Monday, July 30, 2007

Format Review on McCarthy’s “The Road”

July 2007 – My wife likes to buy books and then let them sit on her nightstand and rot. Every now and then when I’m out of reading material I’ll dig through the piles and pull out what looks like an interesting read. “Kite Runner” was such a finding and I really enjoyed the story.

Recently I went back to the pile and pulled out Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” It said “National Bestseller” and had a bright “Oprah’s Book Club” sticker on it. Must be good right?

I’m only halfway through the book so I’ll reserve judgment until I’m done. Though, I do find it’s format a bit peculiar and flummoxing. First of all I have no idea what the character’s names are. Maybe I missed it, but so far I only know them as a father and a son. For all I know, they could be Dick and Dick Junior. Has anyone else read another book where after two hundred pages, you don’t know one character’s name?

Secondly, there are no chapters. I feel like I’m reading one of my lengthy emails at work. Page after page, and no break. There are a few “…” subchapter breaks that most authors use, but no “Chapter 1” like we’re used to.

Third, the punctuation is lacking. “Didn’t” is spelled “didnt” which even confuses Microsoft Word. It’s almost like I edited it (I’m know to lack attention to detail).

Fourth, and final, dialog lacks the normally accepted syntax I’m used to. Participates change in a single paragraph and quotations are missing. I often find myself confused on who is talking. Dad, son or some character introduction I missed?

Again I’ll reserve judgment until I’m finished, but so far I’ve found the format to be arcane.

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