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Just finished reading this boring, overrated novel. Nothing happens in this book...

A fifth grader could have written the dialogue! LOL
Example:
  "I'm hungry, papa"
  "Have some peaches"
  "Okay, Papa. I'll have peaches."
 

The man and boy walked on.  Repeat above dialogue.  The man and the boy walked on.  Repeat. The man and boy walked on. Repeat...
 

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The thing about this book that's stuck with me years later is the language. His vocabulary is so incisive and unique. He uses these brutal, unfamiliar words, like "salitter" and "gryke" and "firedrake," that I've never seen anywhere else, but that I haven't been able to get out of my head after seeing them only once. They have a real primal power in them.

I agree that something about the book kind of left me cold. Felt almost like it was glorifying this "end of days" scenario, like, portraying it as an actual male fantasy, and that turned me off. But I think he's a true master of the English language, and this book is a powerful showcase of that, and probably still worth a read just to experience his voice.
 

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kiyash said:
The thing about this book that's stuck with me years later is the language. His vocabulary is so incisive and unique. He uses these brutal, unfamiliar words, like "salitter" and "gryke" and "firedrake," that I've never seen anywhere else, but that I haven't been able to get out of my head after seeing them only once. They have a real primal power in them.

I agree that something about the book kind of left me cold. Felt almost like it was glorifying this "end of days" scenario, like, portraying it as an actual male fantasy, and that turned me off. But I think he's a true master of the English language, and this book is a powerful showcase of that, and probably still worth a read just to experience his voice.
Yeah, what you said! McCarthy is one of my favorite writers.
 

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Gotta throw in my two cents that I loved this book. Lean, stripped-down prose for a lean, stripped-down world. It did confuse me if I lost track of who was speaking, and the ending was a little deux ex machina, but overall a huge thumbs-up. Very moved by the father-son relationship.
 

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CNDudley said:
Gotta throw in my two cents that I loved this book. Lean, stripped-down prose for a lean, stripped-down world. It did confuse me if I lost track of who was speaking, and the ending was a little deux ex machina, but overall a huge thumbs-up. Very moved by the father-son relationship.
Ditto this. I didn't expect to like the book, but I was drawn in and haunted by it. Couldn't put it down and couldn't stop thinking of it.
 

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I didn't get it either, also found it to be boring and overrated.

People who have the grit to survive the apocalypse are not that kind of whiny.
 

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I have to chime in and say that I thought it was a little overrated as well.  About ten pages in I wondered if it was going to end so predictably.  Flipped to the end.  It does.  Tried to struggle through, but couldn't finish the book.  Only book out of 60 last year that I didn't finish.  Guess it just wasn't my type of book.  However, I agree, the writing was well done even if the story didn't hold me.
 

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Wow--it's always so interesting to me how differently readers find stories.  I ahve to throw my hat in the "LOVED it" ring.  I was so irritated initially with the stylistic choices (the fragments) but realized soon that they work for the overall meaning so well.
 

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jackblaine said:
Wow--it's always so interesting to me how differently readers find stories. I ahve to throw my hat in the "LOVED it" ring. I was so irritated initially with the stylistic choices (the fragments) but realized soon that they work for the overall meaning so well.
I've heard this before, but I've never heard anyone explain what they thought the overall meaning actually was. What did you think it was? (I tried to get into this book a long time ago and couldn't. Maybe I'll try again?)
 

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genevieveaclark said:
I've heard this before, but I've never heard anyone explain what they thought the overall meaning actually was. What did you think it was? (I tried to get into this book a long time ago and couldn't. Maybe I'll try again?)
genevieveaclark--first, thanks so much for the comment re HELPER12! I am so excited with the feed back I am getting, and so happy you are enjoying it.

I think what I meant with the style comment was that he chose to write in sentence fragments, with no identifiers like quotation marks, etc., and that this style resonated with the overall feeling of the book--the emptiness of our world, the lack of anything but ashes and death, the actual lack of energy the characters experience form fatigue and weakness. It was brilliant in my opinion, especially when you watch how he varies that style with a richer one, at times like when the father is remembering his dream of the cave (I still get chills about that dream--I think of Slouching Toward Bethlehem every time--the monster is us--or what we will become).

I think I don't know what his overall message was--it could have been that there is hope even in the darkest dark (the ending is not hopeless) or that we are destined to fail even though that hope exists. I don't know. I just know it';s a book I have read three times, and still think about in different ways.
 

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CNDudley said:
Gotta throw in my two cents that I loved this book. Lean, stripped-down prose for a lean, stripped-down world. It did confuse me if I lost track of who was speaking, and the ending was a little deux ex machina, but overall a huge thumbs-up. Very moved by the father-son relationship.
Couldn't have said it better. I usually explain that the writing is just another means to convey the feelings in the book. Really liked it but could also see why others wouldn't. It's a love it or hate it sort of book. It's also not a book I'd like to read again. Personally I prefer something that portrays the good in humanity during bleak moments. I think it's just a preference difference.
 

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Didn't hate it, but feel no fondness for the novel. The style didn't bother me as much as the lack of anything happening throughout the tale. And the fact I could pretty much guess the ending within the first dozen or so pages.

As for post-apocalyptic tales, I felt it was more gritty and realistic than the majority of the shoot-em-up movies and novels based upon a similar premise. Not that there's anything wrong with a good action flick of book.
 

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I thought it was brilliant. Reminded me of that TS Eliot line: "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper". The last embers flickering out. Which, as others have pointed out, is why the prose style really made sense.
 

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McCarthy is an acquired taste, but he is a brilliant existentialist. If you read The Road and No Country for Old Men as metaphors for mankind's need to locate and hang on to some kind of integrity in an unforgiving universe, what appears to be simplicity becomes much richer in meaning and texture.

SPOILER ALERT


The abrupt ending of The Road has caused a lot of controversy, but my reading of it is that the bitter father was wrong all along--hope and meaning do survive even the darkest passages.
 

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McCarthy's inability to use common grammatical symbols is what turns me off of his work. Quotation marks for spoken words is extremely prevelant, why does he get to buck the trend? Granted, the paucity of characters and dialogue make it possible to figure it out, but it is annoying and tedious. Kind of like a writer who, for no discernable reason, decided to not use the word "the" or decline to give anyone a gender.
 

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Patrick Skelton said:
Has anyone seen the movie? I've heard that it's even worse than the book.
Significantly worse, yes.
 
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