Cormac McCarthy – The Road

Back in the day, pre-Loaded there was a vague attempt to relaunch many male magazines (most of which are still with us) in the same fashion as they were sold in the States. TBH, I only ever picked any copies of these when they gave away a free paperback. Some were crap, some were great. Leaning towards the latter was Cormac McCarthy‘s All The Pretty Horses. A book that it took me ages to get into, but one I did I was swept away by it. Since then, I have picked up various other books of his (including the rest of the trilogy that …Horses is a part of). But, for some reason, never really felt inclined to pick up and open any of them.

So, it seems strange that I should feel attracted to his latest novel The Road while wandering through the book shop in Stanstead Airport desperate for something to fill the hours. (Oh alright, I’ll admit that someone did say they thought it’d be right up my street. That didn’t fully sell me on it, though.)

The story follows an unnamed man and his son as the walk, with all their necessary belongings in a shopping trolley, south in the hope of surviving the winter in a post-catastrophe landscape. And, that’s it. With prose as sparse as their landscape, it is a bleak lyrical journey. It is also one of the most beautifully desolate things I’ve ever read. Never, will simple phrases I know, It’s alright, okay be quite so heartbreaking. I was on the verge of tears from start to finish. Christ knows what this must be like if you are actually a parent. Astounding and stunning (in the truest sense of the words).

After Ian McEwan‘s Saturday, the second great work of literature this century. I don’t think that’s hyperbole.

Maybe time to revisit the others…


Written by Tony Kiernan

21 November 2006 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Stuff & nonsense

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