Salitter drying from the earth

In all likelihood anyone who googles “salitter” will be directed here to my review of The Road.

When I googled “salitter” I found this.

Generally I prefer novels that are entertaining reads. I want a sensical plot and a fulfilling resolution. I don’t need to be “challenged” but I’m happy if I’m given something to think about. Water for Elephants, The World According to Garp and The Dogs of Babel meet these criteria. These are the kinds of books I’d like to write.

I could never write a book like The Road. It’s like a painting. Or a poem. It’s art.

Cormac McCarthy uses words like “salitter,” phrases like “ensepulchred within their crozzled hearts,” and he doesn’t use commas. He doesn’t want you to breeze through his book. As a friend of mine put it, “It’s written to make you uncomfortable.”

I had to reread commaless sentences to figure out where the pauses went. I had to mark words to look up later.

Narratively I felt like the postapocalyptic story became repetitive. They walked on the road. They found a place to camp. Maybe they found food and ate it or maybe they were hungry. They encountered some danger. They were afraid and desperate, teetering on the brink of hopelessness.

But it was so beautiful.

As the story wore on I wondered why the father and son kept walking on this road. I understood why the wife/mother didn’t stay with them. There was no hope. I kept reading to find out if they would reach the coast and what would happen when they did although I suspected they wouldn’t find what they needed. They weren’t the last two people on earth but they might as well have been since they trusted no one else not to eat them or steal their stuff. Or both.

One of them was going to die and then what was the other one going to do? Keep walking the road alone? Each was the other’s reason for keeping on.

Here’s why I loved this book. Here’s why it’s art: After all the harrowing desperation, the ending was uplifting. As happy an ending as you could hope to have after the apocalpyse.