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Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Reason for Reading: IRL Bookclub
Rating: 2.5/5

The plot: A father and son struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. 10 years in, there is nothing growing, no animals living, and food is almost impossible to find.

The pros: The relationship between the unnamed father and son is very vivid, touching, and propels the book forward. The young son was wise beyond his years, and yet still maintains innocence despite the harrowing situation they live with. A frequent theme of the book is the discussion the boy has with his father as he struggles to understand who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are, and which side the two of them fall on.

The cons: Written without much punctuation or chapter breaks, this book's styling was more distracting to me than anything. The writing is also very spare. Lots of ink is spent describing what the characters do, with the analysis left up to the reader. I have to mention that there are some very disturbing parts in this book, so do not read right before bed (those of you who have read this already can imagine the nightmares I had the night I made this mistake).

And I don't know whether to call this a pro or a con, but this was an emotionally exhausting book to read. The relentlessness of the devastation visited upon the planet never seems to end.

Should I read it? If you enjoy character-driven novels and don't find avante garde punctuation distracting, yes.


Bookfool said...

Oh, ish. I hate avant-garde punctuation. And, I'm prone to nightmares.

Rhinoa said...

This is the first negative review I have seen of this book which is interesting. If I read it I will bear your comments in mind and read only during the daylight hours :)

mariel said...

I've heard negative comments about the punctuation before. Could get annoying, but I like the premise. On my list for this year. maybe you'll enjoy the film more?

Lezlie said...

All of his books that I've read have been in that style. It take a little getting used to, that's for sure. I loved this book, and thought long and hard about afterwards.


Andi said...

Sorry you didn't like this one so much. The punctuation (or lack) bothered me at first, but I got so into the story that I forgot all about it. It was an emotional wreck for sure, but I found it oddly hopeful.

Debi said...

Well, I definitely plan on reading this one, but I'm afraid that whole punctuation thing is going to bug the hell out of me!

Alice Teh said...

Hi Kim, I like the book. I think the punctuation style has got something to do with the premise of the story. It bugged me in the beginning but then I got the hang of it and decided to overlook it.

samantha.1020 said...

I haven't had a chance to read this one and probably will at some point. I'm a bit nervous to read it as I've heard many different things about it.

Melody said...

I thought this is a powerful read, Kim. The lack of punctuations annoyed me, but I'd say it fits the atmosphere of the story.

Trish said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this one better. It is tough and the style is tough (is this your first McCarthy?). And very nightmarish--can't imagine seeing the movie! How was your book club reception of the book?