I started reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road last Friday night while waiting at the airport for the lovely and talented Casey to arrive and I finished it this afternoon. If I didn’t have so many things going on this past weekend, I probably would have stayed up all night Friday to finish it which says something about the book as I find that it easiest to read McCarthy in small chunks to be chewed over slowly. The writing is spare, grim, brilliant and unlike most of his work, ferociously compelling. Easily the best book I’ve read this year but also a hard book to recommend because it’s so bleak….and yet it’s not. It’s very beautiful in a very sad way. I don’t know that anyone else has made this comparison, but there were times when I was reading it when I was reminded of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It; a sort of elegiac strain of restrained rage and sorrow over our inability to stop the inevitable.
It’s been a weird year for books since my other favorite novel this year is Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead which deals with an apocalypse of a different kind, and addresses the same themes of love, survival, memory, and the end. Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s just the mood of the world that we have come to live in these past few years but I’m not sure if I’m reading warnings of what is to come or the first drafts of a history that starts tomorrow. Either way, there is definitely something in the zeitgeist that is good for the muse if not healthy for children and other living things.
Keeping with my Waiting For the End of the Worldpalooza, next up Max Brook’s World War Z. I assume there will be laughs.
I could use some right now.