Thursday, August 02, 2007

Best Book of Wednesday

Book the Third: The Road by Cormac McArthy

I bought this one in Australia so I didn’t know it was in Oprah’s Book Club when I got it. Or that it won the Pulitzer. (Query: Which honor is higher?) I did know it was about a father and son traveling through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but for some reason I envisioned an older man and his son driving through the desert and listening to the radio.

That is NOT what this book is like.

It’s a brisk read and a bleak read but pretty much a great read that, at the very least, serves as a perfect example of every Creative Writing teacher's admonishion to "show, not tell." The cumulating repetition of details reminded me of Hemingway’s Big Tow-Hearted River (but with less pancakes and more cannibalism). All in all, one of the finest retellings of the Mad Max myth I’ve encountered this year. Or last.

1 comment:

Michael J Lemmon said...

I kept thinking that it reminded me of The Old Man And The Sea in its uniformity of setting and plot, with small jazzy bits thrown in here and there. It was really great, but I sort of missed all the Mexican philosophical ramblings that were so frequent in his Border Trilogy. In fact, I know this is indulgent, but I'm going to quote:

      "En este viaje el mundo visible es no mas que un distraimiento. Para los ciegos y para todos los hombres. Ultimamente sabemos que no podemos ver el buen Dios. Vamos escuchando. Me entiendes, joven? Debemos escuchar.
      "... When the boy asked him if this knowledge were a special knowledge only to the blind the blind man said that it was not. He said that most men were in their lives like the carpenter whose work went so slowly for the dullness of his tools that he had not time to sharpen them."

Related news: Coen Bros. are making No Country For Old Men My favorite author and my favorite sibling filmmaker duo, together at last!