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"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy


crash_davis
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The Last of Us has got me thinking of The Road. I don't know anything about the TLOU other than what I read in Wiki and from the first episode but the plot seems to be similar to The Road, perhaps even borrowing themes and ideas. So naturally this got me thinking I need to read The Road again.

I have read most of Cormac's books at least twice. I just have a thing for his way to thinking, his themes and the questions he raises, and his prose, oh his prose. The Road is the one book I have avoided reading twice. I remember crying my fucking eyes out at the ending of that book. Being a relatively new father, that book hit me HARD. I get teary eyed just thinking about the ending. Between what he had to say in No Country for Old Men and The Road, I remember thinking that was the last book Cormac will ever write. For almost 20 years, it was.

edit: NCFOM was released after The Road but NCFOM read like a movie scrip and not a book. 

Anyway, this weekend I'm going to start re-reading it. Seems rather timely too since we seem to be hell bent on accelerating our eventual species demise.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Edited by crash_davis
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I, too, read it as a relatively new dad when my sons were 2yo and about 9mos.  It messed me up for a good three months.  It's the greatest book I may never read more than once.

That said, I now have two first printing copies put away which they will receive when they are fathers themselves.   I wrote them a little something on the flyleaf when they were little, and will add to it before they receive them.  But I'll tell them to wait a few years before reading it.

The concluding paragraph may be one of the most beautiful ever written:

Spoiler

Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.

It comes to mind every time I'm fortunate enough to fish with my boys in a cold stream in Colorado.

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Are y'all spying on me? I've had The Road on my desk for the last two weeks with the intention of re-reading it. I don't know anything about The last of us, but I think I'll check it out.

I read The Road in my early 20's before having kids and don't remember it being that great TBH. I have kids now; I imagine it hits differently.

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On 1/20/2023 at 8:51 PM, HamsterHookah said:

Are y'all spying on me? I've had The Road on my desk for the last two weeks with the intention of re-reading it. I don't know anything about The last of us, but I think I'll check it out.

I read The Road in my early 20's before having kids and don't remember it being that great TBH. I have kids now; I imagine it hits differently.

Cormac said it was a love story for his son. Read it with that context in mind and this book hits you in the feels.

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I also read The Road as a relatively new father, around 2008 or so.  I recall it was the first time I read a book or saw a movie with a particularly emotional fatherhood setting and it hitting me like nothing before it.  It's a fucking great book, but it really confirmed for me how much children can change your heart in so many ways.

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I read the book before children.  It was a great piece of writing, but there is no way on God's green earth that I could have gotten through it if I had already had kids.  I won't watch the movie, and I'm sure as hell not going to read it again.   Blood Meridian on the other hand is about ready for another read.  Not that it's any less grim really, but at least I don't internalize it.

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19 hours ago, HamsterHookah said:

How does the movie "The Road" compare to the book a la NCFOM as a book and a movie? I'd probably argue that the movie was better than the book.

I thought the book was better, but the movie adaptation was still pretty good. 

Never read No Country for Old Men, but loved the movie.

And while we're on the subject, the movie adaptation of All the Pretty Horses was nowhere near as good as the book.

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