Irish Lit & Times discussion

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

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message 1: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

Ruth (ruthdeb) | 4 comments Ok, so my sister loaned this to me this past weekend, and I'm going to start it this coming Sunday, 23 Sept 07 (once I finish one or two of the others I'm in the middle of).

Anybody else interested? I've heard good things about this one. Pullitzer, huh?.. Can't be all bad ;-)

Bucks County, PA

message 2: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

Michael (michael_harmon) | 13 comments Mod
I'm up for it. :)

message 3: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:39PM) (new)

Michael (michael_harmon) | 13 comments Mod
OK, so I've already started. :)

Ruth, how did you envision this going forth?

message 4: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Ruth (ruthdeb) | 4 comments Well, I've never done an online book club before, so I guess I'll just post a note here every 100 pages or so and talk about what I liked so far, what I didn't like, and what I didn't understand.

That's usually enough to get a conversation started.

message 5: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Michael (michael_harmon) | 13 comments Mod
Sounds good to me. I somehow ended up writing my reviews in chunks, so we'll do that. :)

A first question to keep in mind: what think ye of the initial style?

message 6: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Ruth (ruthdeb) | 4 comments OK, initial thoughts so far, I'm on page 70-something.

RE: narrative voice -- It's actually a little bit *hard* to read -- my mind needs VERBS in its sentences! It's jarring. I don't exactly dislike it, but it strangely takes me longer to read these short sentences than long ones. This is the type of writing I would have unwittingly "corrected" in my college editing class. (oops) I guess the style is kind of like note-taking. Like you were writing journal entries quickly, and didn't have time for complete sentences.

I love how he uses the word "glassed" to talk about looking through the binoculars.. gives the impression that the observer is an expert at scanning the horizon for danger. Appropriate, given his situation.

Sentences I've loved:
"You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."

"A blackness to hurt your ears with listening."

I noticed that we don't get to know the names of the protagonists..

I'm also getting a foreboding sense that this book will not end happily. The atmosphere reminds me of the impending doom of Nevil Shute's "On The Beach"..

They're definitely somewhere in the southeastern USA -- "See Rock City" is painted on practically every barn roof in Tennessee and Georgia. (Rock City is a tourist attraction on Lookout Mountain. Parents took me there when I was a kid.)

Anybody have any other thoughts?

message 7: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Michael (michael_harmon) | 13 comments Mod
Here are my initial thoughts after getting about one-third of the way through:

9/23: The style is gritty and needs your full concentration. However, already I see shades of past genetic influence - only an Irishman could write, 'You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.'

9/24: The subject matter is a little too close to home for me, but amidst the broken style (which actually fits the essence of the story quite well - something I have noticed in Pulitzer winners apart from the 'American (Un)Dream' motif) there are gleams of hope in things that spur thankfulness for the everyday. Not a bad by-product.

message 8: by Ruth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Ruth (ruthdeb) | 4 comments 9/25: I'm around page 130ish or so I guess.

I wonder why some contractions like "isnt" and "dont" and "cant" are written without apostrophes, and why others like "you're" and "it's" use them. It's so consistent it has to be a choice.

It seems like the man and the boy have been walking for *years* -- horrible as it is to imagine. I don't have a sense of where they started their journey. I still haven't found out anything about why there is no food left anywhere, or why everything is burned and destroyed, and where most of the population went.

I also find it odd that the southeastern United States has so much snow. Even in winter, the Tennessee I know doesn't get much more than a dusting now and then. So it has to be some kind of ecological disaster. And where is all the ash coming from still?

I hope the text gives us the answers. I can't imagine this book being as powerful as it's reputed to be without some of these giant questions getting answered. I hope it's not nuclear war. That's SO been done before. If that turns out to be the cause, I'd be disappointed.

Surely Cormac McCarthy read Nevil Shute..

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