Friday, September 4, 2009

Review by Shellie: The Road by Cormac McCarthy


Two down 73 more to go.

This is the slightly altered post from my blog. It has created the most comments since I started it several months ago and the opinions swing greatly. Either they loved it or hated it. It appears that this has been happening everywhere.

Book Stats from Goodreads:

Published September 26th 2006 by Knopf

Binding Hardcover - 241 pages

Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction (2006), The National Book Critics (2006)

ISBN: 0307265439 (isbn13: 9780307265432)

Mini Synopsis:

An unnamed man and his boy are faced with trying to survive on a post apocalyptic earth. The cause of this is alluded to but never fully explained. They are traveling on a road toward the coast in the futile hope of finding sustenance – food, clean water, life, and like minded companionship. Their world is ashen, and no other life exists except a few wandering survivors and bands of lawless thugs. Resources are scarce since it is apparently years after the actual event and most have been already used by the remaining survivors. As they struggle and travel theirs becomes a story of horror, familial love, sadness, and an almost impossible hope for survival.

My Thoughts:

I rated it unusually – it swings bluntly between 2.5 stars and 4.5 – on balance it it 3.5 stars.

For the highest rating of this swing I gave The Road, I can say It was incredible. I felt such strong emotions as I read this book. As I read I felt the loss, pain, and horror. It left an empty feeling deep in the pit of my stomach - very real. The writing flows and is broken up into small sections making it easier to digest since it has a heart wrenching effect. Most importantly, I found myself thinking about it as during the day.

The problem that I had with this book was that within the simple text and realistic dialog between son and father, there were little sections of which were impossible for me to understand. Small and short as they were - they appeared to be describing very intense emotions. I just did not “get these little bits”. Feeling a little dense - I even read them to my husband and he expressed the same perspective. (Because of this he probably will not read the book.)

In Summary I recommend this book, if you can overlook the parts that I am describing, or perhaps you will not notice them at all. I seldom give above a 4 star rating so parts of the book are exceptional.

On another positive note it is now out in paper back, should be available used at second hand stores everywhere, and not so hot off the press that you can get it at your local library.

Amazon Purchasing information linked below respectively. US/UK/Canada

The Road (Oprah's Book Club)/ The Road/ The Road (Oprah's Book Club)

For the original post link to Layers of Thought here.


Briony said...

This is definitely one of those books where you either like it or you don't.

I admire his writing style, and there are some things in the book that I quite liked, I didn't like the book as a whole. After I finished reading it I just felt so bleak and depressed.

I can certainly see why people would love it though. I've not read any of his other books so I can't really compare it.

Great review!

Linda said...

Loved this book.

Then again, I like my stories the way I like my chocoolate - the darker the better.

McCarthy gets props for pushing the envelope prose-wise. Rules are broken, and it works. Peace, Linda

M. said...

If you recall where any of those "little sections of which were impossible for me to understand" were in the The Road, I'd love to go back and re-read them to see if I can shed some light on the text (or, conversely, to commiserate and share in your perplexity).

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Briony -
Thank you :)
I apologize for not responding back sooner. I did not realize I would not be notified regarding the comments for the posting.
I agree the response for this book swings. It was apparent when I posted this on my blog.
I cannot compare it either since I have not read anything by him either. But I imagine I will at some point.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Linda -
I like my stories Dark too. I just can't deal with esoteric. I like what I read to be accessible.
With this book I liked most of it accept for those little odd bits. I am wondering if his other books are like that as well.
Thanks for the comment - and sorry for the late response. Still learning about this system.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

M -
I will take a look and get back to you in regards to those little bits. I would not doubt that they are open to interpretation.
Thanks for the comment and sorry about the late response back.