dystopian futures, difficult reads: Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”

Some books you just shouldn’t re-read, because they were heartbreaking enough the first time.

Sometimes people ask me for tips on reading more. Sometimes I tell them to remember that reading isn’t always fun. I think if you go into reading regularly with this in mind, it’s easier to keep going when the pages are hard, when there is very little time, when the words themselves hurt.

Sometimes reading is fun. And sometimes it’s difficult. And like many difficult things, it is worth it, but it is also work.

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a prime reminder of that to me, this Sunday. I assigned it to my students and so I had to re-read it myself. I remember it as being beautiful and terrible, and it is – I had forgotten just how terrible it was until I began re-reading it. From the first page, my heart was not my own, and the words made of it a twisted and painful lump, working it as relentlessly as time, as hope, as love.

That is all.

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