Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy was on the top of my TBR stack, so I read it yesterday. I enjoyed it, but I still don't understand what all the fuss was about. It's not like this story has never been written before, but to read the mainstream reviews you'd think this was the first time. The New York Review of Books claims it isn't science fiction at all, while other reviewers seem to suggest that science fiction is an excusable venture for McCarthy or that the book is only "sort of" a work of science fiction. It just reminds me too much of certain other authors' disdain for genre fiction, as if there were some difference of real substance between all literary fiction and all speculative literature. These authors and reviewers must not have read widely in either.

That said, it is a compelling book, easily read. It's a keeper, and I'm sure I'll re-read it. I'm going to shelve it with the rest of my sff books.

from the back of the book:
The searing,
postapocalyptic novel
destined to become
Cormac McCarthy's

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food — and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

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