Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Disturbing, Dark, Powerful, Loving Read

During my recent foray into the world of reclusive authors, I ran across the name Cormac McCarthy. I hadn't ever heard of him before (which is a big reflection on how much I have avoided reading modern authors, preferring instead to stick to folks from the 1970s on back), and at best think I may have only heard fleeting mentions of a few of his books. However, not long after hearing his name, I learned that his most recent work, The Road, had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. For me, that's always been a good measuring stick for the quality of a book, so I went out and picked out a copy. (Sidebar: Thankfully, I bought it before Oprah named it as her book club selection; I'd never want to admit that I bought a book because Oprah said so! I will admit watching her recent interview with McCarthy on her show and being totally fascinated by him.)

I finally got around to reading it two days ago, and finished just a few minutes ago. Without a doubt, it is one of the most haunting, disturbing, frightening, powerful, emotional, and loving books I have ever read -- and yes, you're going to be hit by each of these as you read it. Despite the fact that it is almost 300 pages, McCarthy's writing style is such that it is a very easy read, and I was able to devour large chunks of the book at each sitting. Not having read any of his other books, I'm not sure how his style has changed or evolved over the years, but I thought that this was a good introduction for me to his work.

I won't summarize it here, hoping instead that you'll go to the bookstore or library and pick up a copy to read. All I will say is that it will hit you hard no matter who you are, but if you are a parent then you'll need to prepare yourself; it's a tremendous story of love between a father and son and shows the great and nearly impossible (and unexpected) lengths to which any parent will go to protect their child. And throughout my reading of the entire book, I only saw one color in my mind -- gray.

If you've read it, please tell me what you thought. I'll be interested in seeing how the movie (someone recently purchased the rights to develop a script from the book) will trasfer McCarthy's words to the screen. For those interested in reading more, this website has a list of reviews of "The Road" from a wide variety of newspapers, and nearly all of them have rated it highly.

11 comments:

Lone Grasshopper said...

Because of your enthusiasm about The Road, I ran to the library yesterday and checked out the book. I tried to talk myself out of it, but I failed. I hope you are happy: I have so many books to finish, yet here I am starting another one!

NoVA Dad said...

I'm very happy -- and I wouldn't worry too much; I'm reading four books right now. I just can't seem to read one book at a time. Look forward to hearing what you think about it!

Layla (aka Barbara) said...

Oh, I am definitely going to read this. It sounds like something I would love (I know what you mean about the Ophra thing). Thanks
!!!!!

rdl said...

my husband read this and said it was very dark, but i'm adding it to my list.

NoVA Dad said...

Layla and RDL: I hope you both enjoy it. Let me know what you think when you're finished.

Robert said...

I found you through laylas links I think I share an affinity for your kind of authors 1970s and back lol Buechner has always been one of my most favorite this book sounds like a treasure I look forward to reading more of your journey nova dad enjoy your weekend

NoVA Dad said...

Robert, thanks for dropping by; hope you'll come by often. We did have a great weekend with our parish family -- it was much needed! I'm glad to hear you like Buechner as well; I wish we could make it mandatory that everyone read at least one of his books.

susan said...

Will have to check it out--I have another one of his books (unread) on my shelf. Summer reading! First, though, I've got to get through the new Khaled Hosseini. Did you read _Kite Runner_ ?

NoVA Dad said...

Susan: I haven't read Kite Runner yet, but it's funny that you mention Hosseini. A friend of mine and I are going to a lecture and signing that he is having in Northern Virginia this Friday, and I'll probably pick up a copy of one or the other of them. I've heard he's an amazing writer, so I'm really looking forward to the event. What did you think of Kite Runner?

Lone Grasshopper said...

Okay, you asked for it: what I think of the book. I finished reading it about 2 weeks ago but have been waiting for my emotions to calm down. You can read it at my blog if you wish, but I have to warn you, I didn't feel the love as much as you did.

NoVA Dad said...

LG: I was reading your post just now when this comment came through; you can read what I thought of your post. I certainly appreciated hearing the different viewpoint that you had, and it will make a future re-read an entirely new experience with your thoughts in mind.