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  1. #31
    Gloriam Imperator kged's Avatar
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    It’s now out in paperback in the UK – and my word, what a book. The last time anything that had such impact on me was when I first read Primo Levi’s “The Drowned and the Saved”, the first of the “Camp” books which I read; I sat down one evening to start that book, and when I looked up it was daylight. “The Road” was similar in effect, as I started it late one night last week, read until I just couldn’t stay awake any longer, and then grabbed straight for the book again the moment I woke up a few hours later. Books that do this are few and far between, which may be a good thing – there were times reading this one that I could actually feel my muscles hurting, and I’d become aware that I’d squirmed into an uncomfortable position because I was so wrapped up in the fortunes of the man and the boy. I never imagined that a simple utterance like “Okay” could take on such meaning – by just a few pages in, it was practically bringing tears to my eyes every time the boy said it. And I have to say that I think “There is no God and we are his prophets” is the most perfect sentence I have ever read – it is the absolute essence of 21st century life, I fear.

    This is a book to be remembered, and re-read, for the rest of my life. Magnificent.

  2. #32
    dw4rf thrinidir's Avatar
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    I second most of the things that you already said about the book so there is nothing I can add:
    part of me didn't want to turn the next page and yet I was compelled to

    I must confess I was expecting something far worse at the conclusion

    I will be reading more by this author.

    By the time I got to the end, I was exhausted.

    I've been struggling through a number of books recently that have been well received and well spoken about on the boards. I can't get emotionally attached to them, and I pick them up each day without the excitement that I crave when I read a really good book.

    The Road was hands down the best, most powerful book I've read in a long while. All the psychological, philosophical and social issues that other authors, whom I admire and read anxiously, spend pages and pages and books and books to develop and explicate, McCarthy did in so few pages and so simply. Mieville, Bakker, Erikson et al should all read The Road. IMHO, this is a classic.

    It transcends genre because of how poignant and powerful it is emotionally and visually. I don't think of it as anything other than a brilliant book. I don't think of it as SFF, nor do I feel any need to categorize it.
    so true.

    and why the hell is this thread not moved into general sf thread?

  3. #33
    dw4rf thrinidir's Avatar
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    I've written a review on this thing. check out our blog if anyone is interested.

  4. #34
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Which blog, Thirindir?

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    The ending was almost a non-event for me, the book itself was so powerful. By the time I got to the end, I was exhausted.

    How many other books have you read with that kind of intensity? I can count on one hand the number of novels that I just couldn't put down, and when I did, I couldn't wait to re-open.

    What enormous talent.

    I've been struggling through a number of books recently that have been well received and well spoken about on the boards. I can't get emotionally attached to them, and I pick them up each day without the excitement that I crave when I read a really good book. I wonder sometimes when people speak so enthusiastically about books that I frankly find boring. Is it just taste? Or do they want to like these books for other reasons? Taste is a major factor, but fashion seems to play a big part as well.

    The Road was hands down the best, most powerful book I've read in a long while. All the psychological, philosophical and social issues that other authors, whom I admire and read anxiously, spend pages and pages and books and books to develop and explicate, McCarthy did in so few pages and so simply. Mieville, Bakker, Erikson et al should all read The Road. IMHO, this is a classic. Lit classes should use it as an example of the most powerful and effective use of characterization, plot and setting.

    I'm coming in quite late, but I just discovered this book. I must say that I was extremely ridiculous while reading it. I would try and turn three pages ahead to stop my heartbeat and reassure myself everything was ok...if that word can even be used to describe the novel.

    This book is perhaps one of the most compelling and heart wrenching novels I've ever read, and part of me wishes I didn't read it at all. The ending, as Gary put it, was a non event for me as well. I just wanted to make sure there was a slim hope, but honestly..I didn't want the ending to be good. I felt it would crush the novels suspense and intensity, and I think McCarthy did an excellent job at giving the novel the best ending it could deserve without ruining everything he had strived to convey throughout.

    Overall, it was an amazing novel and I'm reccomending it to my English teacher to add to the list of mandatory books. Everyone should read this, and discuss it.

  6. #36
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Yeah I polished this badboy off a month or two ago. The images of the burnt earth and the power of the relationship between the man and the boy still haunt me.

