Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Thoughts - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
published 2006
audiobook read by Rupert Degas - published 2008

Synopsis from publisher -

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food — and each other.

My thoughts -

My first official read for RIP and it left me weeping. Perhaps I should just quit while I'm ahead??

I was even prepared for it. I've seen the movie, so I knew what a gut-wrenching story this was. I knew it was bleak and grey, and I know it most certainly was not a happily-ever-after story. But I was not prepared for the absolute beauty of Cormac McCarthy's words, and how that would make the tragedy of the story so much more real.

“The soft black talc blew through the streets like squid ink uncoiling along a sea floor and the cold crept down and the dark came early and the scavengers passing down the steep canyons with their torches trod silky holes in the drifted ash that closed behind them silently as eyes.”

More than anything, I think this book is a love story about a father and a son. It's about choosing to go on when there is nothing you want more than to give up. It's about protecting what you love the most no matter what, and then giving what you love the strength to go on. It is spare and harsh and absolutely stunning.

“All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you.”

Rupert Degas was the perfect narrator for this book. His voice carried the emotional weight of the story but never let it overtake him. I was absolutely mesmerized by every word. I realized that I somehow managed to find an abridged version of the book - normally that would upset me, but now I'm just excited that I have the chance to read it again and see if I can pick out the differences.

The Road won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and I can't imagine a novel deserving it more. For me, this book is perfection.

Finished - 9/21/13

Source - audiobook from South Side library

MPAA rating - R for violence, language, despair

My rating - 10/10

This novel is 1 of 4 for the RIP challenge.


Amy Meyer said...

I saw this movie but never read the book. To be honest, it never occurred to me to read it until now! Your review is terrific and makes me feel it would be a mistake to let this book pass me by. The passages you quoted are beautiful...sometimes the more bleak the landscape the more beautiful the words describing it.

Great post, thank you!

mar10123 said...

I'm a little more than half-way through, and it's a struggle for me. I recognize and appreciate McCarthy's eloquent writing, but the hopelessness is overshadowing everything else. Will I feel a clearer sense of the "purpose" of this story by the time I finish?