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The Road - Cormac McCarthy

anima9anima9 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
On April 16, 2007, the novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It also won the 2006 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, and was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. It was named book of the decade by The Times.

I want to read it but I fear it may be just some old post-apocalyptic book since there's a movie coming out inspired by this.

I was just wondering if this is really a very good read. It had awards and merits but I really need a reader to convince me.

Comments

  • EnosEnos PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    i was bored the first time i read it.
    there's 5 paragraphs about opening a can for chrissake!

    but i read it again, really read the words.
    and i dunno, i liked it the 2nd time.

    it's not the best book ever,
    (but then again, i think books with level 99 barbarians raping children are the best books ever)
    but some people i know and respect say this is the best book they've read last decade.
    (mostly people i know in other forums, book forums)

    sabi din nila, you'll 'connect' with it more once you're a father.
    some dads can't read it lol, says it's too depressing.

    anyway, it's a short book, you can finish it in 1 day if you want to.
    and it's cheap, it was under P300 when i bought it. :D
  • It currently costs P350.

    It's a good read, and that's all I have to say.
  • EnosEnos PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    and to add.

    there's not much plot or action in it unlike other post-apocalypseZZ.
    some will say none at all.

    this is just a simple story of a father protecting his son.
    finding hope and purpose where there is none.
    parang parable! :lol:

    it is a 'reflection' book.
  • rationalrational PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    It's a good book. At first you think it's just another post-Apocalpyse struggle but the writing is great and the ending is very rewarding.
  • Was hesitant at first to purchase it. I thought "Jeeez, another post-apocalypse book".

    Ganda yung book. The way it was written is something. Tska fresh yung angulo niya sa tema.
  • riAbabyriAbaby PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    finished reading the book some days ago. i liked it.

    oh, and it has a movie too which stars viggo mortensen. i saw the movie some months ago and liked it as well. ganung-ganun sa book as i have imagined it.
  • It allowed cormac mccarthy to win a pulitzer prize..I think that pretty much makes it a worthwhile reading..I hope..
  • anima9anima9 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    I'm not a fan of post-apocalyptic genres kasi. I'm more of the future utopia genre. Besides, ilang beses na bang sinira ang mundo compared sa ilang beses nang gumanda ito? :lol:

    Pero sige, try ko sya. Sana lang di ako magaaksaya ng pera.
  • To each his own then..

    I think the setting is post-apocalyptic but I suppose that's not the
    only point of the book..its a depressing book if I may add..
  • rationalrational PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Was going to comment on Prokopyo's comment pero spoiler nga pala. Ganito na lang, I disagree... partially. :D
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Cormac McCarthy is the best writer alive today, bar none. He ranks next to Shakespeare, James Joyce, and William Faulkner. If I were to rank his books, it would be:

    Blood Meridian
    All the Pretty Horses
    The Road
    The Crossing

    His genre is Southern literature, but he took liberties in The Road because of the apocalyptic setup. His language is so beautiful, sparse, and poetic. Here are some sample lines:

    If he is not the word of God: God never spoke.

    You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else.

    There is no God and we are his prophets.

    My goal this year is to order other books from Amazon.
  • EnosEnos PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    bambi7 wrote: »
    Cormac McCarthy is the best writer alive today, bar none. He ranks next to Shakespeare, James Joyce, and William Faulkner.

    o yan Anima, not convinced yet? :lol:

    rational wrote: »
    Was going to comment on Prokopyo's comment pero spoiler nga pala. Ganito na lang, I disagree... partially. :D

    so you don't think it's depressing?
    some people died reading this, ha! just kidding..

    anyway, nakakaaliw din basahin reaction nang iba after reading it.
    some didn't want to go to work and went staring at clouds, breathing fresh air, experiencing life.
    some just went completely blank and did nothing for several minutes. stunned.
    some parents hugged their children, watched them sleep, was thankful, that sort of *****.
    ako, personally, I wanted a coke! lol...

    anima9 wrote: »
    I'm not a fan of post-apocalyptic genres kasi. I'm more of the future utopia genre. Besides, ilang beses na bang sinira ang mundo compared sa ilang beses nang gumanda ito? :lol:

    Pero sige, try ko sya. Sana lang di ako magaaksaya ng pera.

    as the others said above, it's not about the 'post-apocalypse', it's just there to set the mood.
    the source of the apoc is not even mentioned in the book, really.
    Mccarthy could have placed it in some modern or past war-torn, lawless land and it would still have worked.
  • anima9anima9 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Bambi's a twilight lover so I guess she really digs books.

    Thanks guys! 8) This be my first Post-apocalyptic book :lol:
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    anima9 wrote: »
    Bambi's a twilight lover so I guess she really digs books.

    Oh lol. Twilight's my guilty pleasure (a way to tap into my youth) but it's in no way a reflection of my literary tastes. ;)

    Btw, The Road is not post-apocalyptic, at least not to me. It's more than that. The setting is post-apocalyptic but it's actually a long allegory about man and his sense of spirituality.
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    If there's one thing that I should tell you about The Road, it's that nothing in that book is random. Every line, every verse, every object is a symbolism. A regular reader won't catch that if he reads through it in a linear way. Most of these objects have been mentioned in his earlier works.

