Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International)This morning I finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  It was a movie too, but one that I haven't seen.  After reading the book, I think I'll pass on the movie. 

The book is on many "great American novel" lists and I agree that it deserves a place on those lists, but it's a depressing tale.  Death, anarchy, apocalypse, cannablism...McCarthy covers it all. 

The narrative is excellently descriptive, though most (if not all) of the expected punctuation and quotation marks they teach you about in high school and college English classes are absent.  The book is not organized in the familar chapter structure either.  It's one long chapter from page 1 through page 289.  That was a distraction for the first few pages, but I got used to it.

I could go into more details, but I'm afraid I might spoil it for someone else.  It's the kind of book you need to experience for yourself.

Would the book have been a best seller without being an Oprah Book Club selection?  Would the movie have been made with her endorsement?  It's hard to predict, but of course it didn't hurt.

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West (Modern Library)McCarthy is known for his reclusiveness and refuses most interviews.  Here's a rare interview he granted Oprah Winfrey.  After her endorsement that inevitably led The Road to a huge "best seller" status, I think he owed it to her.

I'm going to give McCarthy a break for a few months, but I'll be adding Blood Meridian to my long term list of "greatest novels" to read. 


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