When I saw this book reviewed on Oprah, and her interview with the author, I was intrigued enough to want to read it. Until I got it on Audible, however, I just didn't have time.
Now I've listened to it, and even though the narrator is absolutely fantastic and the story relatively moving, I honestly felt like the author spent more time droning on and on using adjectives and adverbs which just didn't fit the nouns and verbs they were modifying.
To make things worse, McCarthy apparently doesn't feel the need to name his main characters, which is fine, I suppose, though I am more likely to care about a character that I can name, rather than "the man" or "the boy" over and over ad nauseam. Add to that the fact that he NEVER once distinguishes between "the man" = main character, and "the man" = various random encounter whilst on the road, and we have momentary contextual confusion as our brains try to sort out just which "the man" is doing or saying a thing. Even when there is no pointless third person, there are moments when the pronoun "he" is used without clarification of whether "he" is the man or the boy.
This was my first experience with Oprah's book list, and I have to say I'm disappointed, but not surprised. McCarthy has written a novel swallowed up by the "intellectual elite", which is to say he's an emperor in new clothes, and if we can't see them, we must be silly fools, though I'd be surprised if many of the people who laud this book really truly cared about it at all beyond earning the right to say "Why, yes, I read that masterpiece!".
Summary: Great narration. Decent character development. Vivid, though occasionally obscure descriptions. Gruesome, ghastly, and occasionally depressing - which, considering the setting, fit very well. Once you get past the author patting himself on the back for having a huge vocabulary (aka access to a thesaurus) it becomes easy to get lost in this sad world with these two lonesome drifters.
Not sure how many times those words appeared in this book, usually as answers to the very questions that you would expect to be revealed in a post-apocalyptic novel. The dialogue was stilted for reasons like this, most exchanges between the man and the boy being single sentences, circular, repetative, and unfulfilling to the overall arc of the story. The story is literally going somewhere since the characters are literally always moving down the road. But that seems to be it, things happen but they don't every seem to have any sort of meaning. I think that is why some people like it, and I guess that is the point. As for me, I can handle dark (and it is very dark) and I can handle profound ideas that take time to develop and unfold. But in this case, I think people just expect it to be there, and marvel at it for that reason alone.
It is also important to note that I don't believe this book lends itself very well to audio. However, I think it would adapt well to the screen so maybe the movie will be very successful.
With so many "dark" stories (books and movies) out there in the world, I was unprepared for one that would really be DARK. I deeply regret listening to this book. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, and more than a year after listening to this book it still haunts me. I need to remind myself that the premise of the book is illogical, ingenerous and improbable. I wish mightily that someone had adequately warned me before I bought this book about the images that I was about to permanently put into my head. So consider yourself warned.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
At some times this was a disturbing book, and I wanted to stop listening. But I couldn't. This book will stay with you long after you listen.
I find it difficult to rate this book by Cormac McCarthy as throughout I was waiting for the development that never happened. Having said that however it was for some inexplicable reason compelling.
This book was amazing. I now wish I had read it instead of listening, just so it would last longer. It was dark and disturbing for sure, but I can honestly say this is one of the best books I have read in years.
I don't understand the hype about this book. It was extremely difficult to get through. I started listening to this book several months ago and only got through an hour before giving up on it. Then I found out that it was an "Oprah's Book Club" selection, so I decided to give it another listen. It was just as I had remembered. Dull, with no plot. A man and a boy wandering. What is their purpose? Where are they going? If you have kids, you know how they like to ask annoying questions and whine. And that's all this boy does the entire book. "Where are we going? Are they the bad guys? What are we going to eat? I'm cold. Why can't I come with you?" Please use your money to get another audio book from this site. There are plenty of fine ones.
This may be one of the best books written in the past 30 years. You have the good the bad and the evil. Good is close, touching and very personal. Bad is not all that bad, just uncomfortable. Evil is as bad as it gets. A must read/listen.
A view like many of the post apocalyptic novels of the past, but seeming more real. With a full measure of despair I was pleased to finally have a Josh Logan ending with a glimmer of hope for mankind in the end. It is a thought provoking read.