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Cormac McCarthy: The Road

Discussion in 'Fiction Books' started by lenny nero, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. Stewart

    Stewart Active Member

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    Are you sure you were reading The Road and weren't still reading Heart Shaped Box? The prose in The Road is beautifully spare and is much in contrast with McCarthy's earlier efforts like All The Pretty Horses, which I struggled to get more than a few pages into. The terse nature of the writing in The Road accurately reflects the world in which the story takes place, sparse and bleak.

    As for emotion it's all there in the boy's dialogue. Each line he speaks is a highly polished piece of emotion. His voice is pure innocence in a world gone mad. And the more pragmatic father's need to instill in his son a certain faith in a godless world is also tinged with pure feeling, as he does what he can to keep his son alive, telling him they are "the good guys" and that they are "carrying the fire".
     
  2. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    Just finished this novel today. I was frustrated throughout my reading with some of McCarthy's word choices, as it seemed he went out of his way to find words in the English language that are obscure in the extreme. I was too engrossed in the story to bother looking up each word that gave me trouble, but it definitely made me want to reread the book with a dictionary handy.

    I loved McCarthy's poetic style in certain passages and thought it really added to the dark atmosphere of the apocalyptic world. The characters were not really that endearing for me (although I am admittedly not a father yet, so perhaps that would have changed the experience) but I still found myself incredibly moved by the ending. I can definitely see the underlying themes of this novel and the brutality of the story sticking with me over the coming months and being something that I remind myself of often.

    So I guess overall I was frustrated while reading the novel, but moreso with my own perceived shortcomings as a reader than with McCarthy's masterly writing style, which is really only surpassed by his ability to tell a story rich with emotional truths. It may have been a difficult journey in finishing the book, but immediately upon doing so I realized that I had really just experienced something pretty special.
     
  3. MonkeyCatcher

    MonkeyCatcher New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Superfreakonomics -- Levitt & Dubner
    After finishing the book this afternoon and mulling over it a bit, I still find that I'm on the fence with this one. I loved it - and yet, I feel somehow disappointed. I guess I was just expecting something more, something different - but what that something is, I'm not certain of.

    It took me awhile to get used to the sparse prose. At the beginning I wasn't so sure of it, but by the end I marvelled in McCarthy's ability to reveal the natural beauty of the English language; it's ability to be beautiful when it is stripped down to the bare minimum. Unlike other books I have read, I felt that the lack of speech marks worked, and even added to the desperate and confused world in which the father and son lived. The only thing that I felt was lacking in his writing was the absence of the boy's name. I just didn't find it natural that the father never named his son. Not even when he was comforting him. It just goes againt human nature, in my opinion.

    I agree with everything that mehastings said about the ending - it was just too much of a coincidence.
    Sure, the father was always meant to let the boy live, but to have a group of strangers come and take him away just as the father dies? The first group of "good guys" that appear in the story, and that just happens to be when they are needed the most? I'm sorry, but I just can't accept that a group of people in a world like that would ever take on another mouth to feed in the first place.

    What I really loved about this book was the internal moral debate that it gave rise to. I don't think that any other book has had me wishing that the main characters would just kill themselves. I'd find myself hoping that they would live, but then I'd stop to think - live for what? How could anything possibly get any better? Sooner or later there would be no more houses to raid, and what then? But I still found it so difficult to actually root for their deaths. It was just so unnatural, so unconventional. And I adored the fact that McCarthy was able to make me feel that way.

    Overall I'd give the book a 4/5. I just think that the book was too monotonous on the whole to give it a 5.
     
  4. edal

    edal New Member

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    I loved the stark, haunting, poetic beauty of the writing. It seemed so appropriate in a landscape that is now devoid of life and colour and laden in ash.
     
  5. WoundedThorns

    WoundedThorns New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes"
    i recently took it out of the library and was hesitant about it. after skimming this forum, i decided i will read it after all
     
  6. 1985viv

    1985viv New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Lermontov, 'A hero of our time'
    Very readable book,
    A bit to simple and too open for metaphorical interpretations,
    I enjoyed his writing style,
    I was hoping for an ending more inline with the terrible themes
    Not negative or nihilistic enough for me,
    I thought the ending was optimistic and almost shmaltzy really, nah, not that great.

    However its so enjoyable id definately give his trilogy a look.
     
  7. Jimmylegs

    Jimmylegs New Member

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    This book is way overrated. There are far better post-apocolyptic books out there.
     
  8. roddglenn

    roddglenn New Member

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    His writing style is unconventional, but once I got used to it I really got into this book. I became immersed into their desperate, hopeless pilgrimage. His descriptions were vivid and the characters engrossing. The ending was a little off for me - I was expecting some kind of twist and it was a little too perfect, but overall a 4 out of 5 for me.
     
  9. Hollywood24

    Hollywood24 New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Salem's Lot - Stephen King
    This was a quick read for me in the summer. I found his writing good and I will for sure look for more of his works. The Road was simple and I enjoyed the ending.
     
  10. eyez0nme

    eyez0nme New Member

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    All his previous works are convoluted and hackneyed.

    I wish you luck. :cool:
     
  11. :confused:

    Goodness... "readable?" The Road? Not to negate your opinion, for you are entitled to it, but come on... Cormac McCarthy went out of his way to choose some of the most obscure words in the English language, and whilst reading The Road, I had a dictionary next to me. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary, Cormac, but for future reference, stop making your literature sound so forced.

    The Road is a horrible book.
     
  12. I refused to put much effort into this "review" so please bear with me.

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

    Thank you, Cormac, for writing the most obscure words in the English language, ones none of us will ever use in life... I knew what most of them meant, but does that change the fact that your "book" came across as ridiculously forced? No. But I know, man -- the word "beautiful" was just unsuitable for such an elite like yourself. "Resplendent" rolls off the tongue better... right?

    And thanks for the dry characters, too... got to love how they had barely a relationship for the reader to relate to and eventually cry for. They hardly even talked... and speaking of dialogue, what was your thought process behind not using quotation marks or apostrophes? Are you trying to make a point by being endlessly grammatically incorrect after you proved to us that you mastered the English language with all those reticent words you used? Because that makes so much sense.

    Finally, and my biggest thank you yet (!): thanks for including basically NO action in your book, for it intrigues the reader so very much! I tell you: nothing kept me page-turning at 2:30 AM more than, "the tree was tenebrous, pulchritudinous; ostensibly interminable on caliginously exiguous cobblestone."

    Your book sucks. :)
     
  13. roddglenn

    roddglenn New Member

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    A bit harsh lol

    He did pull some dusty old words out from the back of Grandma's old chest of drawers and I mentioned his unconventional writing style (the lack of grammar was irritating at first until you got used to it), but to say that the characters were dry I think is crazy. I felt an immense bond between the father and son and genuine feelings of love, fear, hope, despair etc.

    As for action, well it wasn't that sort of book. I usually like a lot going on in a book, but this story didn't need it. It was about two people struggling against huges odds to survive. There were bits of action along the way, but mostly it was about the daily grind of survival and that made it all the more readable.
     
  14. 1985viv

    1985viv New Member

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    Lermontov, 'A hero of our time'
    Yeah I remember that sentence, it did get me reaching for the dictionary, but I found most of his prose to be very effective and concise.

    mcilroga - loads of writers dont use grammar correctly in order to create a certain effect or affect the reader in different ways, Hubert Selby Jr is a good example I guess. Personally I think McCarthy's style is wonderfully effective. Regarding the two characters relationship - dont you think the very fact they didnt say much to each other tells you at least something about their life and relationship? ( think the awkward dinner table scene in american beauty maybe... )

    Im trying to be constructive, and I dont mean to criticise, but I think to call any writer who doesnt strictly follow the laws of grammar is, well silly - so many writers do this, infact so many bestselling writers do this. Also Cormac is such a big writer and so popular with so much praise I think your argument ought to be at least constructive. If the world was full of books that "suck" and books that dont "suck" then life wouldnt be too interesting...

    p.s. - I said "pulchritudinous" whilst flicking through MTV today....




    joking! ;-)
     
  15. The Hitcher

    The Hitcher New Member

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    Added both of your recommendations to my library list.

    The same mcilroga from BD?

    I didn't mind the lack of action (although it wouldn't have hurt the book at all to have some) but the wording was a little over the top. And someone earlier in the thread said that you get used to his lack of quotations. I read this and No Country For Old Men and it drove me nuts in both of them. However, even with my complaints, I liked the book and will be checking out Blood Meridian next.
     
  16. eyez0nme

    eyez0nme New Member

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    You don't want to do that.

    That's even worse.
     
  17. SpoonInSpoon

    SpoonInSpoon New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    What Is The What - Dave Eggers
    I'm only half way through the book now, and like others before me, I think the extensive vocabulary is a bit much. However, I do like the style of the book and am very intrigued as to where it is headed.
     
  18. paperspine

    paperspine New Member

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    I stopped halfway through, I found it too slow and depressing. I guess that is the point though, isn't it :)
     
  19. Flor

    Flor New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    God's Own Country by Ross Raisin
    Not at all! imnsho, of course.
     
  20. angerball

    angerball Active Member

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    Currently Reading:
    The Famous Five series - Enid Blyton
    I'll be reading this one in a while. I'm really looking forward to it, as I've constantly heard such good things about it. It'll be my first McCarthy book. :)
     

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