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Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is a bump ride.

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mattormeg:


Eteemed American author Cormac McCarthy follows up "No Country for Old Men" with "The Road," a bleak, and at times inscrutible tale of a father and son traveling the barren landscape of post-nuclear America with only a shopping cart full of dwindling supplies and a revolver very nearly out of bullets.

Their destination is south, toward the coast. The way is perilous, and presents profound challenges to the unnamed protagonists: freezing rains, unnaturally darkened skies and other desperate survivors who have resorted to cannibalism to survive.

A motive is never given for the travelers' quest, and just as their names are never offered, neither is their origin. The reader joins the two mid-journey, and by the end of the book finds them as unknowable and distant then as they were in the beginning.

There is precious little action, or really conflict at all, during the near-300 pages of the novel, and much of it reads more like a barebones transcript of small talk between two people stuck at a bus station than it does the intimate exchange one would expect of father and young son facing an insurmountable challenge.

In stark contrast to the profound monotony that characterizes the majority of the novel, McCarthy occasionally launches into these literary seizures of stream-of-consciousness ranting that break up what little story progression occurs. It is never differentiated whether these weird ruminations are supposed to express the thoughts of the father or the author, and so little of it makes any sort of sense that one is forced to wonder if perhaps the author wrote it this way because he just liked the sound of the words together. The author's punctuation idiosyncracies don't help either: McCarthy has apparently eschewed the use of apostrophes in his conjunctions.

A lack of any basic attempt to connect the readers to the characters, along with what is a puzzling, arched and stilted prose style leaves "The Road" a book that readers may wish to leave on the wayside.

 

mattormeg:
Dammit! I have a new laptop, and can't get used to the new mouse thingy. Moderators, could you add a "y" to "bump" in the title?
Also, "eteemed" should be esteemed.

Sojourner Judas:
Done and done.

David R:
I have read almost everything by McCarthy, I had high hopes for this one - still, I'll give it a read. Thanks for the review.

Regards,
David R

mattormeg:

--- Quote from: David R ---I have read almost everything by McCarthy, I had high hopes for this one - still, I'll give it a read. Thanks for the review.

Regards,
David R
--- End quote ---


Actually, this was the first thing I've ever read by McCarthy, so maybe I just don't have the taste for his writing style. Give it a read, maybe it just isn't my cup of tea.

I really wanted to like this book. I hate that I didn't.

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