Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Road [ by Cormac McCarthy ]

I think I'm becoming a big fan of Mr. McCarthy.

     I really liked No Country For Old Men - it was an expertly written book, and it had some excellent points to make about human morality. I noticed that his most recent book, The Road, has received glowing reviews from critics, and there is an upcoming movie adaptation. My interest was piqued, so I got a copy from the library.

     Cormac McCarthy has an intriguing style of writing - he recalls James Joyce in several aspects, most obviously with his somewhat relaxed use of punctuation. Conversations go back and forth with very little grammatical indication of who is talking. However, very rarely does this become noticeable - in fact, it only serves to increase the reader's immersion.
    Another notable trademark of McCarthy's is his pacing. To some it may seem boring, but he keeps a consistent pace throughout the entire book. Because of this, it's practically impossible to find a 'climax' in the story. McCarthy uses this to his advantage, and instead of keeping you focused only on the moving plot (which, incidentally, is completely focus-worthy,) he creates a landscape. This landscape is detailed enough to give the reader a vivid mental picture of what the world looks like, but the descriptions are also free enough that readers can put in small details according to their own imaginations. This landscape has the same amount of attention given to it throughout the entire book.
    However, while a reader would be satisfied reading this book just for the scenery, it usually is just a background to the relationship between the main characters. This relationship is portrayed in a way that feels more honest and more realistic than almost every other piece of literature. The methodical story centers completely around this connection.

    Many people would say that Cormac McCarthy is quickly proving himself to be one of the greatest living authors. Only time will tell for sure whether or not he deserves to be remembered, but for now I have yet to be disappointed with his writing.

j

[ p.s. The last paragraph of the book was my favorite. ]

3 comments:

Ruth said...

Yay! A book review. BTW "The Road" was on the NYTimes bestseller list for I think the 40th week last Friday. I should read it.

Anonymous said...

I heard this was a pretty good book, however I haven't read it yet.

The one thing that intrigued me about The Road was the lack of punctuation, does McCarthy do that in all his books?

eucharisto said...

I'm about 3/4 through this book, and it has shocked me, touched me, and made me want to think life through again.

I even wrote a (very) short instrumental piece inspired by the book, at virb.com/thenorthcountry.

Let me know what you think!