We interrupt 'The Character Assassination of William Moulton Marston by the Coward Darren Maher' to give you a book review:
A while ago, I went to The very wonderful Moviedrome to rent me the flick called 'The Road'. Which I had a hazy notion of as a 'post-apocalyptic something or another'...
I love Moviedrome, and think of it as one of the reasons I even live in this town but I've been avoiding it of late (for similar reasons that 'Rick' from 'Casablanca' might have continued to avoid Paris even after the war).
Long story long,-it was out (I think I got 'Kick-ass' that night instead) but because it was out, I made the internal decision; "D'you know what? - I think I'll read the book first". And so some time last week I was in O'Mahony's searchin' out the volume.
I don't like cover blurb, and as a general rule I don't read it until I've seen the thing; but I do like a well-designed front cover. My copy of The Road lost instant points on this score. I bought 'One Day' a while ago (not bad) and was majorly irritated by the first two pages, which were crammed with emboldened and enlarged 'OMG this book is SO Cool!' type-comments.
The cover of my copy of 'The Road' is entirely text: the author's name, the title, and then "A WORK OF SUCH TERRIBLE BEAUTY THAT YOU WILL STRUGGLE TO LOOK AWAY -the Times" and that's it.
This is what the cover is:
I actually put it back on the shelf and picked it up again twice before resigning to myself to the fact that even though I could never get the cover out of my mind, that these things happen, and once I got into the book, the cover would fade from memory with every page. So I bought it.
But the cover was still on my mind so I couldn't really read it right away.
Yesterday, disillusioned with the flicky-screen-typer and all things related, I figured I'd save on the heating bill if I ensconced myself under the duvet and gave it ago.
Not a good idea.
I have a piece of advice now;- which is tantamount to blurb and spoiler in its own way but the book and film are both out a while now so I hope not to infect anyone's brain too badly. I feel I must say it, out of fairness to Mr McCarthy and my reaction to his creation,that if you are having a grim, all the-bills-came-in-at-the-same-time week, and your newly-re-found addiction to cigarettes, penchant for Shakespearean theatre and desire to buy a daycent book, has left you with a less than adequate food budget; if your days have become so entirely without structure that you've evolved a sleeping pattern that does not necessarily involve much daylight; if you feel isolated and alone in a Godless universe, and all you can see around you is a planet in decay and a system that cannot save it: then , perhaps 'The Road' is not the book for you.
Now, it is good and I do recommend it under other circumstances. It's nice, it's quiet, it 'feels true'. Mr McCarthy does tend to use a little-used word every now and then, :'Canebrake' 'harrowtroughs' 'palladian' 'clerestory' 'cakebell' 'hasp' 'palimpsest' 'isocline' 'haspstaple' 'soffits' 'kerfs' 'rachitic' -( I just had a quick flick back through the pages and picked out words that I don't know right now) but that's part of the power of the thing.
Just on words; the dialogue is sparse and never placed in "inverted commas" which suits the 'bare bones' feeling of the story, but one exchange that I personally found didn't scan, was when the dislocated and and dispossessed boy (who has no concept of where Mars is, or what 'the crow flies' means, or what a train sounds like,) arrives at the sea, which he's never seen and later comments to his father: " I couldn't hear you. I couldn't hear you because of the surf"
Which made me think: "How come he knows what 'Surf' is?"
Okay I found that bit now, and upon reflection it could be what the father says to son. This is why inverted commas are handy.
Anyhoo, there's my ten cents 'orth on 'The Road'. I wont say I enjoyed it, and it's possible I'm just too ignorant to appreciate it. It made me feel two things: hungry, and distrustful of strangers.
At no time did I struggle to look away.
Fathercrow has referred to an alternative cover in his comment,
this is the one he's talking about: