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Still Unreadable…

(Wordle) Cormac McCarthy - The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy I mean. What? You’re saying its the greatest piece of modern literature EVER.

No, it really is not. And perhaps I might even get through it, were I be able to read through the wall of text which I am confronted with every time I try. I have this book in hard book form, tried to read it, couldn’t manage it. I figured why not give it a go in e-book format? Maybe on the good old Nook I could digest it more, figure out how to follow the words on the page.

That is, distinguish between narrative and dialogue. HA! Look, I could careless about periodsquestion marks, and commas. I really do think how an author employs those things is more a matter of personal style than, hard or fast “rules”. But the single most thing which makes The Road hard to read, even more so in e-book format, is a complete lack of quotation marks. On an ereader lacking these simple symbols {” “} what you get is a block of text, where you cannot even see what’s going on.

As I said, Cormac McCarthy‘s unique  punctuation style, or lack thereof, NOT AN ISSUE. I would refer you to Lin Robinson’s Rules… much of what we take to be codified English, is not in fact codified. Nor is it a means to telling a great story.

However these little symbols {” “} are a necessity, meant to reduce chance of a migraine on part of your reader. Not using them, is no indication of genius. I know a guy who will write blog rants in this style. its painful on the eye, hard to tell what he is saying. What you get is a massive block of text which becomes meaningless.

OK, now that I’ve unleashed the wrath of Cormac McCarthy fans everywhere. Allow me to restate.  I’ve made two attempts to read this book, which I’m informed is quite genius, or I would not have made a second attempt. Each time was a headache inducing experience. I gave it my best shot.

Though, maybe I shouldn’t put too much credence in the NY Times Book Review. I know, I’m an apostate for uttering such a thing.

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  1. April 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Well, if it helps this isn’t even on my tbr list. I guess maybe I’m just not one for “genius” ;) Oh, and I like lots of paragraphs, LOL!

    • Rodney C. Johnson
      April 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Yeah I do the tiny small paragraph thing as well. :)

      My friend Charlie was in awe of this book. I figured, if it impressed him, not an easy thing, it must be good.

      That is, until my eyes felt like they were going to bleed from trying to follow what was going on…

  2. April 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    This book was terrible. That is all.

    • Rodney C. Johnson
      April 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      LOL. OK its not just me.

  3. J. R. Nova
    April 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I’m usually pretty forgiving of writers who make mistakes, if the book is still good (story or topic). But I’d go nuts trying to read something wtihout quotation marks!

    • Rodney C. Johnson
      April 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      In this case, it’s Cormac McCarthy’s style choice, which has been lauded as “genius”. Like I said, I can ignore all sorts of punctuation things, primarily what counts is the author being clear? That’s what counts. Lack of quotation marks, goes and muddles it all up, adding much unneeded work on the part of the reader. ;)

      • April 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        I never understood why critics insist on calling everything that is different from the norm “genius.” Lack of punctuation, run-on sentences, and a dark storyline do not a genius make.

      • Rodney C. Johnson
        April 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        The cynicism running through modern literature seems to be a prerequisite for what is considered “genius”. It’s not just books, overall entertainment fiction has become darker these days.

        I view writing a bit like painting, or sculpting, though I’m not big on “Modern Art”, or overly abstract depictions. An artist need only be clear in their creation. I can’t even judge this book on its supposed merits because its style causes my eyes to bleed. Making readers eyes bleed is a good indication, you’re lacking clarity in style.

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