"Like an animal inside a skull looking out the eyeholes."

The sentence above is one of many great lines in Cormac McCarthy's new book The Road. I just read this, and my head is still swimming in it, and thus not able to break it a part too much and discuss smartly, but wanted to mention it here quickly for those who have not read it. Yet. The basic plot concerns a father and son traveling along a road toward the ocean a couple years after the world has ended. I know it sounds like mad max but its more like Hamsun's Pan or Hemingway. Written in a deliberate, fractured style with no chapter breaks, it's an incredibly grim book, with suicide, cannibalism, rape, and murder, but the unrelenting story is elevated by some truly poetic writing that gives the nightmarish aspects of the book real emotional weight (stephen king has not, nor will ever, write a line as good as "Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.").
It's that rare piece of genre fiction that 100% delivers at being a great page turner, but also stays with you afterward for a host of varied, wide ranging reasons. Like the father washing a dead man's splattered brains from his eight year old son's hair in a shallow grey stream (and noting that he lives in world where he does such a thing) to the haunting descriptions of an American landscape where every tree is charred fruitless and ash comes down with the snow endlessly.
An incredibly draining read, but a really rewarding one. Check it out.

posted by sammy at 1:47 AM