Monday, July 15, 2013

Overrated: The Road

Adam C. Zern offers a few thoughts on why Cormac McCarthy's The Road is overrated:

"I'm usually pretty okay with dark tales, serious subject matter, and gloomy stories, but Cormac McCarthy's The Road is on a whole new level of depressing.  There was probably only one other book which I felt substantially and negatively changed my mood, and my wife would confirm visibly as well, while reading it and that was Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  (Although I would defend Crime and Punishment as having some didactic value but would struggle to make the same argument for The Road).  I have read multiple post-apocalyptic books, some of them being very grim, but only The Road left me feeling truly forlorn.

The biggest problem with The Road isn't so much its subject matter and setting; rather, it's the book's unflinching focus on its subject matter and setting without giving enough of a reprieve to the reader, to me, to take a breath and find a reason to keep reading.  Fans of the book point to the relationship between the father and the son, the supposed focus of the book, as the reason to keep reading just as it was the father's motivation to keep walking—there is the brilliance of the book—so  they say.  However, I felt the portrayal of the relationship between the father and the son to be terribly inadequate to counter-balance the madness, death, and despair they both, and the reader by extension, was surrounded by from the hopeless beginning of the book to the hopeless end of the book.  McCarthy, in my mind, seemed far more interested in describing cannibals and their dining habits than he did in expressing familial emotions and connections. 

I did not care for The Road at all, and I've often wondered why so many others have loved it so much.  Like I said previously, I can handle dark stories with a purpose and meaning, but I'm less than enthusiastic toward dark stories which seem to be so simply for the sake of being dark.  The Road felt more like the latter to me than the former, and for that reason I think it's overrated."

Other topics of interest:
Thousander Must-Reads Vol. 3
Overrated: The Da Vinci Code
Page-turners: Black Hawk Down

No comments:

Post a Comment