Thursday, June 28, 2007

An explanation ...

... as to why blogging here has been light and sporadic: I am going on vacation soon and must move about a month's worth of reviews before I leave. I also got my self committed to do some things that required I do some preparation. And I've had some personal matters that have needed dealing with. The pace will pick up. But tonight, Debbie and I have a date at the orchestra.


  1. Tunkhannock again, Frank?

  2. Anonymous10:47 PM

    Frank, I just finished Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (I'm writing more about Jim Crace's "The Pesthouse" and as everybody who's read both compares them, I thought I'd better look into it). Don't kill me, but... I actually kinda liked it. There's more there than the "pornography of despair," though I loved your way of pointing that out. This novel is also about love that survives apocalypse -- the love of parents and children. This feeling is the small good thing still glowing amid the ruins, indestructible.

    But I will say this: Neither McCarthy nor Crace depicts the world as it would really look after some cataclysm. Both talk about rusting metal tools, rotting cloth, and soggy paper, but neither describes what would REALLY be everywhere: Plastic. Plastic bags, choking the seas and clogging the earth. Strung in the blackened trees. Descriptions of plastic don't make for lovely, elegiac prose, but that's what the world will end shrouded in....

  3. Yes, Frank, Tunkhannock for a week.

  4. Hi Susan,
    No one is obligated to agree with me about this or any other book. If you enjoyed it - or found it somehow satisfying, since it's hard to think of anyone actually enjoying it - that's fine by me. But I beg to differ on one point - about the love that survives apocalypse. That love can only survive if the people survive and they're not going to. The conclusion didn't convince me because I actually didn't trust the guy who found the kid. For me, the message of McCarthy's book is this: Everybody's going to die and everything is going to disappear into oblivion - so let's hug!

  5. Anonymous12:42 PM

    But, Frank, that IS what's going to happen. We are all gonna die, though hopefully not in such a scorched, barren world. And we should hug. I offer you a virtual hug, right now!

    I do trust the guy at the end, you know why? He did what he said about covering the father with a blanket and not abusing the corpse. If he were a liar, he'd have cut off a few chunks of Dad to eat later and wrapped 'em up in that last blanket. Then he wouldn't have let the kid go back to see.

    Is the ending in the mind of the beholder (reader)?

  6. Thank you, Susan. I have no objection to hugs and need all of them I can get. My point is that McCarthy's point is that the oblivion his characters face is the ground of their affection - and I don't buy that. If everthing is meaningless, so are hugs. I also think McCarthy intends that we be unsure about that guy at the end. I'd call it ambiguous, but I really think it's evasive - like the whole book. I think the book is phony and I think the author's a phony, too.

  7. Anonymous11:49 AM

    Not sure whether to read it or not, after reading the above (and your review, Frank) and other reviews and discussion.....
    But I really dropped in to say, have a great vacation, Frank. That's the main thing, and don't worry too much about work, catching up, etc. Have a great time.
    (And thanks for those couple of links to my posts, much appreciated.)