility is evident in his writing and even his job preference. He’s a novelist, painter, and poet who merges his personal experiences, figurative language, and symbolism to create a theme. 

His bestseller novels are Demian: The Story of a YouthSteppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi), each revolving around an individual search for identity and spiritual pursuit. No doubt, he always leaves his readers refreshed. 

Mary Glickman

An Undisturbed Peace: A Novel

Glickman is an author that does not consider herself tied to one place. She’s the author of five beautiful books and a short story writer. One of these books, An Undisturbed Peace, is inspired by what she read about in McCarthy’s book, Outer Dark

Glickman narrates the story of one of American history’s greatest shame- the Trail of Tears through different characters, which every McCarthy fan will love. 

Wiliam Gaddis


Gaddis is an author like McCarthy, specializing in dialogue as a narrative device in his second writing, JR. This fictional prose writer focuses more on chaos and complexity. 

Gaddis wrote his prose freely with form and language in an engaging yet challenging style. Although he was mainly misunderstood during his time, he won two National Book Awards. 

Until recent years, critics came to think highly of Gladdis’s contribution to American literature chronology. 

Robert Coover

The Public Burning (Coover, Robert)

Although favored for his fabulation and metafiction writing, he and Cormac have something similar- literary minimalism; they are writers who emotionally distance themselves from their subjects. 

Coover’s controversial bestseller, The Public Burning, becomes the most influential novel and first major work of contemporary fiction that uses living historical figurines as characters. A win-win for Coover. 

John Lithgow 

Mahalia Mouse Goes to College: Book and CD

 Lithgow is an actor who has bagged two Golden Gloves, two Tonys, six Emmys, and two Oscar nominations. He also starred in popular TV series like Dexter and The Crown

However, aside from his life as a celebrity, he’s a fantastic writer of several children’s books. Children’s book author, how does it relate to Cormac? Despite writing children’s books,  he uses sophisticated vocabulary that may seem too advanced for young ones. 

However, using illustrations makes it easier for little and older ones to understand. His bestsellers include Mahalia Mouse Goes to College, Micawber, and many more. Whether young or old, Lithgrow’s brilliant piece will entertain you. 

Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Player Piano: A Novel

Kurt is another American author like McCarthy and one of the greatest living fictional authors that blend science, satire, and dark humor in his writings. Over 50 years of his career, he’s an author of 14 novels alongside short story collections, plays, and nonfiction work. 

Even after his death, further collections were published. Most of his books, like Player Piano, The Sirens of Titans, and Mother Night will emit different emotions in you. 

John Steinbeck

Tortilla Flat (Penguin Twentieth-century Classics)

John Steinbeck is an outstanding writer, the giant of American letters, and the Nobel prize winner in Literature. He’s one writer famous for his realistic and innovative writings combining it with empathetic wit and keen social perception. 

Having written various books in his lifetime, like Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, and The Red Pony, known as John’s masterwork and facet of the American literary canon. 

Ernest Miller Hemmingway

The Sun Also Rises: The Authorized Edition

With a former career in journalism, Hemmingway is a great American novelist and fictional prose writer who coined the Iceberg Theory. One of his novels, The Sun Also Rises, is a gripping story divulged in thin, narrative prose that shares Literary English and substantially impacts 20th-century fiction. 

His lifestyle and general impression earned him respect from the later generation like you. 

James Ellroy


American bestseller author in the crime and detective genre that focuses on sinister eras of modern American history is a fantastic writer and producer. Unsurprisingly, he’s called the demon dog of American Literature and the world’s most significant living crime writer. 

This fantastic writer is comprehended for using a telegrammatic prose tone. He omits connecting words utilizing only short, detached sentences. Some of James’s best sellers include L. A Quartet, American Tabloid, Blood’s a Rover

James Joyce


As an Irish novelist, poet, and literary critic, Joyce contributed to the modernist avant-garde activity. Therefore he deserves the honor given him as one of the most noteworthy writers of the 20th century. 

James’ novel Ulysses sold over 880,000 copies. This book also serves as a crossroads in which Homer Odyssey episodes are similar in various literary styles, especially the stream of consciousness. 

Petra Mundik 

A Bloody and Barbarous God: The Metaphysics of Cormac McCarthy

Petra Mundik is a research assistant at Murdoch University in Perth and the author of one book. So how does Petra Mundik appear on this list? 

As a researcher, she has worked and issued various papers, chapters, and essays about Cormac McCarthy. Thus making her very familiar with his writing technique. And this is evident in her novel; A Bloody and Barbarous God: The Metaphysics of Cormac McCarthy

Mudik assumes the role of a priest in her masterpiece, taking Cormac’s readers on a detailed journey beneath the rich and complicated surface to reveal the hidden secret. 

Final Thoughts 

This list provides you with various options of great authors you can check out. Although they have unique styles and different experiences, a spectacular feature makes them among the best authors, like Cormac McCarthy

So take your time to read through this article and get ready to be immersed as you journey through each author’s world. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cormac McCarthy’s Writing Style?

McCarthy’s writing style is mainly dreamlike. His fictional prose depends on vivid, straightforward, and almost scriptural language. Except in the necessary places, Cormac’s writing doesn’t have punctuation.

Who are Cormac McCarthy’s Favorite Authors?

McCarthy has always said William Faulkner and Herman Merville are the strongest people influencing his writing style.

Who are the Contemporary Writers of Cormac McCarthy?

Cormac’s fellow writers include Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo, and Philip Roth. Although they are advanced in age, their books are among the best books of history.

Where Should I Start With Cormac McCarthy’s Book?

If you are a new reader of Cormac’s, you can start with his trilogy, All the Pretty Horses
The book is classic with a more traditional plotting than his other books. The protagonist is impressive, and it has a love story.

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