This review is from: The Road (Paperback)
For the first two thirds I was disappointed. McCarthy writes the novel in an abbreviated style of short sentences. It's like reading an unedited, unformatted screenplay. It's idea. Fullstop. Idea. Fullstop. Idea. Fullstop. It's lazy writing, with little grammar, little sentence structure, rhythm or flow to it. And it gets very boring. Basically it's note form. And the trouble with writing in notes is that the reader reads it as notes. You don't get absorbed into the story world; your eyes skip from one ungrammatical note to the next and you miss what's being described.
However, amongst this bad writing style there are some really beautiful pieces of prose, and as the novel gets nearer to the end the brilliant pieces of writing become more frequent and it becomes a great book. The relationship between the father and son also develops into something really moving and emotional.
Having said that the characterisation is a bit one tone. It could be argued that the writing style and the weary tone of 'the man' is all part of the effect, bringing to life the monotony of the terrible, devastated world, but I just think there are better ways to do this over a hundred and something pages. Because this is a novel, not a short story, and it does feel a bit like a one-message short story.
Many people have praised this book as wonderful, some saying it's the best book for decades and decades, and calling McCarthy the greatest living writer. But if that's the case it only says how bad other writers are, because this isn't a truly great book. It's excellent in places and well worth reading, but not great in total.