1. Sylous
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    Sylous Member

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    Novel: The Road

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Sylous, Nov 14, 2009.

    Has anyone here read Cormac's novel 'The Road' or know someone who has? I want to read it before seeing the movie but I have heard it is a very powerful story and that some people (particularly fathers) have a hard time finishing it.

    Just curious if anyone in here who read it has an opinion on the book.

    TIA :)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've read it, and a lot of my friends have as well. They liked it and so did I. But I still think it's not his best novel. That said, it's definitely his most personal, and I can definitely see how some fathers would be touched by it. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to people who haven't already it.
     
  3. Moggle
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    Moggle Member

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    I've read it. It's a complete borefest and utter garbage. All they do is walk on a road, look for food, hide, walk on a road, look for food, lather, rinse, repeat, the end. That's basically the entire book in a nutshell. Borrrrrinnnngg.......
     
  4. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    I have read it but haven't seen the movie. I loved the book. I certainly didn't find it boring by any stretch. Below is a review I wrote on it a while back. I have since read Blood Meridian and also enjoyed it.

    The Road is the first novel that I have read by Cormac McCarthy. It will not be the last.

    The story revolves around a man and his son traveling through a post-apocalyptic world. There is little backstory and the reader knows next to nothing of these characters’ lives before the nuclear winter that has killed off virtually all animal and plant life. The Man and the Boy, for we have no other names to call them, are constantly on the move with hunger and fear as their only other companions.

    In this world, that is all but biologically dead, their only sources of food are canned goods and other non-perishables. However, such items are rare and seem almost anachronistically out of place in this gray and cold primitive world into which the author has dropped us. Of course, the roving bands of cannibals have opted for a more eclectic menu from which to choose.

    In a world that is forever shrouded from the sun, the one ray of light is that of the love between the man and the boy. The only good the man sees in the world is wholly encompassed in his son. All that he does, including choosing to live, is done solely for the boy. It is this relationship that most keeps the reader vested in the story.

    It takes a little time to become accustomed to McCarthy’s style of writing. The incomplete sentences and apostropheless contractions got under the skin of the English major in me at times but the book lover in me came to appreciate it. The truncated grammar actually plays a role in relaying the spartan world in which the story unfolds.

    My only qualm with the novel is that on numerous occasions McCarthy uses a rather obscure vocabulary. Even the most well read of readers will find themselves reaching for the dictionary a distracting number of times throughout the book.

    Over the years I have read numerous post-apocalyptic and end-of-world novels and have frankly become bored with them. Had this book not been the recipient of the Pulitzer I likely never would have read it. I am glad I did. We have all read books of which we remember little and we have all read books that stand out in our minds over time. I believe this is one of the latter.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm guessing you completely misunderstood the deeper meanings and implications of the novel. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It is an amazing book, an instant classic. So subtle and nuanced (as you'd expect from arguably the best living American author), poetic, cathartic and nothing short of revelatory, to say nothing of his raw, emotional minimalist style.

    And despite the above claim, I actually found the story quite compelling. While there aren't a huge number of "events", McCarthy manages to maintain pace and tension throughout.
     
  7. Moggle
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    Moggle Member

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    Why would you assume that? Because I didn't like it? Why don't you tell me what the book means to you and I'll do the same. Afterwards you can even dig up some reviews analyzing the "finer" qualities of the book and at the end I can tell you what a crappy book it was all over again.
     
  8. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    I love Cormac McCarthy, but I didn't find The Road particularly engaging. My favourite of his that I've read so far is No Country for Old Men. It was a while since I read The Road, but I found I had a hard time feeling anything for or about the characters. It was all a bit detached.
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    No, because you said this:
    Even if you had liked it but had still considered the book to be about walking, looking for food, etc., I still would have said the same thing. Sorry if I come across as rude, but I was merely stating what was on my mind.
     
  10. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Good review, Bob.

    It was also my first CM book, and I'm with you that it won't be my last. I thought it was amazing. I don't remember being distracted by obscure words, actually. Maybe I skipped over them, thinking they didn't matter somehow. But concerning the truncated grammatical constructs, I agree completely that they served his purpose in underscoring the dissociation of experience from details (like apostrophes) that were irrelevant to survival. Especially so, the apostrophe, which signifies posession (a concept now stripped of its conventional meaning). I think I noted, too, that this seemed to be handled in a rather haphazard or inconsistent way, which I thought suggested that any significance the reader might attach to this convention was as unreliable as everything the man and his son experienced. The most stunning aspect to me was the necessity to focus upon a present that no longer bore any meaningful connection either to past or to future, but a present that was merely defined by nothing more than a single, tenuous human bond.
     
