Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Road.

About a hundred pages in to Cormac's "The Road." I have been warned there is no light at the end of this drab tunnel. Though I wonder. My idea of redemption is that it is so miniscule, dirt-smeared and fragile that I may well find it where it does not exist, whenever I choose to find it. This is the "buried gun" approach to redemption: when you feel the misery is endless and you can't persist, just find the spot where you buried your salvation, and be saved. (Is salvation, then, a gun? Is salvation suicide? Oh, bleak world. There are already rumblings of suicide in the text. It's out there unseen, like the strange, far-off concussions the man and woman heard in the night. The notion of release from torment.)

It doesn't concern me either way, though, as I find there is something uplifting about misery that dares to be interminable. It allows you to be the author of your own philosophy, as opposed to being fed someone else's. That's what I've always enjoyed about McCarthy-- he doesn't force feed you anything. He gives you not necessarily the world as it is, but a brutal magnification that tests you. The idea of being tested-- being given a task-- is perhaps hinted at in the book's title-- the idea of being unmoored, and set on your way to discover if you're made of anything, or if you're destined to be nothing but a pile ash.


  1. Loved "The Road." I think the whole "no light at the end of the tunnel" commentary is, liked you said, tied directly into how each person defines "light" and what they expect "it" to be, either in a book such as this outcome, or reality in general. I thought the book was honest, but also like you said, that honesty didn't come with a "this is what happened/this is what it means" subtext.

    I just watched the movie version the other night. It was solid; really solid. The actor who played the kid kind of annoyed me, but Viggo was brilliant, and the bit part by Robert Duvall was also awesome. Plus, a big chunk of the movie was filmed in PA, including Presque Isle, which was used for a lot of the end scenes. Very fitting; it's easy to imagine "The Road" as being in PA, and I think, in a way, thinking of it in such human terms, with a real visual behind the great writing, watching the movie made me appreciate the power behind the words even more.

  2. I have the movie version in my Netflix queue-- looking forward to it.