Friday, June 22, 2007
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Last week I read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. It won the Pulitzer Prize and was an Oprah pick. Frankly, I hated it. Yes, it's a post-apocalyptic tale of a father and his son scrounging their way down the road from the mountains to the coast. Which is just about as cheerful as it sounds. But I didn't even mind the gloom and doom, it was the fact that it's so poorly written. The characters don't have names, which isn't a problem because the father is referred to as "he" and the son is referred to as "the boy". Not a problem until the end, that is, when the father dies and then the boy is referred to as "he". Then it gets confusing. In addition to that, there are about a million places where apostrophes are left out of contractions. Not every one, mind you, just a lot of them. Enough to drive me crazy and have no consistency. Why are some Pulitzer Prize winners written so poorly? Some are wonderful (Empire Falls and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay spring to mind), but others are *disasters* (this one and The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, which was filled with incomplete sentences). In addition to the grammatical problems, there's also the problem of very little story. The two are walking to the coast. This is their goal throughout the book, so I assumed something would happen once they got there. Nope, absolutely nothing. Nothing happens, there's nothing special there, they stock up on supplies at a boat and then they leave. And then there's the cop-out ending. The two have met only bad people throughout their journey, but as soon as the man dies, leaving the boy alone and defenseless, some good people show up and take him in immediately. Overall, this book is just terrible. There is no universe in which it deserves the Pulitzer. Save your time, save your money and save your mood. Stay away from this pig.