Monday, August 06, 2007

The Road

In all seriousness, it is now my turn to recommend The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I am the last person in the world to read it, I think, but it would feel wrong to say nothing of it at all. It has taken me about a week, but I think I'm mostly recovered from reading it. Although I still have my spells where everything gets all shivery and the world turns gray. I'm not having vapors; it's just a problem with perspective. Once you read a book like that, most things seem very trivial and even stupid. What a shameful waste of a world. You know, that sort of perspective.

In brief, it is about a father and son heading south through a devastated landscape. The devastation has been caused by--most likely, as it is not explained in much detail--a nuclear holocaust that has taken place years earlier. Their present is far beyond the immediate aftermath of destruction and slip-sliding well into the horror of a grim, post-apocalyptic future. Lingering notions of humanity--what makes us rational, compassionate beings--are a dim memory. The landscape is scarred and dead, with not even the vaguest hope for recovery.

There are many vivid moments in this book, and far too many that are truly haunting and hard to shake. It is not recommended for just anyone: be ready for sickening jolts of a possible reality. The truth about humanity--what we are capable of, what we truly are underneath--is shocking and more upsetting that you might think.

Would it be worth reading if it were nothing but a blasted landscape of misery and despair? Probably not. I will leave that for you to discover. It is worth it. The writing is masterful, the story is clearly compelling, and the ultimate impact is a rare and blackly wonderful thing. No one wants to be haunted (except YOU, freakshow, I know who you are) but it quite a thing to come across a piece of fiction that has that kind of grip. Amazing. Read it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's a freak show???

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Shiney- - I still want to know who you are refering to by "YOU, freakshow". I might resemble that remark. Maybe.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Shiny said...

I know it's you, mummy. Bait me all you like, but you'll get nothing but mum from me.


10:14 AM  

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