What’s on the Desk Now

It’s a wonderful reading list these last few weeks. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (surprisingly new, with breathtaking touches) is stacked with Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha (which now answers lots of questions about Bone), John Porcellino’s Perfect Example (the ending is perfectly wrought and just sings), Jamie Hernandez’ Love and Rockets(dare I say clean), and lots of Shakespeare–Macbeth (I love and hate this play) and Twelfth Night (I can’t get enough of this). This is an interesting test of styles, subjects, lines, and adventures.

The season began with McCarthy. I came to The Road reluctantly. I rarely read book reviews and had only heard of the the novel from Susan Gibb or mentioned on other weblogs. The gift was given and I started and finished the novel off in a few days. I’m a persistent rereader (I reread as I read, in fact), but haven’t had a chance yet for a second go. The Road is grueling, but not like Mishima. I’m drawn to Father and son stories for good reasons and McCarthy’s intimate journey is therefore a good fit and it also fits my long-time mood over this bizzaro world we now live in. Suttree, whose main character reminds me of a presence beside whom I still walk, is in The Road’s class–different than Blood Meridian and Outter Dark. As such stories go, the end hands off to the story to come. It’s a new world. But it won’t ever be what it was, and this sense of absolute rearrangement, loss, and desperation is powerfully described. This is the novel from start to finish. The setting is as strange as a setting can be. Sure, Bradbury had to develop a strange world in the Chronicles, but the world of The Road is ours absent “ours.” The boy has a toy truck. But what an odd piece of matter. And when the old days surface, they come like a sweet and fleeting memory. What a ride.