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You have to carry the fire

Posted : 3 years, 9 months ago on 2 March 2015 07:48

“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there.”

What can I say about "The Road"... was a long, sad, rather monotonous, and generally I've been waiting for the moment when they will end. Some things I liked and others made me bored out.

Pluses - definitely cruel and very grim vision of the world, I felt encompassing emptiness and fear of the characters before each day. A few scenes made me shiver... especially one at which I really felt how cruel people can be in the face of hunger and desire to survive. Quite touching father-son relationship. If the author had in mind calling the feeling of dejection while reading, he hit the nail.

Minuses, which had an impact on the fact that I rate this book as judge - a terrible monotony, day after day dragged mercilessly, all was mingled together, gray, emptiness, ash, cold, man and son swathed in blankets, looking for food, their fear of any form that they meet on the road, very terse dialogues, short, often several times about the same. Very little happens during a really long way.

But in comparison to the movie, which I saw in the past and barely watched to the end, the book was a whole lot better.


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The Road review

Posted : 7 years, 7 months ago on 15 May 2011 09:08

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there.

A touching tale of two souls, must read

Quotes from the book

"You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."

"If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it."


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Hard for a Dad

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 22 December 2008 06:59

The aftermath. Of what? It doesn't matter. The world as we know it, is over. And to walk us through what is left, is the man and the boy. There is no need for names, times, or places. Whatever it was that happened, this is all the boy has ever known, but the man remembers when things weren't always this way. I hate to place an age on the boy, you can decide for yourself. However, I kept thinking around 10 years old. He was young enough that some of the things they had to do, or that were discussed, hurt me. My heart hurt, ached if you will. You see, I have two small children and I can't imagine having to go through some of the things that they went through. This troubled tale was a great read, but I would sometimes be emotionally exhausted by it. As I sometimes am at the end of a good book, I was sad when I finished it, wishing there was one more chapter. But this time, there was also a feeling of relief that it was done. Great story, great characters, a should read.


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The Road review

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 3 April 2008 09:49

The Road follows one man and his son as they travel across post-apocalyptic America in search of warmer climes after humanity has sealed its own fate with an undescribed cataclysmic event. The towns and cities of old have been burned to the ground and all foliage has met a similar end as they are surrounded by a world of grey misery as they make their way along old highways scavaging for tinned foods and dodging lawless cannibals who will kill and eat anything in order to survive.

Despite the settings, the storytelling is very cyclic in nature, with the boy and his dad doing the same thing day after day, and the descriptions of building a fire, walking all day, eating, making a camp and building another fire are quite tedious after a while as you'd imagine. What starts as an extremely bleak and scene-setting section of prose becomes repetitive and mundane, which is obviously supposed to represent the blandness of human life on earth in this troubled times, but it makes for dull reading. Furthermore, the style of writing leaves little or no punctuation in sentences, there are no chapter breaks, the lines and sentences are extremely short and the dialogue almost irrelevant.

Aside from these factors, it's still a mildly entertaining story and the idiosyncrasies of their journey (eg, finding a train, another human being etc) are extremely entertaining despite their modern day inanity, because the rest of the story is so repetitive. Because of the style of writing though, I wouldn't recommend this to any of my friends.


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"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 21 February 2008 08:25

Stealing from Publishers Weekly found via Amazon.Com, here is a brief overview of the book:

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Violence, in McCarthy’s post apocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a “long shear of light and then a series of low concussions” that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead, and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man’s wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are “good guys,” but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son.

---

I was asked the question “What book have you read that effected your life?” soon after reading this. My answer was “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides, because the characters have stayed with me for so long. I think this book will replace that answer.

As would be expected of a post apocalyptic novel, the story is bleak. The landscape, the characters (except the boy sometimes), the feel of the story, even the way the book was printed, with very little punctuation, other then periods at the end of sentences. It’s all says “bleak” in a strong way. (Though the lack of punctuation, including quotes to know if someone is saying something, was kind of annoying: either these authors are too artsy or their editors/publishers are too lazy.) But through this very bleak setting, there is some hope. And that hope lies in the love that the man feels for his son. Even though he doesn’t see a lot of hope for their future, and especially his own, even fighting with the thoughts of a mercy killing of his son and his suicide, he still looks out for his son, and does everything for his survival. He keeps pushing ahead, to help his son survive and give him something for the future. Even when the things that he wants to do scare his son.

It is also tough for the man to do some of the things he needs to for their survival. He feels the sting of his son’s scolding when they don’t help those around them. As an adult, I can see some of the reasons for his actions. In a setting such as this book it would be hard to trust anyone. How do you teach that to your son who is always wanting to help those around, that to better their chance of survival sometimes you have to only take care of yourself and not get involved with others? Yet you can tell that the father still wants his son to have such feelings, wanting him to give of himself and not lose that hope in humanity. As much as you can read that in the story, there could have been more of that played out in the father’s thoughts. It’s a touching and yet sad story.

I have read many write ups and reviews of McCarthy’s work, calling him the second coming of William Faulkner. I even read something on Wikipedia about this book saying that it is based on comments Faulkner made during his Nobel acceptance speech. There are some that say there are heavy religious overtones or parallels. Well, I haven’t read any of Faulkner’s work. And I missed some of the religious references. But I did read a book that effected me, because I saw the boy as a 6 to 8 year old. And I envisioned Nigel at that age. And I thought about how much I love my son, and what it means to me that I give him hope that the world around him won’t crumble. So no matter what I missed in this story, it still hits me where it should.


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