  11. Evil Flamingo
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    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Funny that this was also my first CM novel and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it. Maybe it's just me, but I really like slower novels that span a more realistic and morally intertwined view than these action packed novels that everyone seems to adore.

    Read some of his other works also, although this is a fine example of his work, it is most certainly not his greatest.

    - Steve
     
  12. Sylous
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    Sylous Member

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    So what I have heard/read about CM's ability to create a strong bound between the father and his son is about dead on? Do any of the fathers on this thread feel he did it justice - realistic (given the situation) or a more romantic side of a father/son relationship (given the situation)?
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    While I'm not a father, I don't think you could really say that he romanticises the relationship at all. Their relationship is quite complex (a result of their circumstances, of course) and it definitely isn't always smooth. But it is very realistic and honest about the father/son bond, and while that bond is gonna be different for everybody, the one he delivers is certainly very well-constructed and convincing.
     
  14. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting opinion.

    What kind of novels do you like reading normally?
     
  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I read it and loved it; it was a welcome change from what I had just read - I think it was Cell by Stephen King, which was just awful.
     
  16. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Has anyone seen the movie yet?
     
  17. Green Tea
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    Green Tea Banned

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    I listened to the audio book version.

    The story was alright. Although I wouldn't have awarded it the Pulitzer Prize.

    The ending was weak.
     
  18. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    This really is the kind of book where listening to an audio book is really insufficient...you may change your mind if you actually read it...
     
  19. Green Tea
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    Green Tea Banned

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    Doubt it. And I've never thought an audio books was a lesser experience than reading the book. The same imagery is formed, only the voice, accent, age of the narrator may not be what you would have created for yourself.

    So no, I won't be reading the print version of 'The Road' any time soon. No need. There are many many more novels to choose from.

    Honestly, I think the book was over hyped. The Pulitzer people wanted to honour McCarthy for his lifetime achievements as an author, not the value of the single piece of work. And remember Pulitzer Prizes only go to American authors. It's an American prize. Not international. Perhaps it was a slow year when it was first published.
     
  20. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    In literary fiction, such as this novel, those things are almost completely besides the point. The spare minimalist prose, the lyrical quality, the visual aesthetic, all things that earnt McCarthy the great reputation he enjoys, are things that are very difficult to express aloud. Reading the book is undoubtedly, in this case, an entirely different experience.

    But if you weren't sold by the (audio)book itself, I doubt there's anything I could say to change your mind.
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I find an audio book to be weak myself. With a book I can spend time on it, I can, as it is my voice narrating the book, picture it a lot more clearly than just listening to someone read it for me, I feel distanced from it in many ways.
     
  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I agree with arron and Lemex. An actual book is far superior to an audio book. For me, it takes away from the whole reading experience.
     
  23. writingitout
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    writingitout New Member

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    The Road is a masterpiece. I don't want to see the movie. Let the story be told in its pages and its pages alone. Beautiful!
     
  24. Sonic
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    Sonic New Member

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    I've been wanting to read it ever since I played Fallout, but I haven't been able to get it yet.
     
  25. Sylous
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    Okay, so my in-laws gave me the book for X-mas and I am about 20 pages from the end of it. I must say that I have no idea how Cormac McCarthy is such a celebrated author. This was the first novel (or anything) I have read of McCarthy's and I was somewhat stunned at his butchering of the English written word.

    Now I will admit that I am no where near close to being a 'grammar Nazi' but his writing in this novel was filled with sentence fragements and confusion conversations between the man and boy. There were time that I had to re-read a paragraph in order to understand if someone was talking or thinking or to figure out who was saying what. Everything was all combined into one large paragraph with no deliniation as to what was being said by whom (whom, right? or is it who?).

    I was shocked.

    That being said, I did enjoy the story and the pictures he painted in my head. From my point of view I took the interaction between the man and boy (father and son) like this:

    The father is suppose to be the moral compass for his son. In a way (as indicated in the novel) the father is a representative of G*d yet it is the boy who is constantly reminding his father that they need to uphold fundamental moral values during their sojourn through the ashen land. The boy interjects his innocence into a lot of the actions or thought processes his father is involved in.

    For example: When the thief steals all of their belongings at the beach - the father makes him give everything back and then takes all of his belongings including the clothing on his back - for the most part leaving him to die. While the father tries to justify the action by saying, "I wasn't really going to kill him" the boy quips "But you did."

    All and all I did enjoy the book but simply perplexed at the poor writing style. Am I missing something with that?
     

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