I know I’m a million years too late, but have you read this?
I’ve never been one for the American Male voice – I don’t know what it is, but I just find it oppressive and self-conscious (breathe Marcus). It’s unintentional (I think) but most of the stories I’m reading lately are female Australian writers – Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’, Susan Johnson’s ‘The Broken Book’, anything by Sonya Harnett, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve come very very late to the exquisite Charmian Clift. Actually, looking at my bookshelf, this is not a new thing, Ruth Park was, and still is, one of my favourite authors, and I’ve had her in my bookcase for about 25 years. (If you do not own the Harp in the South trilogy, then get thee to thy nearest bookstore. This is Cloudstreet before Cloudstreet was even a twinkle in Mr Winton’s eye). Enid Blyton taught me to read and still hold her dear to my heart. I defy anyone to not be enchanted by MoonFace and Silky. And then of course there is my beloved Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley. English voices I know.
I’ve tried to read the books I should have read – ‘Midnite’s Children’, the Bookers Booker, is coma inducing, I read a third of ‘DeLillo’s Underworld’ about 5 years ago, and have not the heart nor the inclination to finish it, and I’ve forced myself to pick up Dave Eggers ‘Heartbreaking Work’ more times than I care to think about, but it ends up thrown across the room in frustration. Is it because I’m just a cranky feminist who is tired of the male voice? Or is it all Enid Blyton’s fault? Perhaps I’m just a dumb-ass and am missing the point of these great literary works. But life is short, and I’m not going to stick with a book simply because I should.
But Mr McCarthy had me at hello. And not just because My Second Husband is about to hit the big screen as The Man. I’ll admit that what initially kept me turning the page was to see how Mr McCarthy was going to pull this story off – how could he write 300 pages of a man and his son at the end of the world and keep this reader interested? But then I found myself reading until 2am in the morning – and it’s been a long time since a book was un-put-downable. I read this book in two sittings. I finished it at 1am this morning, and then I curled up and wept. And I mean, cried, that heavy sadness that comes from deep in the belly. I haven’t bawled over a book since Sonya’s ‘Of A Boy’. ‘The Road’ left me with the same feeling that ‘Pans Labyrinth’ left me with. Such sadness amidst such horror and fear – and real fear, do you know how many times I checked the windows and the doors?
Read this book. Clear a weekend, and read this book.