The Road

 

Cormac McCarthy, from The Road:

He got up and walked out to the road. The black shape of it running from dark to dark. Then a distant low rumble. Not thunder. You could feel it under your feet. A sound without cognate and so without description. Something imponderable shifting out there in the dark. The earth itself contracting with the cold. It did not come again. What time of year? What age the child? He walked out into the road and stood. The silence. The salitter drying from the earth. The mudstained shapes of flooded cities burned to the waterline. At a crossroads a ground set with dolmen stones where the spoken bones of oracles lay moldering. No sound but the wind. (p. 220)

I am under the spell of McCarthy’s pen; mesmerized: what is that word, salitter? Whatever it is, the dread of horror from these words and this book stops me in my tracks. 

 

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There are 13 comments.

  1. philo Member

    James Hageman: …the dread of horror of these words and this book stop me in my tracks.

     Yet, a great book from cover to cover…or, in my case, the audio version of that. The movie was quite good also.

    On the other hand, I am still haunted by things I heard in The Counselor. Truly disturbing stuff.

    • #1
    • April 7, 2019, at 6:04 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Tex929rr Coolidge

    I think I’ve read almost everything by McCarthy. A few scenes are hard to forget – horrifying and moving at the same time. Hard to imagine how he forms those ideas. The Road actually had an ending, unlike many of his books which sort of run out. If you’ve seen No Country for Old Men, that’s sort of how most of his books end.

    • #2
    • April 7, 2019, at 6:30 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Bruce Caward Thatcher

    That is an astonishing book. I can’t think of another book I read as slowly, savoring every sentence. I would stop and go back and read paragraphs out loud, slowly, almost not wanting to go on because at some point it would be over.

    Hard to believe they could make a movie version of the story that would capture some of this experience. But they did. The movie is brilliant. Aragorn is terrific in it.

    • #3
    • April 7, 2019, at 1:00 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    Time for me to read some Cormac McCarthy.


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    • #4
    • April 8, 2019, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. RightAngles Member

    A sound without cognate

    What a perfect way to express this.

    • #5
    • April 8, 2019, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    I just had to look it up:

    “Salitter, as used by Boehme, as used by McCarthy, is the essence of God. It is the essence of God which is “drying from the earth” in this apocalyptic novel. It is the end of the Earth for humanity, and also the abandonment of the Earth by what had been divine.”

    • #6
    • April 8, 2019, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    I, too, commend this book. 

    • #7
    • April 8, 2019, at 7:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Henry Castaigne Member

    Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” is the small triumph of Christian decency over the eternal evil that is both man and war. The child is good and the child stays good amid all the evil of the world. The world is still bad but by retaining his decency he Triumphs. In “Blood Meridian” and “No Country for Old Men” the evil in the world makes gains and corrupts the world. But “The Road” offers a small redemption for the sins of man. 

    • #8
    • April 8, 2019, at 9:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Doctor Robert Member

    Wow, you guys are better readers than I.

    My son gave me “The Road” a few years ago and I read it in a weekend. I still think of it every gray, overcast day. The the scene with his wife, the scene at the end, the scene with the ship on the shore, the scene with the new born baby, still come back and horrify me briefly whenever I think of them.

    Yes that’s great writing, but I won’t touch another of his books. Life has enough horror already.

    • #9
    • April 9, 2019, at 2:33 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Chris Campion Coolidge

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    That is an astonishing book. I can’t think of another book I read as slowly, savoring every sentence. I would stop and go back and read paragraphs out loud, slowly, almost not wanting to go on because at some point it would be over.

    Hard to believe they could make a movie version of the story that would capture some of this experience. But they did. The movie is brilliant. Aragorn is terrific in it.

    Yep. Great flick, and a rough ride to watch.

    • #10
    • April 9, 2019, at 3:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    All of Cormac McCarthy’s books are gritty and dark. That isn’t to say I don’t like them. The only one I couldn’t get into thoroughly was Suttee. The thing that was said of Charles Baudelaire might also be said of McCarthy. “Dante only visited Hell, Baudelaire came from there.”

    • #11
    • April 9, 2019, at 5:53 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Henry Castaigne Member

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    Yes that’s great writing, but I won’t touch another of his books. Life has enough horror already.

    I agree that life has enough horror. But that’s why I like Cormac McCarthy. There is is so much bigotry and stupidity and wretchedness in the soul of man and in my own soul that I need it expressed. 

    • #12
    • April 9, 2019, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Pathfinder1208 Member

    Terrific book. It stays with you long after you are finished reading it. You may be finished with it but it isn’t finished with you.

    • #13
    • April 10, 2019, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes