Monday, June 1, 2009

Where is everybody?

I just finished reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road [Large print | Book on CD]. I know, where have I been, right? People were saying this book was great awhile ago. Oprah, too. Hype can ruin things for me (The Blair Witch Project, for example), so I tend to avoid books/movies/etc., that have enormous buzz around them. After the hype has died down a bit, if I'm still interested, I'll grab the book.

The Road, for those of you in the dark, is a novel involving a father and his young son traveling south along a road, fleeing the cold of winter. I got the impression from the story that they were in the western US, but I could be wrong. I don't have any idea about what happened to civilization, but most everything is covered in ash and everyone fends for themselves. Survival is the story, not how the world turned out the way it is. The focus is on the man and the boy who scavenge for what food they can find amidst burned forests and sacked houses. They view themselves as the good guys for reasons that are easily, shockingly apparent, although it's difficult to see anything in this setting in black and white. I'm excited for the movie due out this fall.

If you've already read The Road, perhaps you'd be interested in Night Work by Thomas Glavinic. It's another work that considers the end of civilization in a primarily psychological manner. Jonas wakes up one morning to discover that everyone else in the world has disappeared. The story follows his search for others, as he is unable to believe that he is the only remaining person on the planet. It begs readers to consider what they would do in this situation, which can lead one to disagree with Jonas's actions, but perhaps relate to his growing madness.

I know I've read similar works, but I'm hitting a mental block. If you have suggestions for similar titles, please post them in the comments. Thanks!

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