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The Road - Cormac McCarthy

 
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The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 30/1/2008 7:42:41 PM   
Mr Underhill


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I picked this up in work (I work part time in Eason, an Irish chain of bookstores) and started reading it and purchased it there and then. I hadn't really heard of McCarthy before and only recently because of the Coens latest masterpiece being based on a book of his. The book takes place in a post apocalyptic America engulfed in ash and dark skies, a bleak and foreboding landscape peopled by the last stragglers of humanity. It follows a man and his son (we never learn their names) as they journey south trying to stay alive, not starve to death and avoid being captured an eaten by marauding gangs of cannibals.

I just finished the book a few minutes ago so apologies if this rambles a bit. This book is a masterpiece and one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. It is bleak, dark, horrifying, tense, melancholic, beautifully written, profoundly moving and ultimately uplifting. I defy anyone who reads it to not take a look around them and realise just exactly how good life is for us right now, because it can get a whole lot worse. Extremely highly recommended!!

I now have to go and read all of McCarthy's other books because if they are half as good as this I'll be happy

< Message edited by Mr Underhill -- 30/1/2008 7:48:20 PM >


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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 31/1/2008 10:41:30 AM   
BigKovacs


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It's an incredibly sad and bleak book, I could barely read a few parts but I'm glad I pressed on. If you liked this and NCFOM please try Blood Meridian, an epic parable about man's tendancy for violence and war. Possible McCarthy's best work.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 31/1/2008 11:04:50 AM   
Woger


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I got Blood Meridian last August and still only about two thirds through it, couldn't get into it at all, Ridley Scott is filming this isn't he?. I must get The Road (hey Oprah endorsed it), Child of God is supposed to be good also.


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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 31/1/2008 12:19:41 PM   
Larry of Arabia

 

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It's good that he only intermittently punctuates the travelling with violence and terror - any other 'post-apocalyptic' book and I would have expected it to descend into formalaic violence and disaster at some point. Less is more is definitely what makes the book stand out, like finding the prisoners in the basement or the passing 'armies' with the slaves and pregnant women in toe.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 1/2/2008 8:46:56 PM   
dessie

 

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Been thinking bout getten that book. Will do now after finish Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. Mitchell is excellent

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 13/3/2008 1:38:08 PM   
Super Hans


Posts: 2375
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From: Watford
Got a quick question about Cormac McCarthy's books generally - is the lack of speech marks around dialogue a common thing?  Started reading No Country For Old Men last night and I can see it getting pretty annoying - getting half way through a paragraph before realising its actually dialogue you are reading.  Is it something you eventually get used to as you get a bit further in?

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 13/3/2008 2:10:58 PM   
Rob


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Well I've only read The Road and No Country... and neither have so much of a speech mark to be found.  I read the Road first and thought the lack of puncuation was some sort of comment / reflection about how society had disintegrated.  Then I read No Country for Old Men and realised I'd been talking out my ar*e .

However, it didn't annoy me and you do get used to it.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 14/3/2008 5:40:39 PM   
BigKovacs


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It's throughout his work yeah, personally I got used to it and liked it but I can see how it can be very annoying. The Orchard Keeper is a bloody nightmare, pretty good book but it's hard enough to tell who's talking, let alone when.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 14/3/2008 6:18:20 PM   
Boring Prophet


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I finished No Country For Old Men last night, and as much as I enjoyed the film, I thought the book was vastly superior. Anton Chigurh had way more depth to his character and made me feel for him just a bit, something which the film failed to do. I'm definitely going to pick up The Road and Blood Meridian and it's a shame I hadn't got into him sooner.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 22/3/2008 3:30:37 PM   
oscarthegrouch


Posts: 87
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I reckon he couldn't be arsed pressing shift and 2 to get the speech marks. It didn't bother me and, having read what others have said i will be reading the road. 

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 23/3/2008 3:22:43 PM   
KennyM


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I'm waiting for Blood Meridian to come through. Didn't really know where to start with him. I loved No Country... but didn't want to read it so close after seeing the film and Blood Meridian seems to be his most revered work. I'm actually really looking forward to it.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 25/4/2008 2:57:41 PM   
MOTH

 

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It's not exactly a fun read, that's for sure. Reading it, I actually felt wet, cold and downright miserable. Even the style of writing makes you feel desolate.

