Sunday, April 01, 2007

"The Road" - Cormac McCarthy

"The Road" is somehow Oprah's new book club selection. I'm curious how her fans will take to one of the grimmest reads I've encountered in a little while. Simply, "The Road" details the journey of a man and his son from Tennessee to the Gulf Coast in an America devastated by nuclear winter and beset by marauders, cannibals and encroaching doom.
As a genre fan by birth, I'm always wary of non-genre authors trying their hands at basic sci-fi tropes. They usually are ignorant of other work and write like they've come up with something new that says "I'm important" in loud, pretentious tones. They also always seem to insist that they're not writing science fiction (witness Margaret Atwood).
Nonetheless, something about the reviews of this book made me want to actually envision reading it one day. With its paperback release that day has come.
I tried to read McCarthy's "All the Pretty Horses" some years ago and couldn't get into his style. There's limited punctuation and lots of pure dialogue. In "The Road" it served the story beautifully. It conveys the personalities of the man and boy struggling to hold onto their souls and lives as the world disintegrates around them exquisitely.
The book is filled with descriptive passages of icy beauty and black terror. I've read everything McCarthy wrote in "The Road" in other books but never with such perfect prose.

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