Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One for the Collection

I secretly don't like to share my books. Or at least, I don't like to loan them out when I think there's a question of whether or not they will ever make their way back to me.

You see, I like to collect the books I read on my bookshelves so that I have a tangible memory of all that I've read. I often find myself having fallen in love with the characters in a book, and giving away their recorded presence seems too harsh a departure for me to handle. Thus, I steer clear of library books and book trading parties and things of the like. I can recommend a good read until the cows come home, but my collection is mine and mine alone.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy was given to me as a birthday gift, and I devoured it within days. It's one of those books that stays with you long after you've read it, sort of like Life of Pi or Crime and Punishment (if in fact you stuck it out until the end).

There are two important characters. Never does McCarthy bestow upon you either of their names. I always find it interesting when an author chooses to present their characters as nameless. It sort of detaches you and pulls you closer all at once. An interesting writing mechanism, for sure.

There's a father and his boy, and the book is an intimate explanation of how nothingness can become everything and be one in the same. You are presented with post-apocalyptic America- the ruins of which are all around you as read, all the time. It is impossible not to worry as you read that this event is looming in our near future.

Once I got past McCarthy's use of fragmented sentences in his descriptions, I was hooked on his use of language that made the pair's delicate relationship jump from the pages:

"He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke."

McCarthy weaves their journey south using scarce and uneven meals as little mile-markers along the way. As I read, I found myself taking my food with new appreciation. Each morsel was important.

"Are you okay? he said. The boy nodded. Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other's world entire."

This book will take you on a journey- one that you hope will end triumphantly- and force you to question whether or not your problem of the day is truly worth grieving.

I urge you to go buy a copy and read it immediately. Because I certainly won't be loaning you mine- it's already settled into its place among the greats on my shelves.

1 comment:

  1. if that's the Retail Hell from Loft, you've loaned that to me! :P