Book Review: “The Road”

As with most great novels, Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” takes place in post-apocolyptic America. This book is awesome, and you could probably read the entire thing in 5 or 6 hours. I suggest that everybody do so, so that I can confirm that it is sweet. Something about somebody else reading the same book I did and telling me they enjoyed it as well really cements my enjoyment of a book.

This book is written by the same author as “No Country for Old Men”. I haven’t seen that movie, but it appears to also be good, so I assume that it should be taken as an endorsement for this book as well. Additionally, they are already in production of the move for “The Road”, which enhances all book reading experiences when you get to see it come to life on the big screen.

Also, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, so apparently other people like it too. The only bad thing I can say about it is that I think I heard Oprah is a pretty big fan. I didn’t know that Harpo was into post-apocolyptic adventure novels – maybe she is cooler than I thought.

Anyways – read this book.

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9 Responses to “Book Review: “The Road””

  1. When are we starting our book club?

    I finished a book this morning Asimov’s “Foundation and Empire”. It was awesome, though a little slow in the beginning, but has a great ending and there is a sequel. If you read it, i’ll read The Road.

  2. I am almost done with the book “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and has the Seal of Death on it (Oprah Book club). It has taken me 2 months to read. A great book, nothing really interesting happens, but the voice and writing in the book is incredible.

    Do you think Oprah can ever read? I wish that bitch would stop making me feel like a fag for liking a good book.

  3. The Road wasnt at the used bookstore, so I picked up Dune and A Canticle for Leibowitz. A Canticle for Leibowitz is also set in post-apocolyptic America and I have been meaning to read it for awhile now (http://books.google.com/books?id=k53eZ2ARZPwC ) . Read that summary and tell me its not exactly what you think I should read next.

  4. Like a senile and embittered John Paul Stevens, I feel obligated with regard to this matter to author a dissenting opinion. It has been a little over a year now since I packed my gunnysack and hopped off the Cormac McCarthy bandwagon; reading ‘the road’ precipated this decision. Not Oprah. Not the politicos on the Pulitzer board. The fact is I really didn’t enjoy this book at all. Ditto on ‘Blood Meridian’. The dude manages to turn a pretty beautiful phrase every now and then – but these are few and far between – and the slow pace, opacity of setting, and lack of punctuation will wear you down. Which brings us to the plot, right? What is this book about? Life is shit but you gotta struggle through it cos there are things bigger than you in this life and you gotta keep reminding yourself of this though you’re not sure why – something like that? Is at an environmental message; some Al Gore the day after tomorrow shit? Mr. McCarthy sure doesn’t seem to think very highly of the human race. I think many old men get bitter as they near death, and stuff like ‘the road’ is the result (also see P. Roth’s Everyman). Take the Hemingway express I say!

    Save your money. Don’t read this book. If you to read something recent and ‘existential’ read DeLillo’s The Falling Man. Unfortunately T.D. is also old, and perhaps embittered as well. Better yet – Pick-up Tom Wolfe’s I am Charlotte Simmons if you haven’t already – for it is a fabulous yarn. Mr Wolfe is also old, and some may consider his books trash (I swear him and Michener will one day recieve their just dues) – but the dude is an optimist, and I like that.

    And gentlemen, once the polar bears have all died and this Iran thing goes down, I’ll be sure to invite ya’ll to join my roving gang of cannibal murderers.

  5. in post-apocolypto, you either stay as close to Beef as you can, or as far away as possible. There is no middle ground, choose early and stay the course.

  6. And Beef, I couldn’t disagree more.

    The book isn’t slow at all, I literally couldn’t set it down and finished it in one day. I agree with the quote on the back that says you feel like you have to keep reading to keep the characters alive.

    The lack of punctuation is supposed to emulate the bare-bones world that they live in.

    And overall, I disagree with your assessment of the theme. “What is this book about? Life is shit but you gotta struggle through it cos there are things bigger than you in this life and you gotta keep reminding yourself of this though you’re not sure why – something like that?”

    First, I don’t think McCarthy is really trying to be pessimistic about the future of mankind when he turns all of the survivors into canabilistic raping street gangs. It is just necessary for the story that the father and the son to be living in the scariest setting that the author could imagine. The book could be set on Mars with aliens chasing them around and it wouldn’t change. It just so happens that the post-apocolyptic setting is the most interesting one available, except for possibly middle-earth, and in that setting, it is only natural for people to band together in scary street gangs. See MadMax, Waterworld, The Postman, etc. It has been proven many times.

    The point is that when you have nothing else, and the entire world is against you, what really matters in life. The father and his son are eachother’s entire world, and it doesn’t matter if they don’t ever find help. They are living for eachother.

    Somebody at least needs to ignore the Beef and read this book. My stance that I enjoyed it has now been shaken by Beef’s criticism and I need some confirmation that it is sweet.

  7. Alright I read it. And here’s my take: I liked it. I see what you mean, Beef, I dont know what McCarthy’s take on the human race is with this story. He basically says, “you have to go on, you have to go on, well you dont have to go on, but your too scared not to… oops, now your dead”. But thats OK because the story wasn’t commenting on the human race. I think thats why he left out any details about the events that lead the apocolypse, even though I did get a little bored waiting for them and then never got any history. But, like Kevin says, I think he’s mostly trying to comment on what the boy means to his father. Its about a man who has found religion, and its his son. The best part of the book came and past in the middle when they come upon the lone old almost blind man. The father is talking to the old man who said he thought he was dead when he saw the child. So the father asks:
    “What if I said that he’s a god?”
    “Im past all that now. Have been for years. Where men cant live gods fare no better. You’ll see. It’s better to be alone. So I hope that’s not true what you said because to be on the road with the last god would be a terrible thing so I hope it’s not true. Things will be better when everybody’s gone.”
    “They will?”
    “Sure they will.”
    “Better for who?”
    “Everybody”
    “Everybody?”
    “Sure. we’ll all be better off. we’ll all breathe easier”
    “Thats good to know”
    “Yes it is. when we’re all gone at least then therell be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. he’ll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to. he’ll say:were did everyone go? and that’s how it will be. what’s wrong with that?”

    Im no philosopher but I guess that would make the old man some kind of zen nihilist. Things will be right when there is nothing. I dont think the man believes this because he has his god at his side and vows to die before his god does, I guess he doesnt want to live like the old lonely man.

    Im not sure what the old man’s last words mean when he tells the boy “there are no prophets in the earth’s long chronicle who are not honored here today.” I guess he is thanking the son and lets him know that he has kept his faith, even now that hope is gone.

  8. summary: A great story. Its a short enough read, but it still could have been done in about a 100 pages less. Without being able to add any background it took awhile to get into the characters. I spent most of it waiting for the final scene. Maybe that’s life though, waiting for the final scene. I think im depressed now… thanks alot McCarthy.

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