I did go with fiction (super-fiction, I can only hope) in the form of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I have had this book on my TBR shelf(ves) for awhile, but I've heard some bits from friends that piqued my interest once again. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of McCarthy's. Not out of disrespect for his craft, but because he is so invariably dark in his subject matter. Thus, the likely reason he has sat on my shelf for about a year or so.
Here's the deal, though: 30 pages in, and I was already blown away, transported, saddened, and impressed. Now I'm 100 pages in, I still don't know exactly what has happened (though it is totally unnecessary to know the details), and I remain in awe of the vision, craft, and depth of experience McCarthy has created here.
There are a lot of fragments here, which put me off at first, but I quickly grasped the effectiveness and appropriateness of that writing choice. It contributes to the desolation of the world this boy and man are attempting to survive. It also highlights McCarthy's skill that he can write in fragments and still convey beauty and love and poetic truths.
Some of the best bits so far:
This was the perfect day of his childhood. This the day to shape the days upon. (13)
No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you. (54)
This is my child, he said. I wash a dead man's brains out of his hair. That is my job. Then he wrapped him in a blanket and carried him to the fire. . . . All of this like some ancient anointing. So be it. Evoke the forms. Where you've nothing else construct ceremonies out of air and breathe upon them. (74)
There are actually many truths within this fiction (as all good fiction must have), but one truth in particular is really bothering me. My copy of this book comes with a good-sized gold seal proclaiming it to be a Pulitzer Prize winner. Good marketing, that. Surely a Pulitzer Prize winner must be worthy of purchase, right? Directly to the right of the Pulitzer seal was the smaller but still prominent sticker marking this book as an Oprah's Book Club selection. The sad truth I'm pointing to here is that the Oprah sticker probably sold way more copies than the Pulitzer Prize. I'm just saying.