Friday, November 9, 2007

Cormac McCarthy

I feel there have been great demands on coo-coo to come up with new material. Apparently, I have few fans but the ones I do possess are a passionate lot. Or maybe they are just really bored at work. I have been sort of busy/angry at work lately. I have primarily been managing my underling and then spend my free time stewing about how much I hate my job and contemplating how far I can go being snarky at work before people start losing good will with me. Apparently, too far involves me declaring that our company bonuses are the same thing as not receiving bonuses at all, commenting that I feel my new project will be the second worst one I've ever done (in terms of stress and effort not the quality of my work), not laughing at people's weird jokes/backhanded compliments, and then saying quite loudly "I don't need a man to put together a box!" That one really bugged me. What kind of woman can't put together her own goddamned cardboard box? Just read the instructions and do it yourself! God!!! I hate having to be all political and always be charming with your co-workers, sometimes I just want to be left alone!

Anyway, I think I have been in self-pity mode and nothing really struck me as interesting enough to write. But I mustn't disappoint my fans. So here we go.

Let's see, I just finished a book which I absolutely adored. It was Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." It was incredible. I was a little bit embarrassed initially to be reading it on the subway/path because it was a more recent paperback edition which meant it had the Oprah book club stamp on the right hand corner. Cringe. Now, I love Mama O. I think she's swell. I think the mistakes made at her elite girls' school in Africa were terrible but she is doing what she can to rectify the situation. Oprah's a busy lady and does a lot of great things. I don't mind if she preaches or turns people against meat or makes otherwise sane women freak out when she gives out freebies on her show. B/c you know what? I would freak out too around Oprah. She is so powerful and charismatic and say what you will about her being pompous, etc but she's undeniably a smart, strong woman who does inspiring things. I once saw Oprah outside the premiere of "The Color Purple" on Broadway. I was so close to her that I could have literally lunged forward a few feet and touched her. But b/c I'm not a creepy stalker and I don't believe in exercise, I refrained. But it was thrilling to be in her presence. I also think they were must spray paint/shellac her make up on everyday b/c it was flawless and everyone knows Oprah's face looks VERY different without make up. Anyway, the book was about a father and son who are living in this post apocalyptic world. We don't know quite what happened. I think McCarthy is being purposely vague in this respect which I like. Was it a nuclear holocaust? Was this a case of humans destroying nature over time with their greed and violent tendencies? Was there a worldwide virus? Did zombies/vampires take over our land? Probably not the last one b/c this isn't a bad sci-fi horror movie. Regardless, there aren't many humans left walking the earth. Some of the people left are "bad guys", desperate individuals who will do anything to survive. Times are tough - food is scarce, there's no electricity, you can't stay in one place too long, there's no running water - it's just horrible. People have turned to cannibalism and violent theft in order to sustain themselves. It's really gritty and pretty frank about what people need to do in order to survive. Now our father and son protagonists are "good guys" b/c they don't eat people or intentionally (ideally) hurt others. The book is all about their journey, trying to survive and navigate their lives and the love that sustains them. It brings up all these questions about what you would do if you were placed in such a desperate situation and also what is the true meaning of love. I don't want to spoil the book for 2 people reading this blog b/c I've already recommended this book to them, but I will say this. I was very hesitant to read Cormac McCarthy. I had heard good things about him but I always associate him with his border books (which I haven't read). I figured he talks about cowboys and the open range and old fashioned boys and values. This is stuff I just can't relate to. I had heard he was very graphic and violent and I just didn't think his writing style would suit me. Initially, when I started the book, I noticed that McCarthy used very sparse prose. Simple but well done sentences and a lot of back and forth dialog between father and son. I think I tend to enjoy overly verbose stuff as that is the type of person I am. However, this was a really quick and engaging read. I immediately became engrossed in the book and just fell in love with it. It was so well written and the story was just amazing. I was emotionally moved and I found it truly thought provoking. It was one of those books that you can't wait to finish (I wanted to give it 5 stars on goodreads, which is basically friendster/facebook/myspace for books, - a rarity for me) yet at the same time, you don't want to finish b/c that means you cannot read any more of something that brought you so much pleasure. I loved this book so much that I wish I was a man so I could give this book to my father (much like that sorta cute hippish college kid on ER gave his dad played by sorta hot Stanley Tucci) and 5 years later, after I finally harassed him into actually completing a fiction book (my pops don't read much), we would hug each other and cry about the love between a father and son. Sigh.

Cormac McCarthy also wrote "No Country For Old Men" which comes out in theaters today. It stars Javier Bardem and Josh (yawn) Brolin aka Mr. Diane Lane aka James Brolin's son aka Babs's step-son aka Minnie Driver's ex aka dude who wound up in 2 heavyweight movies this fall wearing a crazy thick mustache. The movie is getting great reviews and I'm going to see it tonight. I contemplated reading the book first, but time was of the essence and I decided that I would take the visual cliff's notes way out on this one. If I like it, I will read the book after. Now, here is what I am thinking about. Javier Bardem: hunky and smoldering or weird and tough or ugly beautiful? I mean I think it's universally agreed upon that he is a great actor. Penelope Cruz seems to think his tonsils are hot. But I'm on the fence about his looks. He's big and hulking and he has talent. He has presence which sometimes translates into sex appeal. But his face is kind of rough and ape-ish. I'm not sure if I dig that. He looks like he could take a tree trunk and break it in half with his bare hands and then make a chair out of that wood. That dreadful Ichabod Crane hairdo he sports in "No Country" doesn't do him any favors either. But I just can't decide if I want to jump on the Bardem bandwagon or not. He is also going to star in "Love in the Time of Cholera" this year which I will probably see so I think I'm going to end up seeing more of Javier than ever before.

6 comments:

Julina said...

Coo Coo is back! Thank you for getting me through Friday afternoon. I couldn't have done it without you. By the way, your review of The Road has convinced me to give it a shot. Here goes....

Karen said...

Welcome back Coo Coo! You watch ER???

Lisa XX said...

I only watched it while I was waiting for my "30 Rock" tape to rewind.

Julina said...

Javier Bardem is definitely not ugly beautiful. He's just ugly ugly.

janet said...

Cormac's style takes some getting used to. But, the promise of five stars carries me forth.

janet said...

This book is AMAZING. You will clutch-your-chest cry many times. You will want to hug your father or son - or sister if that's a suitable substitute. You will resolve to be a better citizen of the world, eat more canned fruit, and (dammit) thank your lucky stars that we live in a world with a future. You think your life is tough? Try living on the road.