In the world of literature, Cormac McCarthy is a God among men. Unfortunately, his name isn't exactly as popular as it ought to be. Here is a man who lives his life at the pool where we all go to find our words, and yet this last week was the first time I'd ever heard of him and it took considerable searching to find a book by him that I was willing to take a chance on. I'm disappointed (and terribly so) that I haven't read more of his books, but we'll get there, I assure you. The Road, McCarthy's latest book, takes place in a post mass-destruction event (Nuclear War, perhaps? McCarthy never elaborates, and it doesn't seem terribly necessary) era, and it focuses on a father and son who realize as winter is coming on that despite the father's ongoing illness, they have to travel south to the warmer coast, where the "father" (I keep calling him that, because McCarthy never actually names him in the book) hopes to find more food and warmer weather. I know, reading my own description of the book's premise now, that it doesn't sound terribly interesting, but look, I'm begging you. Buy the book. Just buy it. Buy it on audio tape (my personal favorite way to devour a good book. The right narrator can make all the difference, as it does in this book). Look, one knows subconsciously that we've heard every word that will be used in a book before we ever pick it up. It's the mastery of putting those words together in such a way that makes the reader feel as though they've never heard any one of the words, ever, ever before. It is in this sense that McCarthy is such a genius. I was marveling at the fashion in which he used simple phrases like "the boy" and "the man". He's that good. I'd make just about any excuse to listen to the lyrical and beautiful style that Cormac writes in again, and I'm sure I'll do it soon.
This is the best book I've read in a very, very long time. The first sentence made me laugh, the last one made me cry, and throughout the rest of the book I think I experienced every emotion known to man. The story is shared between three different characters, all of whom were portrayed splendidly. I can't say enough about this book. After reading it, I actually purchased it for family members - it was that good. I cannot recommend it enough (but I can certainly try). Buy it buy it buy it!
When I found out (after having downloaded the book) that the author herself was going to be reading it, I nearly put it down. In the world of audio books, an author who thinks that they have as talented a voice as they do a pen has serious ego issues. Putting the book down would have been a huge mistake in this case, though. The story is touching, the author (in this case)actually does have a talent for reading her own story and I wholeheartedly recommend the story based on its own merits.
This is a great story about family and love, coming of age, and the struggle to claim what is rightfully yours, regardless of the seemingly endless obstacles that may stand in your way. I was cheering during the high point of the book and utterly reminiscent at the very end. In the end I thought that this book was brilliantly written, beautifully portrayed and skillfully delivered.
I can't say that I liked this book. I definitely wasn't enthralled. The book left much to be desired and I kept finding myself asking "But Why?" and "What???" and "Well, what about...?" I have to compliment Harris' narrating performance though. As an avid audible listener, I've found that most books whose narrator also happens to be the author are rather disappointing in the narrating area. That wasn't the case here. Harris did a great job putting you in the story with his accurate voices and proper inflections. It was the content that wasn't fulfilling. To qualify all of this, I should say that I'm a huge Hannibal Lector fan, and have read (and loved) the first several books on his character. This short read, however (as I've already insinuated), was a bit disappointing in the way of Thomas Harris magic. So, really, even if you're a huge Hannibal fan, don't expect too much out of this book. You'll only be disappointed.
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