I'll be interested to see how this is adapted for screen - I would have predicted less walking and camping, more violence and CGI, but it seems the director of The Proposition in charge which bodes well for a faithful adaptation.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 25/4/2008 3:01:32 PM   
Mojo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Woger


I got Blood Meridian last August and still only about two thirds through it, couldn't get into it at all, Ridley Scott is filming this isn't he?. I must get The Road (hey Oprah endorsed it), Child of God is supposed to be good also.



My script tutor keeps recommending Blood Meridan to me, he says if I can handle how bleak and dark it is that is. The Road is fantastic, a really moving book and heartbreaking all the way through.


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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 25/4/2008 3:08:57 PM   
Monkeyshaver

 

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The Road was excellent, apart from the ending which I found a tad anti-climactic.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 30/4/2008 4:39:20 PM   
crayon


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I thought The Road was incredibly moving, I really suffered on the journey with the characters.  One of the best things about the book was that it was so much more about the repetitive nature of the journey and the very real danger of starving to death than about the cannibals etc (although when ever they appeared my heart stopped briefly).

I'm interested in what the film will be like, although I'm not sure that the mood of the page will be translatable to the big screen.

Kenny, I waited about 4 months to read NCFOM because I loved the film as well and it worked out alright for me.  The book is better though!


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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 16/5/2008 3:31:51 PM   
richCie


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wow the Road... lets just say after reading this it was a good month or two before any other book I read actually felt worthwhile in comparison.
It's a beautiful, desolate, heart-rending and deeply moving book. The writing is hard to get used to certainly, and the speechmark absence confused me at first (I actually read a review saying that he does this to emphasis how desolate and sparse the landscapes were, then found out he does it in all his books...silly reviewer).
Definately recommend it to anyone.
Just finished (well gimme 10 mins lol) Blood Meridan, wasnt as good and some of the violence was a little hard to keep going with (how can you sympathise with these people?) but the writing is as exceptional as ever.
got No Country For Old Men to go aswell, then I'll have to buy some more of his books.
I have high hopes for the film adaptation, John Hillcoat, Viggo Mortenson, Guy Pearce(think that last 1 may be a rumour, he apparently plays a short role....theres only like 2 or 3 other characters in the book for any amount of time so thats probably likely....). oh just checked Imdb and some fan site and Robert Duvall is in it. and the release date is 26th November this year!

anyway any1 know if there'll be anew Cormac Macarthy book on it's way soon?


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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 16/5/2008 4:07:54 PM   
Wilbert


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I thought The Road was great. The atmosphere he evoked with very few words was so vivid. I love the fact that he didn't explain what had happened and you had to piece together your own idea from the fragments you get from the characters.

SPOILERS





I couldn't really understand why they left that nice bunker. I would have stayed there as long as possible.


Also, the ending was a little convenient. The kid was on his own for about half an hour before being rescued.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 16/5/2008 5:41:35 PM   
JV


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rob

Well I've only read The Road and No Country... and neither have so much of a speech mark to be found.  I read the Road first and thought the lack of puncuation was some sort of comment / reflection about how society had disintegrated.  Then I read No Country for Old Men and realised I'd been talking out my ar*e .

However, it didn't annoy me and you do get used to it.


Same here! Kinda.... Cos I read All The Pretty Horses a few years ago but couldn't remember whether the speech was the same or not. It doesn't bother. However what you said about the disintegration of society had made sense to me too, and I noticed quite a few little 'errors' through the book - anyway this is what I posted in the What Are You Reading? thread in response to a post by Felix:

quote:

From What Are You Reading?

ORIGINAL: JV
quote:

ORIGINAL: Felix
A great read. Though I think I'm going to get a pen and starting putting the fucking speechmarks in myself...


I managed quite happily without them. You don't really need them to be honest, and although I can't remember how he puts speech in his other novels, here it was quite representative of the situation. Throughout the book there are numerous 'errors' such as apostrophes missing, 'Spanish' written with a small s, etc. To me it represented the breakdown of civilisation because after all the written word was barely even relevant anymore since no one writes anything so why bother about the accuracy? That's just my opinion though and even without that interpretation I could still live happily without the speech marks.


Anyway I was very touched by the book. I read a book once called something like Into The Woods (not really sure of the title) about 2 girls who end up living in the woods after something terrible happens in the rest of the country... However they had the woods to live on, whereas in The Road the survivors don't even have that. There is no natural food left as everything is dead, burned or contaminated (or all three!) so the whole thing from start to finish is very bleak and devoid of hope. Sure, the kid joins a family but eventually every source of food in the continent will have been consumed and then what will they do? There aren't even any animals - the only one they come across is the sound of a dog barking which didn't last long. They will all have to resort to cannibalism for survival or starve to death.

