13 June 2008

Weekend Reading #1: The Road

The Road was recommended to me last fall by Maud Casey, who I was lucky enough to have as a Creative Writing Professor. I was skeptical at first, primarily because it's really not my kind of reading and I rarely go into a book that I know will leave me depressed. However, I was almost instantly proven wrong.

There aren't many books that I read in a single sitting these days - I just don't have the time. Once I started on Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece, though, I was determined to finish it. To stop reading would have been to abandon his characters, and that wasn't something that I was willing to do. I couldn't leave McCarthy's world, because the pace of the book made me believe that if I put the book down, something terrible would happen while I was away.

The novel opens with a father and son walking through the desolated countryside of an unspecified location, believed to be the American midwest. The word as we know it has ended suddenly and murder, looting and cannibalism has become the most common way to survive. They cannot survive another winter in their location, and they are moving south. McCarthy writes that the man and his son are "each other's worlds entire," and they keep each other alive though their journey south.

The Road is bleak, harrowing, and excruciatingly painful to read. Overall, though, it is a hopeful look at what good people can rise above, no matter the circumstances they find themselves in. McCarthy writes monster stories, but he makes people - ordinary people - the monsters. Through all the pain and the suspense, this book was truly a delight to read.

A housekeeping point:

Even though life got in my way and it took me a long time to post this first review, it was great fun to write. Of course, I'll be back on food early next week (I have a fabulous recipe I'm sitting on), but these reviews should be a weekly event from now on. I think it would be fantastic if we bloggers could take this idea and run with it. So here's what I'm thinking: If you would like to participate in Weekend Reading, please post an original review of a book you've read sometime during the week, and send me an email at cookingandbooking AT junebug DOT org by midnight on Friday, with your blog name, a permanent link to your review, and your name. I'll post a recap on Saturday morning. Hopefully we can really get this to take off and get some people reading!

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