Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hands Across The Void

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is the best piece of fiction I've read in a long time, maybe even since college. No wonder he won the Pulitzer and the the Tournament of Books; it truly is a masterpiece of literature. Each paragraph reads like an elegiac, post-apocalyptic poem, and I swallowed the whole collection down in two days flat.
I've always been reluctant to read McCarthy's work, known for his violence with words, but the violence in The Road is somehow made accessible. Even a baby roasting on a spit doesn’t seem nearly as horrific when he describes it. It's pure structuralism, the barren setting reflecting every inch of the tone, with beautifully bare language and punctuation (there is only about one comma or apostrophe every five pages), unnamed characters, very limited dialogue, and an incredibly bleak plot.
A brief example:
They stood on the far shore of a river and called to him. Tattered gods slouching in their rags across the waste. Trekking the dried floor of a mineral sea where it lay cracked and broken like a fallen plate. Paths of feral fire in the coagulate sands. The figures faded in the distance. He woke and lay in the dark.


Blogger Maggie said...

just finished this. a 2 dayer for me as well. wanted to look at your post again and, of course, you're spot on.

8:52 PM  

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