Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CIT book report - "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

Even though I rarely mention books around here, I am a semi-big reader. Mostly, I stick with history and biography, the old non-fiction standbys. Every once in a while, I pick up a piece of what Brad Feld calls "mental floss", a bestseller, a thriller, or some other low-effort diversion.

Recently, I picked up a book which I thought would be mental floss, but turned out to be anything but. I posted a review on Amazon, and reprint it here:

I just finished The Road (in a single day, which I almost never do anymore) and am still trying to sort out my reaction to it.

Some words and phrases which come to mind: Superb writing; absolute minimum of words which convey much more than I can explain; the bleakest of bleak; love between father and small son which is entirely real; hopelessness which is not complete, only damn close to it; the first book to ever made me cry (not just well up or get misty, I mean really cry); I'd love to recommend it, but I don't know to whom; sheer terror, starvation, and extreme physical discomfort (which is far too mild a word) as a way of life; I'm glad I read it but I don't know why - I felt like I had been whisked with metal brushes after I finished.

I thought of my own 6 year old son throughout, I thought of my father throughout. A passage from the last page or two had my wife looking at me incredulously and me completely unable to explain myself without getting more upset.

You won't have a good time, you won't look back on it fondly, you won't be uplifted and nothing will be reaffirmed. Regardless, you should read this book.


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