What do you think happened for the WHOLE continent to be so completely destroyed? It sounds as if it was a global event since no one from outside America seems to have come to restore civilisation in the years since it happened. I know there is ash, I don't know if it was nuclear fallout or not, but for everything everywhere to be so burned everywhere. That continent is about 3,000 miles across so while a nuclear bomb is big, would one do the job of wiping everything out everywhere?

Anyway, I thought this was an excellent book. I absolutely raced through it, which surprised me - I had found All The Pretty Horses quite hard to get into (but a good read nonetheless) so I had expected The Road to be similar. These are the only McCarthy books I've read.


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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 16/5/2008 6:04:57 PM   
Woger


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Didn't like Blood Meridin at all, just seemed like there was too much repetition for me. Anyone read Child of God? It's supposed to be good but a bit messed up.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 18/5/2008 11:27:30 AM   
richCie


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I'm now halfway into No Country for Old Men, and I'll say the only thats better in it than the film is that Ed Tom has more monologues in the book, the one at the beginning is a shorteneed version fo a few of them. You'd be amazed at how faithful the film was, and it really does the book justice. I'm so desperate to see the film again now.

anyway to reply to JV, I read an article by an enviromentalist on this book where he says that he has just read the most important book about climate change ever, to paraphrase 'this book contains no facts, no figures, no graphs, no models, no predictions' and then he goes on to say that it higlights the possible end of the world in a way that no one else has been able to do. So that person for one thinks it is global warming, or perhaps it is a nuclear war, possibly sparked by global warming, or oil crisis. In the end it doesnt matter what the cause is, this book is simply saying, "this is what we will do to ourselves, unless we address our problems now".

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 19/5/2008 11:39:21 AM   
BigKovacs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: richCie
anyway to reply to JV, I read an article by an enviromentalist on this book where he says that he has just read the most important book about climate change ever, to paraphrase 'this book contains no facts, no figures, no graphs, no models, no predictions' and then he goes on to say that it higlights the possible end of the world in a way that no one else has been able to do. So that person for one thinks it is global warming, or perhaps it is a nuclear war, possibly sparked by global warming, or oil crisis. In the end it doesnt matter what the cause is, this book is simply saying, "this is what we will do to ourselves, unless we address our problems now".


I'm pretty sure it's a nuclear holocaust. The cataclysm seems to kick off properly when the kids born so if he's 8 or 9 in the story that would give enough time for a nuclear winter to kick in, it's not enough time for the environment to completely fail and produce the landscape they travel across. Either way, like all good post-apocalyptic stories the main cause is hinted at and never fully revealed. Proper to McCarthy.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 19/5/2008 3:49:34 PM   
KennyM


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quote:

ORIGINAL: crayon


Kenny, I waited about 4 months to read NCFOM because I loved the film as well and it worked out alright for me.  The book is better though!



Well I finished Blood Meridian then pretty much went straight onto No Country...

BM was a tough read, in tone and style, but it meant that No Country..., and I guess his following books are a bit easier to get through. Loved No Country...I also thought it bettered the film. Ordered The Road from Amazon and am waiting patiently for that next.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 19/5/2008 10:55:55 PM   
richCie


Posts: 4028
Joined: 11/11/2006
From: Wells, England
quote:

ORIGINAL: BigKovacs


quote:

ORIGINAL: richCie
anyway to reply to JV, I read an article by an enviromentalist on this book where he says that he has just read the most important book about climate change ever, to paraphrase 'this book contains no facts, no figures, no graphs, no models, no predictions' and then he goes on to say that it higlights the possible end of the world in a way that no one else has been able to do. So that person for one thinks it is global warming, or perhaps it is a nuclear war, possibly sparked by global warming, or oil crisis. In the end it doesnt matter what the cause is, this book is simply saying, "this is what we will do to ourselves, unless we address our problems now".


I'm pretty sure it's a nuclear holocaust. The cataclysm seems to kick off properly when the kids born so if he's 8 or 9 in the story that would give enough time for a nuclear winter to kick in, it's not enough time for the environment to completely fail and produce the landscape they travel across. Either way, like all good post-apocalyptic stories the main cause is hinted at and never fully revealed. Proper to McCarthy.


