Dirge for all humanity

A Spanish friend who likes to read novels in English pressed this terrifying little book by Cormac McCarthy on me: The Road. (The link takes you to my summary and commentary.)


Dirk said...

A close friend and cousin of mine is a sort of Kierkegaardian Gurdjieffite. He doesn’t read many novels. A couple of years ago he arrived at my house from a transcontinental flight consumed with enthusiasm with a book he had picked up in the airport, McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. He urged me strongly to read it. I have two comments on it. First the writing is thrilling. It recounts the adventurers of a group of men bounty hunting mostly in Sonora. The descriptions of the desert and various bizarre phenomena they encounter are breathtaking. Time and time again I put down the book in awe and astonishment at the beauty of a paragraph. The other is that this is the bleakest book I had ever read. This is a totally Hobbesian world liberally laced with atrocities. Every man’s hand is raised against every other, and the few women’s hands are raised ineffectually in self-defense.

After a while he wrote me that he had found another McCarthy book that he liked even better, The Road. As I began reading it at first I was deeply relieved that in this book there are two human beings who care for each other, the father and son mentioned above. As I continued reading I realized that their deep commitment to each other only made the book more painful because of their dire circumstances. With respect to prose I think The Road is terrific, but not as thrilling as Blood Meridian.

gef said...

A "Kierkegaardian Gurdjieffite"? Just the type of reader McCarthy is after, I imagine. Now I'll have to read Blood Meridian.