While stuck in bed earlier this month recovering from the flu, my husband surprised me by coming in and handing me a copy of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.
"This is a perfect time to read this" he said.
Now, don't ask me why anyone would hand someone they love a story about the end of the world. Especially someone coughing up a lung from H1N1, but, what can I say? That's just one of the bizarre little quirks which passes for true love around here.
Quite reluctantly I began reading this, quite sure that given the bleak nature of the story combined with our entire family getting Swine Flu, was simply going to ensure this book ended up in the literary graveyard that is my side of my bed until a sunnier day. However, much to my surprise, I immediately fell under the spell of The Road. It was quite simply, impossible to put down, whether or not I was feverish and coughing. My husband knows me so well.
So, now that I'm almost done with the novel, I find I'm procrastinating having to turn those final few pages. As sad and desolate as the story was, it is just as equally as life-affirming and mysterious.
So, I've decided to encourage others to crack open this book before the movie (Same title) opens in too many more theaters across the country and people forget that Hollywood only came after a true artist composed this beautiful work of fiction.
(Note: I just noticed I misspelled a word in the earlier graph. It reads much differently now, once I changed the word "composted" to "composed.")
In fact, right now I've become so accustom to stepping inside McCarthy's vision of a future which is bleaker than I thought possible, and yet, here I am dragging out the finish of reading it all because now everything about this story has become powerfully imprinted on my mind and, oddly, also on my heart, as well.
This is not a story I care to part with.
The Road is one of those rare books that sneaks up on you and pulls you in so deeply to the world it describes that you cannot tell where the writer is anymore. The tale is telling it's own story and you are one with it. It appears to be about death and destruction, but is also about hope and humanity. It is actually a love story: A love story about parental love, to be exact. And the kind of goodness children are all innately born with, and so hard to crush.
I went online to see what others have said about this novel, and the man who wrote it and found only one interview with McCarthy which was, naturally, with Oprah.
So, today, I started to poke around the internet to find some "Road" related treasures to post with this piece to help illuminate just some of what is so unique and haunting about this wonderful story. And, hidden beneath countless postings of YouTube video clips from "the original movie trailers" of The Road.
However, this one music video was the one I really felt captured the essence of the book so well. He calls the video "ambient" music based on the novel using stills from the film. It works for me.
(see video below for "Eternal Ash")
And so, if you are looking for a book that you'll never forget, then I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. I can't promise the tale will be as warm cozy as "A Dog Named Christmas," but would you even want it to be?
UPDATE TO THIS POST:
FINALLY FINISHED "THE ROAD"
I was sitting in a waiting room the other day when told "the doctor will be running late" so I pulled out my copy of "The Road" and decided to finish it.
At the time I assumed that being stuck in a crowded waiting room would be an appropriate time to concentrate on the writing and finally relish on finishing it.
As I turned the last beautiful, heartbreaking pages of McCormac's novel, something unexpected happened.
I began bawling my eyes out.
I tried not to, but the book is so piercingly moving that there was nothing to be done. Tears streamed down my face. I sobbed. People nudged each other. I couldn't stop.
A woman reading a paperback in a crowded waiting room sitting between a fake Christmas tree and a empty magazine rack was quietly sobbing and wiping tears from her eyes. And it was me.
When my doctor's nurse finally came to get me she apologized for the long wait and dubiously asked me if I was "okay." No, clearly, I was not, but what I told her was this;
"No, it's not about the wait. It's about finally finishing the saddest book in the world in a crowded waiting room at USC Norris Cancer Center, that's why I'm a mess. But, it really was a beautiful book."