I'll agree that it seems far more reminiscent of a nucelar catostrophe but that was just one opinion offered up that I thought was an interesting one. you're right though it doesnt matter, it is simply a warning of what may come to pass, and the effects of the disaster are utilised by McCarthy to astonishing effect.
KennyM i'm sure you'll love it.

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 29/5/2008 9:08:18 AM   
Felix

 

Posts: 15692
Joined: 29/9/2005
From: Brighton
quote:

ORIGINAL: JV

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rob

Well I've only read The Road and No Country... and neither have so much of a speech mark to be found.  I read the Road first and thought the lack of puncuation was some sort of comment / reflection about how society had disintegrated.  Then I read No Country for Old Men and realised I'd been talking out my ar*e .

However, it didn't annoy me and you do get used to it.


Same here! Kinda.... Cos I read All The Pretty Horses a few years ago but couldn't remember whether the speech was the same or not. It doesn't bother. However what you said about the disintegration of society had made sense to me too, and I noticed quite a few little 'errors' through the book - anyway this is what I posted in the What Are You Reading? thread in response to a post by Felix:

quote:

From What Are You Reading?

ORIGINAL: JV
quote:

ORIGINAL: Felix
A great read. Though I think I'm going to get a pen and starting putting the fucking speechmarks in myself...


I managed quite happily without them. You don't really need them to be honest, and although I can't remember how he puts speech in his other novels, here it was quite representative of the situation. Throughout the book there are numerous 'errors' such as apostrophes missing, 'Spanish' written with a small s, etc. To me it represented the breakdown of civilisation because after all the written word was barely even relevant anymore since no one writes anything so why bother about the accuracy? That's just my opinion though and even without that interpretation I could still live happily without the speech marks.


Anyway I was very touched by the book. I read a book once called something like Into The Woods (not really sure of the title) about 2 girls who end up living in the woods after something terrible happens in the rest of the country... However they had the woods to live on, whereas in The Road the survivors don't even have that. There is no natural food left as everything is dead, burned or contaminated (or all three!) so the whole thing from start to finish is very bleak and devoid of hope. Sure, the kid joins a family but eventually every source of food in the continent will have been consumed and then what will they do? There aren't even any animals - the only one they come across is the sound of a dog barking which didn't last long. They will all have to resort to cannibalism for survival or starve to death.

What do you think happened for the WHOLE continent to be so completely destroyed? It sounds as if it was a global event since no one from outside America seems to have come to restore civilisation in the years since it happened. I know there is ash, I don't know if it was nuclear fallout or not, but for everything everywhere to be so burned everywhere. That continent is about 3,000 miles across so while a nuclear bomb is big, would one do the job of wiping everything out everywhere?

Anyway, I thought this was an excellent book. I absolutely raced through it, which surprised me - I had found All The Pretty Horses quite hard to get into (but a good read nonetheless) so I had expected The Road to be similar. These are the only McCarthy books I've read.



Thinking about this I reckon he doesnt capitalise 'spanish' because its no longer the name of a country, as 'Spain' or the concept of countries or nationalities just doesnt exist anymore. Its just a word.

Finished the book now and I loved it. As someone else pointed out, its not exactly a fun read but you really get caught up with the plight of the characters.

Spoiler in quote...



quote:



Also, the ending was a little convenient. The kid was on his own for about half an hour before being rescued.


Erm no, it says he was crying by the body for 3 days doesnt it?

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RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 29/5/2008 6:05:41 PM   
KennyM


Posts: 2816
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I finished it last night and thought it was amazing. I had forgotten what it was like to read a book and really care for the characters but I did for the man and boy. It really moved me by the end, even though it was inevitable. Just one of the finest books I've read for a long time, can't recommend it enough.

As for the end, I think it does say something like "three days" or "few days". I dont think it was "half an hour", that's not in keeping with McCarthy's style. He's very realistic with this, I dont think he would slip up at the end like that.

< Message edited by KennyM -- 29/5/2008 6:10:11 PM >

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Post #: 25
RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 30/5/2008 5:18:30 PM   
BigKovacs


Posts: 3187
Joined: 6/4/2006
From: Textile Street.
****SPOILER ALERT*****


And I'm sure the 'hunter' that picked him up had been following them for a few days before that, he had to make sure they were 'good' people. I read it shortly after launch so my memory may be a little off though.

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Post #: 26
RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 26/8/2008 8:16:30 AM   
morg1138


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SPOILERS ALERT

Just finished the book and I am breathless.  The last ten pages were hard going but what a book.  Not at one point did I feel bored or felt like I had read it before, this was probably the fastest I have ever read a book, due to it being so engrossing.  Who would have thought that such repetitive actions of the day to day survival of the these two people would be so interesting.  Less is most certainly more, the cannibals and the cult army was a shit the bed moment.  The part with the old man stands out for me; I really enjoyed reading the banter.  I found the part with the “livestock” in the basement was creepy (might spoil a good scary seen in the movie).  I could go on and on with little moments that stood out.  The biggest thing for me (and if any fathers have read this as well they might agree with me), I have a son and this book really ripped away at my heart strings, I read a lot of this at my desk at lunch times, I work for an oil company and I’m meant to be a North Sea Tiger but by fuck it was hard not to look upset at some parts of the story.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do if myself and my son were in the same situation.  The thought of any of the things the father had to constantly worry about or have to think about doing to the boy just put my stomach in knots.  My wife wants to read it due to me enjoying it so much but I have told her to hold off, she is due our second child in five weeks and the part where they see the pregnant woman and the men walking past and then later stumble across the cooked baby, might not sit will with her just now.  I know I found that bit very hard to digest (okay that was a bad joke).  Some have mentioned the ending, being a little anticlimactic, but I think it was fitting.  I had followed the story of a father and son struggling through a cruel world and their journey together ended.  It was their story.  The only thing I would say is, and I can’t figure out if this is a bad thing or not, I had Viggo Mortensen face in my head the whole time I was reading the book, I really hope this works well on film.  It seems like it is good hands and the pics that I have seen look good, lets just wait until the trailer.             Altogether this is a really enjoyable, thrilling and heart wrenching story and my copy will no doubt do the rounds with friends and family (always a good sign I think)

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Post #: 27
RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 5/9/2008 9:27:24 AM   
Jim


Posts: 1244
Joined: 30/9/2005
Just finished this last night. What a book. Every word and image in there was considered and powerful. Phrases like "as black as the cellars of hell" really stuck with me. Everything in that book is rotten, forgotten and decayed. The scope of Cormac McCarthy's imagination here is staggering and his writing style is beautiful. I really liked the pacing of it. A lot of it would be centred around finding food and was at a slightly slower-pace, and suddenly they'd hear something or run into someone and events would fly for the next few pages. SpoilerThe scene where they stumbled into the cannibals' house was heart-stopping./Spoiler

Also, for those of you interested, I just found this shot from the film on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1357353984/tt0898367

I didn't know anything about a film until today. Viggo Mortensen isn't who I would've imagined as the man, but he's certainly not the worst choice. I've got my own strong image in my head of the book, so I'll be curious to see more of the film.

< Message edited by Jim -- 5/9/2008 9:42:28 AM >


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"Oh shit, swamp leeches! Everybody! Check for swamp leeches and pull them off! ...nobody else got hit? I'm the only one? What's the deal?"

(in reply to morg1138)
Post #: 28
RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 5/9/2008 10:07:04 AM   
tftrman


Posts: 3192
Joined: 15/11/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim

I didn't know anything about a film until today. Viggo Mortensen isn't who I would've imagined as the man, but he's certainly not the worst choice. I've got my own strong image in my head of the book, so I'll be curious to see more of the film.


Not an Empire reader then? I saw the screenshot in Empire before I read the book so I had Mortensen's image throughout. Stunning book, although it can be an ordeal reading it at times.

(in reply to Jim)
Post #: 29
RE: The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 17/10/2008 12:49:58 PM   
DJ Satan


Posts: 9023
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: White Vaart Lane
Just finished it last night. What a load of absolute bollocks.

The lack of speechmarks was appaling and the editor should be shot. It's not "art" or "literature" it's just as bad as a spotty teenager writing all in caps on the internet.

It wasn't at all depressing or moving at all. I even tried to get myself in the mood for it by listening to the 28 Day Later and Requiem For A Dream soundtracks but it was just dull.

As for the language. "The rain fell nor did it stop continuing to fall". Bollocks. What's wrong with "It rained".

The most depressing part was when I turned over the last page and remembered I just spent £8 on this. I'm going to try and get my money back at the weekend.

I must admit the film could still be good. You quite often get good films from shite books (see all Stephen King).


_____________________________

Don't try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person
You hadn't had enough to know what it's like
You're only angry cause you wish you were in my position
Now nod your head cause you know that I'm right..alright!

(in reply to tftrman)
Post #: 30
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