    Some examples:

    1. The old man named Eli. Natural intuition would lead you to conclude that McCarthy is referring to Elijah, the prophet that's been promised in the Bible to return on the last days. And it's no coincidence that McCarthy said "breath of God was his breath yet thought it pass from man to man through all of time" in the latter part of the book. In the Bible, Elijah has a strong affinity with "breath" or "wind". God always revealed himself to Elijah as a thunderous wind. So Eli being Elijah is a probable theory.

    BUT, there is also a possibility that McCarthy is actually referring to Buddha. He described the old man as "sitting like a starved and threadbare buddha". I can't find the passage but as far as I can remember, he described Eli as a man sitting with one hand on a leg which strongly describes the common statue image of buddha.

    BUT then again, Eli said the line, "There is no God and we are his prophets" which is an echo of a Quran verse "There is no God but Allah, and Mohamed is his prophet".

    So as you can see, there are so many metaphors that McCarthy uses in his language. And you can't see them if you're only skimming the surface.

    2. The road. The road is also a familiar setting that McCarthy used in All the Pretty Horses when John Grady traveled to Mexico. It is also southward, with similar painful episodes along the way. Btw, you should watch All the Pretty Horses starring Matt Damon. It pales in comparison to the book but it gives you a feel of what McCarthy's genre really is.

    3. In many ways, The Road is closer to No Country for Old Men than in any of his other books. Take this quote fro No Country for Old Men for example:

    "And in the dream I knew that he was goin on ahead and that he was fixin to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up."

    In The Road, the man constantly lights a fire in the dark and then proceeds to dream. This is an echo of that above quote which McCarthy wrote in No Country for Old Men. So there's brilliance in the way his works are interconnected.

    Btw, McCarthy got the title No Country for Old Men from the poem of William Butler Yeats entitled "Sailing to Byzantium". In that poem, Yeats wrote:

    That is no country for old men. The young
    In one another's arms, birds in the trees
    —Those dying generations—at their song,
    The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas...

    The salmon and mackerel in Yeats' poem are a reflection of what McCarthy wrote in the last paragraph of The Road:

    "Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patters that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    One thing that really intrigues me is the significance of 1:17 in McCarthy's works.

    In The Road, there's a line that goes, "The clocks stopped at 1:17."

    In No Country for Old Men he wrote, "The green diode numerals on the radio put the time at 1:17."

    I think he also mentioned 1:17 in his other works.

    Oprah asked him about this but he declined giving any explanation. Really intriguing...
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Oh, there's one more. lol

    In most of his works, he always portrays women as cold-hearted and detached. In All the Pretty Horses, Alejandra broke John Grady's heart when she decided to succumb to her aunt's wishes to leave him.

    In The Road, the woman committed suicide despite the man's constant pleading not to. McCarthy wrote, "And the coldness of it was her final gift..."

    Take note that McCarthy has had three wives, two of which divorced him.

    I don't like my literary tastes being questioned, Anima. It brings out the geek in me.:lol:
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Here are some of McCarthy's accolades:

    The Road (2006) - Pulitzer Prize

    All the Pretty Horses (1992) - National Book Award/National Book Critics Circle Award

    Blood Meridian (1985) - ranked runner-up in New York Times' Best Fictions in the last 25 years
    - one of Time magazine's 100 best English books of all time


    McCarthy is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, also dubbed as the Genius Award.
  • bambi7bambi7 PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    I got some juicy stuff from another forum:lol:

    Before the father died, he and his son ate morel mushrooms. It's quite a surprise that there are still mushrooms in a world where everything seemed to have died. It could signify a rebirth.

    And as I've said in my post above, there was a mention of brook trouts at the last paragraph.

    If you look at the back of a trout, it is very identical to the surface of morel mushrooms. Take a look at these pictures:

    brookTrout2.jpg

    morel.jpg

    See? This is what I mean by everything in McCarthy's works having a purpose. He handles it with such subtlety that it's not easy to spot them. As I've said, nothing in his prose is random.

    Let me quote that paragraph again:


    "Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patters that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
  • anima9anima9 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    wow. i'm not reading all that :lol: spoilers might kill the book for me.

    with what i read on your two replies:

    1. I didn't say that Twilight reflects your literary taste. I just thought it must really take a lot to read a book like Twilight. I mean, I'm not a fan of any Twilight-ish book. I read the first few chapters and I got bored :lol:

    2. I'm also into hidden symbols and subtle/hidden messages. I'm an occult fan of the things hidden in plain sight. I've read Dan Brown's Langdon series and his references (Holy Blood, Holy Grail; The Messianic Legacy; The Temple and The Lodge) and other books like Dante's Divine Comedy. The fact that you said the book has lots of religious and spiritual references makes me want to buy it even more! :)
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