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Topic: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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Subject: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2009
Posts: 186
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Has anyone else read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? I just finished it and loved it. His writing style was really different - a refreshing change - and it did take some getting used to at first. However, his language was really vivid, and I felt drawn into the story immediately. I loved the character of the little boy - I felt his intense fear at the world around him.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the ending, though. I was pretty skeptical that the man trying to help the little boy was truly a "good guy". Any thoughts about the ending?

Also, it looks like they're making The Road into a movie with Viggo Mortensen and Guy Pearce. Should be interesting.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 9:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,790
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DH & I read this a couple of months ago.  I liked it, he didn't like it as much.  I actually went & did a search of the forums here to see what people thought about it.  Some people didn't like how McCarthy didn't explain the event that caused the world to be that way, but I didn't think it necessary.   I also found it interesting that people pointed out that their names weren't used in the book.  The man and the boy was the only explanation needed.  Yeah, there was a lot of creative writing in that book.  I thought the ending was ok.  There really wasn't any way to make it a happy ending.  I plan on seeing the movie.  I know they're going to have to add more to drag it out to 2 hours or so, but I'm hoping the main story won't change.  Charlize Theron is going to play the mom so I think they'll probably have more flashbacks or a backstory for her.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I usually enjoy Cormac McCarthy but I hated The Road.  It was never clear why they were doing any of the things they did, why they were trying to reach the sea and the father and son basically had the same conversation over and over and over.  I was really annoyed that a book that came so highly recommended turned out to be so flat and tedious.

Date Posted: 7/26/2009 6:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/20/2007
Posts: 1,680
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I don't enjoy Cormac McCarthy because he doesn't use quotes.  His writing drives me crazy.   I did enjoy "The Road" but I couldn't get through "No Country for Old Men".  I then decided he's just not the author for me.

Date Posted: 7/27/2009 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2005
Posts: 1,807
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The book seemed quite dull for a while - I could almost taste the grit and ash in my mouth. I wasn't sure I could handle a book that plodded along like that the whole time. Not that I'm necessarily a scare/gore freak, but it finally reached a point (a somewhat shocking scene to imagine in your head) where I thought "okay, I can deal with this". Ultimately, I'd give it thumbs up.

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 9:43 AM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2008
Posts: 35
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Love, love, love McCarthy!  I think he is just brilliant . . . very William Faulkner-y at times . . . overall, just amazing.

His Opus Magnum though really is BLOOD MERIDIAN which is possibly the best thing he has written. A heads up, it's exceedingly violent.  he really explores the evil that man is capable of. Doesnt sound for enjoyable reading, but if can handle it, he creats some wonderful images through out the story. He finds - or tries to find - beauty in everything.

Feh. Hard to explain. I just really enjoyed it. Especially the ending, where when I finished it, I went. "wow."  And then 10 minutes later, I went, "WOW!" and then 2 hours later, I go, "Hmm, I have to read that again! And I grab the book, and re-read the final 30 pages and then I go, "WOWWWWWWWWW!"

Anyhoo. Not for everyone.  THE ROAD is much more accesible to a wider audience I think.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE ROAD and can't wait for the movie. I plan to read THE ROAD again prior to seeing the movie. I hear that the movie expands a lot of the storyline, having the mother/wife character in there in numerous flashbacks, fleshing out what really happened to her. 


Date Posted: 8/12/2009 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2009
Posts: 6
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While I thought this book was interesting (read it in one sitting, but was working as a receptionist on a slow day), I felt that, like Lord of the Flies, it indicated a portrait of "man's nature" that was not necessarily accurate (this isn't the word that I really want, but my vocabulary is failing me). While I love a good apolocalyptic narrative, I refuse to believe that a) all women will be annihilated via rape or disease b) people are inherently evil and without a police force we'd become brainless murders with few exceptions c) people will survive where ALL animal life is destroyed. I understand that it's a story and that all of those are plot devices, but they are devices that detract from my ability to empathize with the characters.

As for the need to reach the sea, that makes sense as the ocean is one of literatures symbols for life, hope, and eternity. The characters allude to that, and acknowledge that the level of hope may be futile.

Was the "good guy" at the end really good? Who knows? For me, he is symbolic of the boy (who is to some degree the last of the future of the race along with any other children) having no path and needing to follow someone. He is not capable of facing what is left of the world, which provides a dark vision of the Earth's last days.

I think that the book tried really hard to be deep, but was a bit over the top. For a better novel about the end of the world, try a Canticle for Leibowitz. That book is brilliant!

Date Posted: 8/12/2009 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2007
Posts: 38
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I loved it. I also read it at one sitting and thought it was disturbing, but also very frank and at times touching. "As for the need to reach the sea, that makes sense as the ocean is one of literatures symbols for life, hope, and eternity. The characters allude to that, and acknowledge that the level of hope may be futile." I agree with this, but I also thought they were looking for the sea in hopes that the climate would be more temperate.

I just really enjoyed the struggle, and rejoiced a little everytime they found food. My favorite part was in the shelter. It is really stirring to imagine that a child wouldn't recognize the basic luxuries people put in their fallout shelters. It reminds me of an episode of "band of brothers" when the paratroopers give chocolate to 5 yo dutch kid and his father says its the first time he's tasted chocolate and his little face is just rapturous!

I thought the style was easier than say, a Jane Austen novel, which I always struggle through but love when I've finished.

I don't know about the movie. after reading the book, movies always disappoint me.

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 2:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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For more discussion, check back through earlier topics; this book has inspired LOTS of debate over the last couple years.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 3,272
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I dislike Cormac McCarthy and his writing style but this is the one book that I read by him and enjoyed so much so that it is a keeper.

I read No Country for Old Men, really didn't like and as for Blood Meridian, I couldn't get past page 80. 


Date Posted: 8/24/2009 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2006
Posts: 28
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I actually loved "The Road"!  I did not mind not knowing all the details because I personally like stories that scare you with what is implied. For example, the theme of canibalism is implied all throughout "The Road" which made this book extremely tense and exciting (To me, at least).

I agree that I felt the people at the end were not necessarily "good guys", but the book wouldn't have made any sense if it ended like they came to the South and found everything all peachy great once more.

In general, Cormac McCarthy's writing style is terse and fragmented. It kind of sounds like grunt-speak. But it all seems to fit into his books- afterall, he isn't trying to write love stories!