Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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Book Stats from Goodreads:

Published September 26th 2006 by Knopf

Binding Hardcover - 241 pages

Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction (2006), The National Book Critics (2006)

ISBN: 0307265439    (isbn13: 9780307265432)

Mini Synopsis:

An unnamed man and his boy are faced with trying to survive on a post apocalyptic earth. The cause of this is alluded to but never fully explained. They are traveling on a road toward the coast in the futile hope of finding sustenance – food, clean water, life, and like minded companionship. Their world is ashen, and no other life exists except a few wandering survivors and bands of lawless thugs. Resources are scarce since it is apparently years after the actual event and most have been already used by the remaining survivors. As they struggle and travel theirs becomes a story of horror, familial love, sadness, and an almost impossible hope for survival.

My Thoughts:

I rated it unusually – it swings bluntly between 2.5 stars and 4.5 – on balance it it 3.5 stars.

For the highest rating of this swing I gave The Road, I can say It was incredible. I felt such strong emotions as I read this book. As I read I felt the loss, pain, and horror. It left an empty feeling deep in the pit of my stomach - very real. The writing flows and is broken up into small sections making it easier to digest since it has a heart wrenching effect. Most importantly, I found myself thinking about it as during the day.

The problem that I had with this book was that within the simple text and realistic dialog between son and father, there were little sections of which were impossible for me to understand. Small and short as they were - they appeared to be describing very intense emotions. I just did not “get these little bits”. Feeling a little dense - I even read them to my husband and he expressed the same perspective. (Because of this he probably will not read the book.)

In Summary I recommend this book, if you can overlook the parts that I am describing, or perhaps you will not notice them at all. I seldom give above a 4 star rating so parts of the book are exceptional.

On another positive note it is now out in paper back, should be available used at second hand stores everywhere, and not so hot off the press that  you can get it at your local library.

Amazon Purchasing information linked below respectively. US/UK/Canada

The Road (Oprah's Book Club)/ The Road/ The Road (Oprah's Book Club)

32 comments:

Charlie said...

You write such good reviews, Shellie.

McCarthy's books are a BIG fave on LibraryThing, but I've never read him. I think I'll give this one a go, even if I don't understand everything. (After reading 8 novels by William Faulkner, I know a lot about not knowing.)

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Charlie -
Thank you so much for the compliment. It means a lot, being so new to this.
I have not read anything by McCarthy before, and have read nothing by William Faulkner that I can remember.
I will be interested to know what you thing about this one. Its quiet short.

Missy said...

Great review, Shellie! I felt the same way about this book. I was very much drawn into the story, but there were parts that didn't sink in. I like it, but was confused by it, at times. This is the only book of his that I have read. I have The Crossing on my wish list on PBS.

Amanda said...

This was not my favorite. I didn't get very far.

logankstewart said...

Possible Spoiler:
There were parts I remember reading and uncertain of who was talking to whom, but most of the story I felt was told rather well. I agree that the book was fascinating and left me thinking about it during the day. I can still see the (POSSIBLE SPOILER PART)scene where they found the people in the shack/house/cellar, and it's still haunting to this day. An amazing book.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Missy - Thanks, and I am so glad you felt the same way as I did. I have a hard time with esoteric writing styles. I have not read anything by him before. But I did love the movie No Country for Old Men. It was excellent.
I think I will give him another try but which book...hmmm

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Amanda -
I hope your feeling better. :) What was it you did not like?
I gave it to John to read and he started it and just said this is not for me...

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Logan-
*Spoiler Alert*
I felt exactly the same way about that bit also the part about the fetus cooking on the spit - But if you really think about it that is what would probably happen... scary stuff. I put it under the horror catagory on my list on goodreads.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Charlie -
On the subject of Faulkner. I checked him out on goodreads. Looks like his writing is heavy as well. Which one would you recommend to me. I like dark, but esoteric does not work for me. :)

Lisa said...

This is actually my number 2 out of my top 5 books that I loved of ALL TIME. Your review was awesome. Once again, we have the same taste in books!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Lisa -
Thanks :). One of my friends on goodreads absolutely loved it as well. I'm a bit conflicted though as my rating suggests. I did enjoy it and would read something by McCormic again, parts of it I just had to skip over.
What is your number one?

