Peter Josyph’s latest book, The Wrong Reader’s Guide to Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses, is not a typical academic-style literary exegesis. Josyph uses the term “reader-memoir” to describe his genre (151), which also includes what he calls “exchanges” and what we might call “epistolary criticism.” I myself was one of Josyph’s correspondents, in a long-forgotten 2015 email exchange about Rinthy Holme’s status as mother. (I will blame my forgetfulness on the COVID pandemic, and not my senescence.) As his subtitle indicates, Josyph’s putative focus is Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, but the book is really a freewheeling set of musings about McCarthy’s texts and about Josyph’s experiences as a reader of them. He acknowledges that his attempt to stick to All the Pretty Horses’s “given circumstances”—that is, the text itself—“failed . . . miserably,” as his readings become “extratextual truancies” (22). He ultimately describes his...

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