‘The Road’ was taken!

I don’t write book reviews. I mean, unless you’re a book reviewer, who would actually spend time writing reviews of other people’s work, especially if you’ve begun the process of creating your own? However, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by because when you’re moved – you’re moved; I’m going to stop writing and start writing (Get it? Ok then…). Today, I write a review of a book. Not just any book, mind you but one that has invoked inspiration, not only as a reader but as a writer.
The title of this book is THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy. In an earlier posting on DRAMABLOG, I discussed his interview with Oprah Winfrey. It was immediate and it was quick – I liked him. I liked his style and was taken with his ‘old charm.’ I must say that Mr. McCarthy most definitely caught me off guard.

I knew very little of him as a novelist, and even less about him as a person. The fact that he’s only done two print interviews in his lifetime is quite the oddity in itself. Couple that with the fact that he has never, ever appeared on television, well, that’s mind numbing. What about the fame? What about the attention? What about the me, me, me mentality of everyone, everywhere, with everything in every situation? Yeah, uh… not with this cat! I really and truly developed a healthy respect for Mr. McCarthy after seeing him interviewed. Of course, with Oprah, even though she has the interview of a lifetime, she makes it all about her, interrupting, the mic’d “Uh-Huh’ agreements that MUST be thrown in to affirm her knowledge of any and all subjects, even though was talking about Physics. Oprah is just…Oprah. She needs the attention. We all do but sometimes you just have to know when to let the other person have the floor.

He’s a very peculiar person-a very odd but intellectual man, I believe. He spends a great deal of his time at the Santa Fe Institute in Arizona. It’s here that many great minds get together to contemplate different thoughts, different philosophies, and different ways to approach things. McCarthy says that he likes coming to the Sante Fe Institute because there are a lot of bright people there who have a lot of bright things to say. My God if I could for just a week…anyway, I digress! It is here that Mr. McCarthy fits in perfectly. Further along in the interview, he talks about his main goal in life – not working. He simply doesn’t want to work and he has spent his whole life working toward that goal, working at not working. He mentions that he’s no afflicted artist who feels the anguish of his creations, his art. With that said, there’s no affectivity aroused from his art either. He’s just a writer who’s trying to understand his place in the world, as clichΓ© as that sounds. Pulitzer Prize or not, he remains steadfast in who he is, but not so much as to be incapable of changing that mindset.

Last night, it was my mindset that was forced to change. I came to the end of THE ROAD. I must say, this book was truly, truly a great thing- for me, a wonderful experience. Never before have I had the written word bring me to such an emotional state quite like this book. To be honest, I’m not actually sure what it was that did it. The writing style, the structure with which this book was written is foreign to me. Strike that-his style WAS foreign to me but no longer. I’ve actually emulated him a great deal recently in my own writings and in my own different works. Trying to think like him, attempting to write like him, getting inside the head of someone like him has been fairly difficult… but I’m making progress!! πŸ™‚

McCarthy goes on to say that he doesn’t think that interviews are good for your head. Also, when he was a kid he used to write, but when he was a teenager he did not do much of anything. He says that passion is a pretty fancy word. He likes what he does. He thinks that sometimes writing is difficult. You always have the vision of the perfect thing of which you can never achieve. But you never stop trying to achieve it. He thinks you have this interior image of something that is absolutely perfect. He thinks that this is your signpost, your guide. He thinks you will never get there; but without it..you will not get anywhere.

THE ROAD tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world, one without cause and one without solution. It is simply a story about a man and a boy and their journey together. I’ve heard it described as a love story between a man and his son… and I’m good with that. Actually, I’m really good with that. That explanation is very simple but is quite comprehensive in its description. It is a love story-it is about a man-it is about a boy. However, it is so much more than that!

This atmosphere he describes in this novel is putrid, dank, and saturated with rot. The way he describes this landscape is beautiful, descriptive, and poetic. How can that be? How does he do this? I’m not really sure, and if I were, or if one day I were to become sure, perhaps my name will accompany his as a Pulitzer Prize winner. For now, I’m just not sure. He’s just a master of his art and he takes a great deal of pride in the fact that he has no inhibitions, no concerns, and no real care as to whether or not anyone buys his book or even likes it, for that matter. He sat down in front of a typewriter and decided to write a masterpiece… and that’s what he did. Here’s another complement for Mr. McCarthy – I could read this book again. For no other reason than the wondrous way in which it was written, I could indeed read this book again.

Each page meticulously describes an unfamiliar, and truly dark world in a complex and detailed way, yet remains quite straightforward in delivery and unmistakable in the depiction of what the characters encounter throughout their journey. And that’s what this was, a journey, a trip through time, an exposΓ© of another man’s mind delineated on paper revealing a great affection and patience, not only for the characters but for their miserable surroundings, as well.

THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy is one of those books that forces you to put it down with but a few chapters remaining. If you are a true lover of books and stories, you understand this frame of mind, what kind of book does this and why. If you are not someone who can allow themselves to become entranced by the thoughts and words of another person, then let me explain-

You do not want the story to end!!

Great book!Β This was one of those stories; this was one of those books. I still hate the fact that so many great stories force me to say goodbye – say farewell to the enchanting characters, to the mesmeric worlds in which they live, and to my own bewitched state, a mindset that produces great joy but one which starts the fading away process the moment the final page flips from right to left.
great joy but still one which begins to fade away as the final page flips from right to left.

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Posted on June 20, 2007, in Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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