Lezlie said...

My husband and I both LOVED this book. Have you read any other McCarthy novels? He's one of those authors who people seem to either love or hate. I'm in the "love" category, even though I don't always "get" him.

Lezlie

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Lezlie -
I'm in the I'm not sure stage with him. I really like what I read to make sense to me. If its too esoteric then I ditch the book. I have a thing about smart writers writing too smart. But I loved his movie.... we shall see :)

Rhiannon Hart said...

This one's been recommended by lots of people for my dystopia challenge, but it's also turned up on a few "books not to read" lists. If a copy serendipitously comes my way I might pick it up ... but I'm in no hurry. Great review!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Rhiannon,
Yes do... I would be interested to see what you think since you read so much of this sub genre. It is a short easy read if that helps any. Thanks for coming by.

Charley said...

Have you read Blood Meridian? I've read 3 McCarthy works - No Country for Old Men, The Road, and All the Pretty Horses - and I wasn't too bothered by the violence in those stories, but I can't stomach even the first 35 pages of Blood Meridian.

Krista said...

I have heard good and bad things about this book. I just don't know if my stomach could take it...LOL! You have a very good review here, though! Good job!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Charley - I have not read Blood Meridian, and this is my first McCarthy. The violence that I have read in the past - mind you I am not that well read did not bother me. I am a horror fan. I will definitely have to take a look at Blood Meridian.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Krista -
Thank you.:) It really is a good book and it is horrific, but he is not too graphic just slight images left to embed into your brain as you go about your day....;)

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

Wasn't there a movie about this with Mel Gibson...(grin!)

Very good review, Shelli - but I gotta tell ya, I can't stand McCarthy...I think he's pompous and selfish as a writer. But that's my 2 cents worth.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Sharon -
I can see where you would think that hes a megalomaniac with his little esoteric descriptive bits....I don't know much about him so I will not say any more. Thanks for the comment its good to have some balance of opinion here since I did sway quite a bit on my rating.

Lisa said...

Hey Shellie, my number one book of all time for the past few years is Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. LOVED it! How about you?

Lisa said...

Oh, and P.S., I have an award for you, hope you like it!
http://bookblabbing.blogspot.com/2009/08/lets-be-friends-award-awwww-shucks.html

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Lisa -
Thanks you, and you are too sweet. I will have one for you soon. I have a huge post of them that I have not gotten around to yet...:)
My favorite book of all time would be a tie between 3 books: My Antonia by Willa Cather, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and Memoirs of a Geisha by Author Golden... I had a huge reading hiatus for a bunch of years so am behind on classics, and would be reluctant to try anything by Tolstoy.
Thanks for your comments!

Kerri said...

This has been on my TBR pile for some time. I just can't seem to get around to it.

I also have an award for you. You can pick it up here!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Keri-
Thanks for stopping by and another award how wonderful. I will have this amazingly long post some time soon and you should expect one coming soon too.
As for this book - be in the mood for dark. :)

Sarah G said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I haven't read The Road, but it's on my shelf. After not making it through No Country for Old Men, I don't know if I could take any more of McCarthy's writing style!

Rhiannon Hart said...

Short and easy? Ok you convinced me! Shall reserve at the library and read before the film comes out.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Sarah - Yes I loved your new office a couple of weeks ago... so very nice.
As for McCarthy - I have my reservations as well. I will try another of his when I have a free reading moment...(not happening soon.)It is a short and easy read if you can get beyond the esoteric bit.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Rhiannon -
I hate watching movies before I read the books... so I get what your saying. That's part of the reason why I have not read Dune, or The Lord of the Ring. You know if it does not work you can always "ditch it", and the library is free no real commitment. Yeah!
It will be interesting to see what you think about it.
I will have to say that I have not gotten as many responses for any other post than this one. Very interesting....

Okie said...

Thanks for a great review. I've heard that this was a good book and I hope to read it sometime sooner than later.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Okie -
Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment. You also have a new reader too. :)

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