Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cormak McCarthy's The Road

I put off reading this book because it seemed so depressing, a son and his father wandering post apocalypse America, but I bought it and read the novel by the author of No Country For Old Men and All The Pretty Horses. McCarthy is certainly a Faulknerian writer of great skill. A great writer no doubt and his book is resonant especially in the world we see now with so many things up for grabs. The genius of The Road is the entire emotional center is between the father and son and all things are evaluated in this world complete because it is a good thing since there is no world.

The chapters are short. Many episodes just a paragraph. This brings up the chiseled rocks of his McCarthy prose like diamonds on the shore. Each episode is complete and unto itself. Almost like poetry. But one cannot help reading this book and thinking there will not be many more like it. McCarthy writes in old vein that seems largely disappearing from the literary landscape. The short chiseled prose of another era pops up over and over and at times it feels like Faulkner. And yes it is good writing but it is strangely limiting also. And no one but Cormak McCarthy could get away with it.

I went through a McCarthy phase where I tried to ape his style to dismal results. It is not near as easy as it would seem. The spare sentences are constructed in a way that only a man who has a very deep knowledge of what he is writing about could get away with. The proverbial iceberg just above the water. A very good novel.

Rocket Man will blast off April 26th

Books by William Hazelgrove