The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (2006) K

Date Read: 11.11.10

Book From: Personal Collection

Reviewer: Kakaner

Ugh. Father and son try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that is apparently strewn with limbs, covered with ash, and– just in case we didn’t catch it the first 50 times on the first page– one that is repeatedly described as “bleak” and “gray”. The Road was highly unimaginative, riddled with stilted dialogue, contained no real character development, and lacked true substantive merit. Having never read Cormac McCarthy before (my only exposure being a viewing of No Country for Old Men), I was expecting an epic survival story in the ranks of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead or something along the lines of Y: The Last Man. Nothing happens. The writing is wholly unspectacular, and the greatest annoyance was McCarthy’s inability to come up with new phrases to describe (in all fairness) a neverchanging landscape. Particular pet peeves were “smoothed his dirty/filthy hair”, “the landscape was dark/bleak/gray”, “there was ash everywhere”, and ending every. single. conversation with “Okay”. This next bit is mildly spoilerish, but for a novel all about the depravity of mankind once the restraints of society have been lifted, the ending is frustratingly inappropriate– almost a “deus ex machina” resolution. I will, however, grant that The Road was extremely cathartic in that I felt personally choked with raw suffering and despair after only 15 pages. But that alone was definitely not enough to save the book, and it was simply more of the same overbearing emotion for the next 150 pages. In conclusion, hype is a cruel thing and The Road was a waste of time.

Go To:

Cormac McCarthy: bio and works reviewed

Tags: , , , ,

  1. Javi’s avatar

    And yet, it has a Pulitzer. A PULITZER. A man who…

    – prefers “simple declarative sentences”
    – uses capital letters, periods, an occasional comma, a colon for setting off a list, but “never a semicolon”
    – is not a fan of authors who do not “deal with issues of life and death,” citing Henry James and Marcel Proust as examples (“I don’t understand them,” he’s said. “To me, that’s not literature. A lot of writers who are considered good I consider strange.”)
    – does not use quotation marks for dialogue (how edgy…)
    – and believes there is no reason to “blot the page up with weird little marks”

    …has a Pulitzer. I mean, really? Apparently, now everyone with a crippled vocabulary and an anti-intellectualist bent is a modern day Faulkner. Go figure.

    Reply

  2. kim’s avatar

    i enjoyed it…

    afterwards i even bought a shopping cart to be ready for apocalyptic sprees!

    i didn’t notice any grammerisms that pulled me out of the story
    but loved the father & son premise.

    growing up as a kid, i kept wondering how far down the road i could get before i should head back home. “the road” keeps you going even when fear, hunger, exhaustion should pull you short.

    i wasn’t aware it had won an award. i saw a friend reading it, and he lent it to me. kinda glad. i didn’t have expectations, which is good cause this isn’t a fireworks sort of work.

    Reply

  3. Emera’s avatar

    Being a fan of both Frank McCourt and Faulkner, I can’t say I’m entirely onboard with dismissing authors entirely on the basis of lack of punctuation, but I still found this review hilarious, especially the last sentence.

    Reply

  4. kakaner’s avatar

    Okay– just to keep the record straight, I don’t believe the main point of my review was to berate McCarthy for lack of punctuation, but rather that the novel seemed to be one level deep (although I have to admit I find Javi’s quotes extremely amusing). It’s not his style that bugged me, but the fact that I kept seeing *repeat phrases*. Even if you don’t agree with me dear Emera, I’m happy you have finally approved of one of my sentences *wipes tear*

    Reply

  5. Emera’s avatar

    oh, yar, my thought was in response to Javi’s comment. Phrase-recycling bothers the crap out of me too.

    Reply

  6. Emera’s avatar

    P.S. and I ALWAYS approve of your sentences, even and possibly especially when they’re keyboardsmash-wibbles.

    Reply

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *