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Hazel

The Road

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I really enjoyed the book as well and I'm really looking forward to the film version.

 

I do find that McCarthy goes off on of one in the odd paragraph and waffles about something odd. Its perhaps my limited intellect but I generally don't understand these paragraphs.

 

I perhaps need to dig out the book to reinforce this point.

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This is my RL Bookclub read for Monday night, along with Incendiary by Chris Cleeve (which I'm interested to note we don't have a thread for).

 

The grammatical comments that people have made did really bug me too (not helped by the fact that I read it hot on the heels of "Incendiary" which is an epistolery novel told by a narrator who admits she doesn't know how to use commas...).

 

I'm somewhere in the middle - not blown away by The Road and not overly haunted by it either. There were too many unanswered questions for my rather literal mind, but I know that it will stay with me for a while (the scenes on the beach particularly grabbed my senses and wouldn't let go).

 

 

I'm not sure the ending felt convenient or implausible to me, as the whole book had felt implausible. It felt ironic though - the boy felt he could trust in the other humans, where the man would have just run from them. I felt terribly sad that they had spent years on the run when they could have had other human companionship if them man hadn't been so fearful.

 

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I'm surprised I hadn't posted about this before, I read this a while ago. I found it captivating and one of the scariest books I've read (I don't go in for horror or anything gory). It was quite haunting while I was reading it, it hasn't stayed with me in the way some post-apocalyptic stories have but I'd put it up there with another of the most bleak and depressing post-apocalyptic stories - On the Beach by Nevil Shute. I would agree that Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood was a more complete world view but there is something interesting about getting the ground-level view of the aftermath of an 'event' because you wouldn't necessarily know what had happened and in any case if you are going to survive you probably can't spend too much time pondering or you'll get eaten.

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After much nagging I force/coerced a group of 9 friends to join my book group and then discuss in the pub on a Saturday night (my group, my rules :)

 

The first book I chose was The Road - recommended highly by a manager in Borders books. So, I picked up 10 copies and distributed.

 

We started off well but only 3 of us finished it and in agreement that it was excellent but upsetting.

 

I would recommend this read but can't bring myself to pick it up and read it again as i remember some of the more emotionally disturbing parts.

 

Rerospectively this was probably not the best choice considering several of the group 'read' jackie collins 'novels'.

 

I couldn't get into the Border Trilogy - is it worth sticking with.

Also what is No Country for Old Men like?

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I have just finished reading The Road after it was strongly recommended to me by a member of our book group. I am glad I read it, but am equally relieved that I have finished it. :confused:

 

I realise that the story is meant to be bleak. Indeed, in a post apocalyptic existence, each day would, I imagine, be repetitive and tedious; and here I believe McCarthy managed to convey such tedium brilliantly. But for me, I do tend to share the views of jfp, Radders & Viccie – it was all too easy and convenient and perhaps this is why I was left disappointed.

 

The lack of apostrophes, then the inclusion of them was annoying - but I did actually get used to this and despite not being transfixed by the novel, I did want to find out what happened to the young boy and his father; so there was a part of me that was, at the very least, intrigued enough to finish it. Personally, it is not one that I would recommend. :(

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I have not read the whole thread, so sorry if someone has already said this, but I don't think plausibility of plot is important. I see the plot as a framework from which McCarthy can hang the important themes and characters from.

 

Like all really good science fiction, it transcends the plot and is about things that are happening right now.

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I thought I would read this before going to see the film. I am drained and feel slightly queasy!

 

It was so bleak with no ray of hope. If you did a wordcloud of the book I wonder how many times the words ash and gray would appear - they seemed to be on every page.

 

Not a lot happens in it, but you feel a sense of tension through the writing - the man and boy can never stop for long in case they are found by the bad guys and I suppose they have to keep going in their search for food. There is no aim but survival, however, until death, so the journey along the road is a road to nowhere.

 

Reading it last week with all the winter snow, cold and black slush, made me able to picture the landscape quite easily. I would like to think that in the end people would work together to restore a community based on moral principles and not descend into a dog eat dog isolationist world.

It seems to suggest the boy joins such a group at the end - I hope. It needs that minimal ray of sunshine through the ashen skies.

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If you did a wordcloud of the book I wonder how many times the words ash and gray would appear - they seemed to be on every page.
I'm sorry, I don't want to derail the thread but I have to know, what is a wordcloud?

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I would like to think that in the end people would work together to restore a community based on moral principles and not descend into a dog eat dog isolationist world. It seems to suggest the boy joins such a group at the end - I hope. It needs that minimal ray of sunshine through the ashen skies.

 

The trouble with the scenario of the book is that the earth has become incapable of supporting any plant or animal life naturally through some unspecified disaster. Therefore there is no basis for any future and human life won't be able to continue once everything from the past has been finally scavenged. The boy may join a group of decent people but without a hope of growing food they are doomed so the somewhat hopeful ending is false. McCarthy's single-minded vision provides no realistic escape and is utterly bleak.

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Don't know if anyone saw Joe Penhall's (the playwright responsible for adapting the book to film) in last Tuesday's Guardian?? He talks about McCarthy visiting the set during filming and the problematic first screening with just himself, the director John Hillcoat and McCarthy present; throughout which the author scribbled copious amounts of notes which were ultimately used to assist in the editing process.

 

A really interesting insight into the making of the film, which I'm now intrigued to see despite not having read the book.

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The trouble with the scenario of the book is that the earth has become incapable of supporting any plant or animal life naturally through some unspecified disaster. Therefore there is no basis for any future and human life won't be able to continue once everything from the past has been finally scavenged. The boy may join a group of decent people but without a hope of growing food they are doomed so the somewhat hopeful ending is false. McCarthy's single-minded vision provides no realistic escape and is utterly bleak.

I agree that the book can be very bleak, but I don't think McCarthy is single-minded at all. To me, the ending was quite a brilliant surprise - one part of the book that has stayed with me. There's a real grace to it that I found extraordinary.

 

But even if I agreed that McCarthy didn't provide any possibility for a future, I still wouldn't follow precisely why this might be a flaw in the book (?)

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This is the first Cormac Macarthy book I have read. It is certainly strange. Not only the lack of apostrophes in won't and can't, but the brief sentences and paragraphs-cum-chapters make it an unusual reading experience. In a way ideal for bed-time as you can read a few mini-chapters before falling asleep. The end of the world I suppose is an original setting for a novel, and in a sense he carries it off with the descriptions of the bleak landscape and the weird atmosphere but it never really gripped me. There is a repetitive quality about the narrative. The boy saying "I'm scared", the empty houses, the corpses by the roadside. it just goes on and on. the end is particularly unsatisfactory : a too neat tying up of the strands. But having said all that, it is a book that held my attention to the end. But in my view not the greatest novel of all time by any means.

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This was the first of Cormacs books I have read, it engaged me till the end, it was poetic at times in its prose. However....... not knowing the characters names for me prevented me feeling closer to the characters but I do appreciate that the author by not naming them probably meant it to add to the bleakness and the desolation in the book which I can appreciate. I went on to buy another of his books called child of god which I simply can't read it is way too superficial and written in a slick style but thats probably another thread idea! :)

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This is the first Cormac McCarthy book i've read. It took me a wee while to adjust to his style of writing - no apostrophes and very long sentences etc. I absolutely loved the book though. I've never felt such total and utter despair for characters in a book before, and although i dreaded what was coming next, i felt it extremely hard to put down. I cried at the end.

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Just finished reading The Road. It's not the kind of book I would normally read and I wouldn't rush to read such a bleak book again, although I'm glad I read this. I agree with Hazel about the real moments of horror.

 

I didn't realise until quite a way into the book that the characters had no name. It really bugged me because I really wanted to know the name of the boy although I wasn't much bothered what his papa was called.

 

It was very well written, if a little unconventional, although I agree with some of the points above about some of the sentences being quite jarring.

 

I didn't particularly like the ending - I agree, the timing appeared a bit too convenient. However, the fact that

 

 

papa was wrapped in a blanket and left in the woods showed to me he'd probably met one of the "good guys" - whatever they are.

 

In the end the boy was willing to take a chance, despite the fact his father specifically told him not to take any chances. Regardless of whether he found a family which could provide him with the love he needs (there were children his own age in the family) or not - he took a risk and saved his humanity

 

 

and this for me is the central message of the story.

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Only just finished this for one of my RL reading groups. Certainly an unusual read but one that I felt unable to put down. The structure of the narrative with its lineal prose was so indicative of the road that they man and the boy were following.

 

Yes it was bleak and yes is was depressing for the characters, but surely that was the point. For me the book represented some sort of analogy for life. We go down the road that our parents lead us down, trying to acquire knowledge and understanding of our world and trying to survive the best way we can with what is available. We take with us hope and encouragement. I feel the man tried to teach the boy how to survive and to keep his hope alive (by taking the fire with them).

 

For me the son always carried his fire or hope that things could get better or that he could survive in some way because he had hope. The ending enforced that for me

being nurtured by seemingly good people after his father's death and especially by a woman, something he had not, up to that point, had in his life. There still seems not much hope in life returning to normal,.

is how I read the last paragraph. Surely that's the whole point of telling a story of a dystopian world such as this.

 

As for the punctuation - or lack of it. For me this was not a problem. In fact I felt so involved in the book that it had no impact on me. Thinking about it now I feel that punctuation just isn't as important as telling the story - for the writer and for the protagonists. Surviving is all that mattered not how you tell the story. A great story told with wonderful language - almost poetic. For me this was a powerful story and one that was enjoyed for the way it was told as much as what it was telling. Now I must see the film!

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I found The Road to be an incredibly bleak, but nonetheless compelling read. Yes, there were glints of hope in amongst the deep dark bleak despair, of which there was a bit too much for my liking. I'd recommend it as an interesting but dark read, but haven't quite understood the 'obsession' with it that many people with whom I have discussed the novel seem to have.

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