Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review:: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Do you like books in which absolutely nothing happens? Do you like apocalypses? I DO! If you don't, you probably will hate this book.

The Road is the story of a boy and his dog father. They are on an endless trek after the world has ended. They are often starving and hungry. This is not the point of the book. Like many post-apocalyptic books, the point seems to more be something something nature of humanity. Then again, this is also a Cormac McCarthy book. What else should I be expecting?

One interesting thing about Cormac McCarthy's writing is that he doesn't use quotation marks for his dialogue. While I vaguely knew this before starting The Road, this stood out to me for a completely different reason: this book reminds me a lot of a book I love, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien. Even beyond "American Literature" and a lack of quotation marks, there seemed to be some striking similarities between the two works.

There is a constant obsession with the things they are carrying in The Road. Not to the extend of The Things They Carried, but to a decent point. This makes sense: they are constantly looking for things to carry because the world has ended and people aren't making more of them. But more than that, it feels like there's a bit of a similar tone/style and story-telling method.

There are stories that are regularly revisited in The Road, not unlike in The Things They Carried. The narrators all seem incredibly unreliable. And of course, there's a deep sense of nihilism in both books. The Vietnam war and the end of the world probably both leave people with that kind of feeling.

I really did enjoy The Road, even though it was a bit too strongly AmLit for my tastes. Even though there is no United States of America anymore, it still managed to keep a lot of the quintessential American Literature feel. Which I guess I should have seen coming, considering it won a Pulitzer. It was a quick read, too, and I'd definitely say that the enjoyment to time spent reading ratio was just about right. However...

If you don't like books where nothing happens, just watch the movie. It's a really good movie.

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