Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

"The Road," written by Cormac McCarthy, was a struggle for me to get through. It's the first book I've considered giving up on in a very, very long time. The average rating on was 4 out of 5, and a friend of mine raved about it. Plus, it's an Oprah Book Club book, and while I am not as gung-ho about Oprah as your average female is, I still think she has good taste and has selected some good books for her book club. This book disappointed me, though.

The main thing I did not like about the book was the style of writing. It features lots of short, choppy sentences, and that is just not my thing. The book is about a father and son who are traveling down the road after a grave disaster has occurred - possibly an Apocalypse? I have no idea. The reader never learns why they are alone, why the earth is covered with ashes and is being ramshackled by robbers and murderers. All you know is that they are walking down this road, fighting for their survival.

Some of the writing style reminded me of Ernest Hemingway's book, "The Sun Also Rises." It's heavy on dialogue with little, to not identification of the speaker. So it gets pretty confusing. I really liked "The Sun Also Rises" but didn't care for this writing style in McCarthy's book. Here is a small sample of what you'd find on about 70% of the pages:
You walk too fast.
I'll go slower.
They went on.
You're not talking again.
I'm talking.
You want to stop?
I always want to stop.
We have to be more careful. I have to be more careful.
I know.
We'll stop. Okay?
We just have to find a place.

So you get the point. I am sure the author used this desolate style of writing to underscore the landscape the characters were walking through, but this 'bare bones' style of writing just doesn't appeal to me unfortunately.

I knew my sister-in-law Emily had read the book this summer, so I asked for her opinion - she also struggled through it, so I know I am not alone. Luckily I only paid $.25 for this at our company's United Way Book sale, so didn't invest much into it. The subject matter was very heavy, so I will be reading something much lighter next...

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