29 October 2007

Review--The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I had this written and was waiting to post it when Mich put some of her thoughts on it on the Misfits blog. So here are mine.

Stark. Desperate. Severe. Agitated.

I don't know how often I agree or disagree with Oprah, and I'm certainly not one to go against Pulitzer Prize people (okay, so I might if I wanted to), which means, in the end, that, friends, readers, countrymen, please read this book.

As you well know, it's a postapocalyptic story of a man and his son, the survivors of a world tragedy (most likely nuclear). It's about their unlife, their struggle, and their jealousy of the dead.

Creation undoing itself (rather, man undoing creation), returning to chaos. Few survive, and you don't know who to trust. Man reveling in evilness, and that in itself seems to be required to live. Who are the good guys and the bad guys? When struggling to live, what is acceptable? Where does goodness come in and how far will it take you? Does love count for anything?

That's what this book is about.

I was talking to a friend about the book. He said, "But nothing ever happens."


Tribulation times are not the stage for Rambo. They won't be solved by a good Van Damme kicking. Mir made the point that this is exactly why The Road is a better depiction of end times than Left Behind. There are no toys and coalition to defeat evil. It's you taking one step at a time, making decisions that will affect your life and your character.

The writing itself, the look, the feel, the sound, everything reflects the subject matter. It doesn't use flowy, lush words when there's nothing flowy or lush about the world of the book. Even apostraphes and quotation marks are too much to bear. The dialogue is true and real and shows the labored breath and the arduous journey and the desperate love.

One more thing, and I'll leave you be. The characters. A man and a boy. Could be any man or any boy. Any father and son. Names are a thing of the past, relegated to a world that no longer exists. What is important is carrying the fire. And to keep moving, as Mich said.


Jennifer Tiszai said...

Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what I would have said. I found the theme of carrying the fire to be one thread of hope, a faint glimmer of light in the book, that kept me, like the characters, pressing on.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

It wasn't my favorite, but it was ok.

Mark Goodyear said...

I think there is something very, very masculine about this book. Which is not to say that women won't like it.

As for me, this book more than any work of fiction I have read in several years had a profound effect on me. Even remembering reading it brings up the feelings I had when I reached the conclusion.

I'd say it is one of the best books I have ever read. Ever. No kidding.

(Which is not to say other folks have to like it. But I sure did.)

Anonymous said...