Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

"Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not to be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."
-The Road, Cormac McCarthy
These words made me cry. Coming at the end of a bleak, but strangely beautiful, tale of a father and son making their way through a ravaged America. A critic described it as the first novel of the globally warmed generation. The author doesn't really seem to take a stand one way or the other. But the sense of loss he creates at the loss of the natural world implies it. I wanted to cry at the sight of a tree or plant for a good while afterwards. Yes, a tear-jerker in a thought-provoking sort of way this book is. Without saying it in as many words, each reference to the greenery, the plants and the animals that have now all been destroyed, is imbued with pathos, the sense of how precious, how indispensable to human living these are.

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