Friday, October 19, 2018

Turning Back

I tried reading The Road. I really did. It's wonderful and awful in its grim depiction of a father and son journeying across a scorched post-apocalypse America toward the sea. Technology, gone. Government, gone. Civilization, gone. And the intricacy of nature, all gone, too.   

Cormac McCarthy makes every word count, somehow drawing the destroyed landscape and his characters in clear detail with just a few spare lines. I trusted him not to sensationalize his story, which is affecting enough without it.   

And almost immediately, it began haunting me. I thought about it all the time. I kept getting image flashes (a few good, many more horrific, all masterfully created) at odd times throughout the day. I couldn't stop thinking about it at night while waiting to fall asleep -- not in a good way -- and it was the first thing I thought about when waking up.

I cannot imagine how McCarthy faced these pages every day while he was writing it.

So I'm not going to finish it. 

I'll have to abandon my quest to read all the Pulitzers, and I'll have to select yet another book to substitute into the "black" category of the Color Coded Reading Challenge.

It's still the right decision for me.


  1. Any time I read the term "post-apocalypse" I run a mile! haha

    1. That's very wise of you, Nan! I like reading prize-winners as a way of stretching my limits as a reader -- but I think I've learned that it's good to honor some of them, too, unstretched.

  2. I've been afraid to read any of his work. I'm with you, I'd leave it to.

  3. I agree - this is one of those books that sticks in your head. I read it a couple of years ago, and reading it gave me the same feeling in my gut that hearing the theme music for The Walking Dead does - the best I can describe it is a sense of wrongness. And yet somehow this wasn't a completely depressing book. One of the things that was repeated several times throughout the book was the idea that the man and the boy were "carrying the fire," and however you want to interpret that exactly, the way that affected their actions and decisions was a large part of what made this book more than just a bleak look at a harsh world. I thought it was an excellent book, but I definitely understand how it wouldn't be for everyone.


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