Wednesday, September 3, 2008

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

The Road The Road by Cormac McCarthy

rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Book that Changed People’s Lives

Consider, if you will, the following:

Blogs of People Who Loved The Road


Comments Inspired by The Road

“I had this book sitting untouched for several weeks , once I opened the book a whole new scary world opened up to me. My thoughts are still running wild after having finished the book. My heart still aches. No other book has left such an impact in my soul as this one. This book is very thought provoking, and dismal but leaves the reader with a glimpse of hope.”

Reviews of The Road

"[B]eyond the inherent technical difficulties of concocting the unthinkable, McCarthy has rendered a greater and more subtle story that makes The Road riveting." Boston Globe

"[O]nly now, with his devastating 10th novel, has [McCarthy] found the landscape perfectly matched to his cosmically bleak vision....[E]xtraordinarily lovely and sad...[a] masterpiece... (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekl

"The setup may be simple, but the writing throughout is magnificent....McCarthy may have created a world where things are reduced to their essence, but he continually surprises by finding a way to strip them further." Chicago Sun-Times

And finally,

A synopsis from an ardent admirer of The Road (the editor, I think):

"A man and his young son traverse a blasted American landscape, covered with "the ashes of the late world." The man can still remember the time before. The boy knows only this time. There is nothing for them but survival — they are "each other's world entire" — and the precious last vestiges of their own humanity. At once brutal and tender, despairing and rashly hopeful, spare of language and profoundly moving, The Road is a fierce and haunting meditation on the tenuous divide between civilization and savagery, and the essential, sometimes terrifying power of filial love. It is a masterpiece."


On to my own review:

I found this book ridiculously boring. Before you accuse me of being a brainless action-addict, know that one of my favorite books is Moby Dick, and that I could read endlessly about the whiteness of the whale. I’m also a fantasy/sci fi/speculative fiction nerd, so the possible future McCarthy paints doesn’t frighten me.

I finished this book because it won a Pulitzer. I kept thinking I would discover the reason it did. After finishing it, I’m pretty skeptical about the qualifications of the Pulitzer committee. It's akin to Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance, set in the book of Revelation in the Bible. Yawn.

But let me be honest. I haven’t given it much thought since. I can’t remember much except that the commas and apostrophes must have been on a Punctuation Guild strike, and that fully stocked bunkers after the apocalypse are awfully convenient.

My point is, there may be much of literary value to The Road, but I don’t really care what it is. Trust me, for a truly fantastic story about a dystopian future, do yourself a favor and read instead Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot


  1. I thought much of the language was beautiful, and probably that's why the Pulitzer people got on board. But the arbitrary deletion of apostrophes irritated me, as did some convenient aspects of the plot (when the man and the boy needed food, there was food).

  2. I would always much rather read Atwood!

    I haven't read the book - my nose being currently buried in a pile of YA fiction. I also loathe reading bleak books - life is quite sufficiently bleak without my having to spend precious time reading about it (I avoid the news too).

    I've often wondered about award winning books. I try to make a point of reading the Booker winners but I'm often left shaking my head. Sometimes the award is spot on, sometimes well... 'nuf zed.

  3. I'm afraid I will never read this book so I can't agree or disagree with you about it. There is something about a book that wins a worthy literary prize that turns me off. They tend to be packed with dense (and I admit it) - often very beautiful, prose which I personally feel should be confined to shorter pieces. Too much of the stuff sends me straight to yawnsville. I guess that says a lot more about me as a reader than it does about those kind of books though!!!

  4. I've got to respectfully disagree, but you know my feelings on the book, so I won't reiterate them here.

    What surprises me is the gulf between the negative and positive opinions of The Road. Those who like it seem to looooove it, and those who dislike it seem to haaaaate it. Some say that good art should be divisive, but I don't personally see books as art. Perhaps it's the gushing praise it received that sets it up for a big fall when it leaves someone cold, as all books can, no matter how good.

    In short, I don't know the answer. But if we all liked the same stuff, it would be a pretty boring world.

    Incidentally, the stats on my blog show that at least once a day someone finds me on Google with a phrase along the lines of "hate the road by cormac mccarthy".

  5. hahahahaha. yes. boring. boring and depressing.

    oh well; now we know what the fuss is all about!

  6. I have a review of this book here:
    I will add your review to my post.




Related Posts with Thumbnails