    Two nitpicks that bugged me throughout, though. The grocery cart. There are many descriptions of the unnamed man listening intently as they walk, or being paranoid that someone might spot their approach. A rattling, worn, laden shopping cart would be cacophonous in a world without foliage. The sound would carry across long distances, and make listening for outside noise from anywhere near the moving cart virtually impossible.

    The other thing is that the entire earth was burnt to ash, and nothing grows, yet the man kept starting fires out of pine needles scrounged from under the burnt out trees. Seems improbable that there would be any pine needles left after years and years of decomposition and scrounging and flash fires in a totally sterile world...


    **Spoilers**


    Any thoughts on the veracity of the parenthood of the boy? The flashbacks are sufficiently vague to entertain doubt that the unnamed man is the boy's father. The ending suggests that the boy has exchanged hands before. Thoughts?

  7. #37
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Most of those issues didn't bother me. I was so moved by the story and the writing that I barely noticed inconsistencies.

    I wondered too about the parentage. The thought just added an additional tone of uncertainty and doubt - frailty really - to the entire book.

  8. #38
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Yeah, luckily it was easy to set those two nitpicks aside and just enjoy the read. They did nag at me occasionally though. Having watched the film version of No Country For Old Men just before reading it really lent to the visual impact of the prose, as well. A damned fine specimen of English Lit, for sure.

    And the book I read right before was King's The Stand, too. It was a great contrast both in terms stylistic approaches to a similar idea and to content.

    The last book of this sort that affected me this immediately was Children of Men, but I read that more than 15 years ago now.

    Agreed on the frailty, but I'd also add a really uncomfortable sense of underlying desperation as an excuse for child abduction. I wondered where the boy really came from, and given the man's reactions to other people in general I wondered several times if perhaps he'd killed the boy's real parents/guardians/previous captors. No easy answers though, that's for sure. I think I might reread and trawl the text for hints, though I suspect McCarthy would have stripped any clues from the prose!

  9. #39
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I'm now reading The Garden of Last Days by Andre DubusIII. Quite a good book. It's stark and desperate, but it makes you see every step of the way how little decisions, as well as circumstance, can drastically affect a life. He writes very much structurally, as I do. Each chapter is a character's, and they progress in time, side by side. This allows you to live the moments with the characters, and it really builds suspense. But it also lets you see the directions they're going, the directions they can't see from within the story.

    He's a very good writer. The last book of his I remember is House of Sand and Fog. Again, stark and desperate, and full of fateful moments.

  10. #40
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Yeah, House of Sand and Fog was very, very good. Actually, I even thought the adaptation was extremely well done (except for the casting choice of Lester the cop, which I thought could have been better.)

    My next read is yours, Mr. Wassner I'll be sure to give it a good walloping!

  11. #41
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I'm just about finished with it. I hate to complete books I'm enjoying. I feel this vast emptiness stretched out in front of me when I near the end of a compelling book! I rush to the end so reluctantly, though I rust there nonetheless!

    I need something lined up for when this one ends.

  12. #42
    completely off topic, but I just wanted to let Mr. Wassner know, that whoever he hired to do his coverart is a genuis...(being an artist myself I'm still awestruck). For some reason I feel like I should judge a book by its cover when I look at yours.

  13. #43
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Thanks so much Esmenet. The cover in fact is an allegory itself, ripped right from the story. I worked with the artist closely. I wanted something special for this book. With a title that might seem trite and juvenile, intentionally BTW, the depth of the cover art becomes even more revealing after the book is read.

    His name is Robert Sammelin, a truly amazing artist:

    http://www.robertsammelin.com/

  14. #44
    oh cool! Thanks! Yeah I definately have your books on my to read pile, and I'm going on a long vacation so I will get them finished.

  15. #45
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Just finished another gem of a book. It's called The Outcast. The author is Sadie Jones. I'm sure no one has ever heard of it. It's a small book, inconspicuous. No one's promoted it. I stumbled on it at Barnes and Noble when I was browsing the other day. It was on a shelf with other 'unknowns'. In fact, it was shelved as an unknown along with a bunch of other 'you should try this' books of all different types and genres.

    It was quite wonderful. Emotional, well written, tragic, intelligent. The characters were so real to me, I'm sure they will live on in my mind for a long long time. Give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

    And let me know what you think.....

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