Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So very cheerful. Only not.

Reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Very well-written, but... Boy, this makes the ending of Ol' Yeller look like H.R. Pufnstuf. Maybe I'll follow up by re-reading All Quiet On The Western Front and 1984. If you did that, you'd probably need to be cheered up just to commit suicide.

In other news, watched the movie Sunshine the other night. Lush cinematography ("light" is practically worthy of nomination for Best Supporting Actress), great effects, interesting story, not a physics textbook; I loved it. Think Alien meets The Enemy Stars.

15 comments:

Turk Turon said...

I LOVED The Road!

As a father with a couple of sons it really hit me where I lived.

I really like TEOTWAWKI fiction anyway, and I've read a lot of it, but The Road is head and shoulders above Alas, Babylon, or Lucifer's Hammer or (dare I say it?) Farnham's Freehold.

Verification word: eguckha

og said...

Pour a little "Eraserhead" down on top of that and you won't need to commit suicide, your soul will sponaneously erupt from your body.

hey, I think I just figured out where Democrats come from!

Bryan said...

It looks interesting. I have to admit an immediate negative reaction to the "Oprah's Book Club" logo.

BryanP

Squeaky Wheel said...

I hate how that book ends. I won't spoil it for you, but imagine what happens across the table. That's what I expected.

Bryan - don't be dissuaded by that sticker. Most of the books that are in her book club are there because they're popular, they're good sellers already, and she just wants her name out there more. Can I just be a bitch and say that I doubt she reads more than a summary of each one? I peel those stickers off when I bring the books home.

Matt G said...

Turk, I have to disagree with you about The Road being better than Lucifer's Hammer (and Foot Fall!). It was better than Alas, Babylon," which I did like quite a bit. Farnham's Freehold was, with Sixth Collumn, a little uncomfortable for me. A little too heavy-handed with the "Other Race Is Our Enemy" schtick, in both cases.

The Road is, like all of McCarthy's stuff, stoic. It's more simply written than most of his stuff (almost Hemmingway-esque), and I wonder if that's in response to criticism by some that his flowing descriptions in previous works amounted to literary masturbation.

Whatever. It's a fine work, and I will caution you, Tam-- it gets worse, and it gets better. Ride it out.

Turk Turon said...

Matt,
Maybe I liked The Road because I like Hemingway. Thanks for the tip on Footfall; I had never heard of it - it goes on my "must read" list.

There's a free online book called Lights Out! that I thought was actually pretty good. It's about a community that has to survive an almost total loss of electrical devices and power, including batteries and simple devices, all fried by some EMP perhaps. Not bad for free!

Rabbit said...

I've heard over the last months that The Road has been green-lighted as a movie.

Imagine Driving Miss Daisy meets Fail Safe without all the butterflies, unicorns and rainbows. But with the tedium and stress amplified.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Andy said...

Arrgh. "The Road" is good, but as bleak as CM gets. "No Country for Old Men" put him on the popculture radar but isn't the topnotch CM. See Blood Meridian, the Border Trilogy, or Suttree for the good shit. Might be a bit much for sci-fi fans, but sooo well crafted. His early stuff set in Appalachia is easily as bleak as "the Road"
Almost did my Master's Thesis on "Blood Meridian", but realized the whole thing would have been, "This character was based on..." It will leave you shaking. Larry McMurtry would pay you to be mentioned in the same sentence as McCarthy.

Anonymous said...

I thought Sunshine was odd. It was like halfway through a scifi movie, the director and all the writers changed their minds and decided to make it a horror flick instead.

The first 3/4 of the movie is great.

Tam said...

Funny, I thought the same thing...

But I don't mind a little "odd" every now and again; it keeps me on my toes. :)

staghounds said...

Can't be any harder than Birdsong. Or the reliable laff riot, Johnny Got His Gun.

William said...

Regarding your list of depressing books...including 1984. Have any of you ever read 1985 by Anthony Burgess. I highly recommend it. I think of 1985 as an absurd collection of clippings from a present day British Newspaper, soon to be the NY Times, if our lives keep progressing in the direction they have for the last few decades.

I loved Footfall just for the idea of what mankind can do when we gets backed up against the wall. A La "Junkyard Wars" in outer space.

Reno Sepulveda said...

I found "The Road" oddly hopeful. What is it in some people that keep them walking when there is no external reason to do so.

And in the end I think the father's persistence and love was rewarded.

Earl said...

Well, I read the Road long before Oprah turned her audience on to it, and I still can't figure her reading it and then recommending it. I love Border Triology, No Country for Old Men.

Matt G said...

Reno-- I felt exactly the same way. In the end, The Man (for that's all we know him as) showed that his efforts paid off.

Andy, don't be so hard of McMurtrey-- he's done some good stuff in his time. Hell, a year or so ago I found one of his first novels, Leaving Cheyenne, and was stunned at the rich description of N. Texas, some of which I'll never know, though I grew up in the same century.

Sometimes, it takes more bleakness to plainly see the beauty in a small thing.