Yes. The sentences were short and choppy, full of supposedly uninteresting detail. We see the man- he is whittling wood to make fake bullets to fill the empty chambers in the pistol they are carrying for protection. We get the very minute details of this action. It has turned some off of the book, along with the metaphors that seemed to be piled one on the other, but to me that was the charm of the book. The everyday encumbrances of the man and the boy, living in a semi-inhabitable land laid to waste by what I assume to be a world-wide nuclear holocaust (don’t quote me on this- there was mention of fire in a flashback and people are burnt into the macadam in other parts of the book which is where I’m drawing my conclusions from). Everyday it takes courage to get up, to move on, to starve, to be thirsty, to look for shelter, to smell badly, to kill others or be killed. The details were necessary, for the most part, to ensure the reader feels what the man and boy call “the fire” that they both are carrying. Get to that in a moment.
I had to look up words, which is no drawback if you are reading on an ereader (at least not for me). I thought that using some of the words like “truncheoned” which don’t exist anymore was a bit of pretense on McCarthy’s part but he’s such a brilliant writer that I excused it.
The man lied to the boy a lot. The boy was precocious and knew quite a bit about life and to some this seemed implausible, especially for a child so young. But it was important to the narrative, to show how a brave man, father, protector knew so little about their existence. The boy was my favorite character, and at the end I almost cried for him. But I digress.
The fire that they carried. The fire that the man’s wife didn’t have or want to have. The will to survive in a dead world. The good guys. To get up everyday knowing existence wasn’t to exist, that everything has died or will die someday. That fire was the whole point of the book. The details, the precocious little boy, that was all great and kept me reading but the heart of the book, the light in all that death was the will to survive and carry on when all is lost. I don’t know what I’d do if I survived a nuclear holocaust. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to keep going or brave enough to kill myself. What I do know is this book was magnificent and I will be rereading it for years to come.
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