I’m skipping to 2007 today with my Pulitzer Prize Challenge. I have a good excuse for skipping around – really, I do! I totally screwed up when I chose books to take on vacation. I only took one novel from my pile of Pulitzer Prize winners as I assumed I’d only get one read. WRONG! I read Less during one flight and still had two weeks of vacation to go! While exploring an independent bookstore in Franklin, Tennessee, I picked up The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I just had to buy a book to support the bookstore, and this was the only Pulitzer Prize winner I could find that I didn’t own. (The store was not specialized in fiction. I only managed to find The Road as McCarthy is considered a local boy in Tennessee.)
The Road is another novel I would never have purchased on my own. I don’t enjoy postapocalyptic novels (and not just because I can’t spell or pronounce a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-t-i-c.) But once I got into the story, I couldn’t put the book down. I was filled with questions: What happened to the world? Who are those roving gangs? Is the boy really his son? What happened to his wife? I kept flipping through pages faster and faster, hoping to find the answers.
If you’re looking for a book that wraps everything up in a neat little bow at the end, this is not the book for you. This is a book, which forces you to think. I finished this book on a flight from Dallas to New York two weeks ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Unfortunately, these are not happy thoughts – not surprising considering the novel is postapocalyptic.
McCarthy’s style of writing takes some time to get used to. His lack of punctuation – according to McCarthy, semicolons and quotation marks are mere little marks that blot the page – was confusing as all get out. The internal editor in me was going out of her mind while I read this novel. Luckily, at some point she had a complete hissy fight and shut up.
In addition to learning that award-winning authors can write their own grammar rules, I discovered – to my utter surprise – that I would not survive a postapocalyptic world. McCarthy describes in detail how the protagonist finds and prepares ‘food’. Food is in question marks as I’m not sure I could stomach – literally – the things the protagonist ate. If the food choice didn’t do me in, the work involved in finding food, using makeshift tools, and finding fuel would have finished me off. That’s before taking the weather, roving gangs, and all that walking into consideration.
I would have never thought a novel singularly focused on a man and his son walking a road would pull me in. (I assumed I was going to have to force myself to read this novel.) It’s a testament to the talent of McCarthy that I was utterly and completely captivated by The Road. This is a must read and in the running for best novels I’ve read in 2018.
I’m now reading All The Light We Cannot See from Anthony Doeer. I promise I will NOT be finished with the novel by next week (It’s my birthday this weekend!), but I do have an adventure related to the novel I will share with you next week.