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  1. #16
    Cormac McCarthy is a bonafide genius. Blood Meridian may be one of the most effective horror novels I've ever read, and the Border Trilogy has some of the most hands-down beautiful prose I've ever read. But The Road? Definitely in a class of its own. I agree with Alison that it compares to Russell Hoban, or even George Stewart's Earth Abides (which are both excellent novels as well), but is certainly not easily pegged into some comfy category.

  2. #17
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    It's such a human story. 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. That's the sign of a classic, isn't it? Who ever felt it necessary to put Metamorphosis into a genre box?

  3. #18
    I agree that it transcends genre labels. But then, McCarthy has been transcending genre labels since he put pen to paper. It's a universal story. Which is something a lot more genre writers should think about.

  4. #19
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    You don't mean 'plot' when you say 'story', right? It's not the theme, but the metatheme that resounds. Genre is just a garment. Some people get lost under it and some people use it to keep warm. Others wear it because they don't feel like going around naked. But some just put it on one day and put on something different the next, though they're the same person underneath it regardless.

    What makes it universal? (I totally agree that it is)

    The fears it evokes. The gnawing feelings. Questions of meaning and affirmation. The strength of love. The human condition.

  5. #20
    You're right, Gary. I meant "story" in the broadest sense of the word, like the Bible is "The Greatest Story Ever Told". Not plot.

    I totally love this:

    Genre is just a garment. Some people get lost under it and some people use it to keep warm. Others wear it because they don't feel like going around naked. But some just put it on one day and put on something different the next, though they're the same person underneath it regardless.

  6. #21
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    That's a wonderful definition of genre, Gary... or at least, how different authors use/wear it.

    As a Dad, the most powerful theme for me, was the conflict between ending the boy's life out of love and being unable to... out of love. What a conflict! The story forced me to not only face the father's choice in the book, but also put myself in his place... very uncomfortable.

    I often wonder why the dicussion of genre is even raised, when discussing a fabulous book... like it enhances or erodes the quality in any way.

  7. #22
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    Because The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic future, perhaps that is why SFF gets mentioned. Eh, it's just another whiff of the schizophrenia that runs through the specfic community. Anytime a brillant book comes out that is arguably speculative, the genre makes some attempts to envelop it within the fold.

    Okay, but enough about that . . . let's get to some serious discussion. What makes this book so good? One thing, I think, is how the style reinforces the theme. The starkness of the prose echoes the hopelessness and inhumanity of the setting. We don't ever learn anyone's name. Think about that. An entire book without a single character name! And it works, brilliantly. The reader cannot get too cosy and comfortable with the characters. All that the reader has to cling to is the power of the love between the father and the son.

  8. #23
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    You hit it on the head, Brian. In a way, the characters, nameless, faceless, raceless, are universal. They're every parent and every child. So in being totally nondescript we become them. Nothing keeps us apart. We fill in the blanks according to our own feelings. Brilliant.

    I wonder how many words the longest sentence in the book has. It can't be too many.

  9. #24
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Hey Gary. Looks like your influence strikes again. I'm certain that it's only because of the ceaseless praise this book has garnered here that Ms. Winfrey decided to make this the "Book of the Month".

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070328/.../books_winfrey

    Seriously though. I was getting an oil change for my car, and in the waiting area, several ladies were watching Oprah. I tried to ignore the show and bury myself in some muscular car magazine, but to no avail. The show is nerve-fraying in its saccarine earnestness.
    It will be interesting to see how her happy-happy, you-go-girl audience reacts to such a bleak, haunting novel that almost leaves no hope uncrushed.

  10. #25
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Odd choice for Oprah. I guess she believes that sometimes she has to push the envelope.

    Despite all the praise, The Road still undersold 100's of other less intelligent, far weaker, unmemorable books. In fact, I believe it sold somewhere in the 100,000 range compared to Patterson who sold in the millions (three of his books were among the top sellers for 2006).

  11. #26
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    True about Patterson, but with Oprah's rec. I imagine The Road will sell a few hundred thousand more copies (and scare the Opraholics half to death). I also have to think that talent shines through. No one will be reading Patterson's books from today 5 years from now, much less 25 years from now, but The Road will be one that will last.
    As reclusive as McCarthy is, I would imagine he would prefer the modest selling classic to the best-seller that's quickly forgotten.

  12. #27
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Coming Soon have just reported that the movie is going to be made.

    Read MORE>>>

    John Hillcoat is director - The Proposition was fantastic!

  13. #28
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    *shivers* Frankly, I don't think that this is a movie that I can watch. At least with the book I can put it in the freezer.

  14. #29
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I agree. It's going to be a difficult movie to watch, particularly after having read the book. For the unsuspecting who don't know what to expect, it might be easier.

  15. #30
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    The Road has won the Pulitzer.

    Thanks to Alexander Irvine for the link.

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