Monday, August 13, 2007

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Ernest Hemingway meets Stephen King. I've been known with a shrug to say of Cormac McCarthy, "Boys in books" and in consciously or not, paring his writing down to the twin influences of the two authors most cited by young men I know as favorites... well, no wonder it's such a hit. But of course the queen bee of feminine readers (whatever that means, I'm just tossing ideas out here; I LIKE Oprah) has also sanctioned this novel... so suddenly everyone I know has read it, and I thought I oughta...

And I enjoyed it. The writing is very carefully crafted, deceptively simple--straightforward sentence structure but not a simple vocabulary. A voice appropriately stunted given the state of shock of both the protagonist (who at times speaks in first person) and the world around him. And it's quite suspenseful, I turned pages quickly. And it's very sad. Everyone we see, even the baddies, are worn out and dirty and tired. But in the end, it felt very much like an entertainment without a lot of complications under the surface. Of course, it's terrible to have the end of life as we know it and to have to decide whether or not to eat people, to team up with others or stay on your own, to kill yourself of struggle on for the sake of your young son (who provided for me a welcome comic note with his constant post-apocalyptic equivalent of "are we there yet?")... all quite tragic... and maybe it's a big statement to have a contemporary character take the heroic good old American stances--no eating people, stay independent, sacrifice yourself for the young--but this novel just wasn't much more than a good read for me, which given all the hullabaloo was disappointing. I blame the hullabaloo.

1 comment:

zimdog said...

That's very funny. I never thought of blaming the hullabaloo before.