Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book 10 – The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

For the most part, I share a similar opinion as Mount Benson -- this is quite an excellent novel with some very minor flaws. I agree with Buzby that the narration can be quite repetitive in regards to the day-to-day survival of the father and son, and with Mt Benson that there is very little in the way of story arc.

But for me, these were minor quibbles that I had only at the beginning. I felt that this was intentionally done to immerse you in their microcosm, and that worked for me. About a third way through, I became quite absorbed in the duo's journey and got quite caught up when they found themselves in horrific or uncompromising situations.

And boy, was this novel ever bleak. Probably one of the bleakest, most desolate stories I’ve ever read. But it’s also quite beautifully written, in the typical sparse, lean style of the author. Life on earth is so utterly destroyed, the only living things are humans, and they have been reduced to a primitive existence of scavenging or pillaging. Many have resorted to violence and cannibalism. There seems little hope that any remnant of humanity can be salvaged.

This was why I was a little surprised by the ending. I think with this kind of story McCarthy could’ve taken any kind of approach with the ending, whether to leave it ambiguous, pessimistic or optimistic. The fact that he chose a certain kind of ending was interesting, and it didn’t exactly detract from the story but I have to admit I was a little disappointed that McCarthy copped out a little bit.


Olman Feelyus said...

My god, you're reading the books off my on-deck shelf faster than me!

I appreciate your restraint in holding back from revealing anything about the ending.

Doc said...

I actually like the ending. And I think it's still somewhat ambiguous as to what was accomplished or how much hope was left.