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Engaging Methuen Readers


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Bookish Confessions: the right book at the right time

I checked out Lev Grossman’s The Magicians from the library five times.  Not because I loved it so much and wanted to re-read it, but because it just didn’t “take” on tries one through four.  What kind of an idiot wastes their time trying to read a book, voluntarily, over and over again without getting into it, especially when there is access to an almost infinite number of other interesting books?  A book nerd.  A very determined book nerd.  A book nerd who is studying readers’ advisory and has had the famous phrase “the right book for the right person at the right time” drilled into them.

When it came out in 2009, The Magicians garnered rave reviews from professional journals and readers alike, as a noteworthy literary fantasy for adults.  That sounds great, said I, and picked up the book, only to return it largely unread.  Maybe it will catch my attention more if I read it in the winter, I thought?  Nope.  Over the years, several friends and colleagues suggested it to me as a book I would like.  Yes, but no. I guess it was just the wrong time.

Cut to the pandemic of 2020 and stay-at-home orders…I’m working from home and have The Magicians at hand.  With no reading pressures on me and time to spare, I finally found the right book at the right time.  I am a little over halfway through the book and all indicators point to a satisfactory finish in the next week.  All I had to do to get into the book was wait for a world-wide pandemic.  Who knew?


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If you like “Normal People” by Sally Rooney…

Perhaps you binge-watched the critically-acclaimed 12 episode Hulu series “Normal People”, and are eager to read the equally acclaimed novel of the same name by Sally Rooney.

While you are waiting for your turn with the ebook or eaudio,  Penguin Random House Morning Book Buzz suggests you may like the following readalikes:

Cover image for White fur :White Fur : a novel by Jardine Libaire (2017)

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. White Fur follows them as they wander through Newport mansions and East Village dives, WASP yacht clubs and lower Manhattan, fighting the forces determined to keep them apart.  Also available in ebook format.

 

Cover image for Single, carefree, mellow :Single, carefree, mellow: stories by Katherine Heiny (2015)

A collection of ten stories is filled with unwelcome house guests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, betrayal, jealousy, and flirtatious older men, and takes readers on a guided tour of the human heart.

 

 

Cover image for You think it, I'll say it :

You Think It, I’ll Say It:  stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (2018)

“In crisp, surprising language, these ten stories from novelist Sittenfeld (Eligible) put couples’ foibles under the spotlight, offering damning details of banality to show how the slog of daily living knocks idealized romance out of its misleading No. 1 spot as the goal of pairing up” –Beth Andersen (Reviewed 01/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 1, p94) Also available in ebook & eaudio format.

 

The Margot Affair by Sanaë LemoineThe Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine  (June, 2020)

The secret daughter of a French politician and a famous actress drops the startling revelation that will shatter her family in this beguiling debut novel of intrigue and betrayal. Will also be available in ebook format.

 


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On Walking…

It’s free, it’s fun, it’s still allowed… it’s walking! During our current circumstances I, like many people, have rediscovered the simple joys of taking a walk outdoors. Walking is good for our physical health (provided we practice our social distancing), and just as importantly, it helps us to clear our minds and focus on the here and now.  On my own recent walks, I have discovered many delights, from local architectural details to wildlife, that I would normally miss when driving. Speaking of which, even the drivers seem more polite these days, stopping for me at crosswalks in a most unhurried fashion!

Here are some books on the subject of walking — from the history of it, to personal narratives of “wild” walkers and a memorable fictional character who is on both a figurative and literal journey.

Cover image for Wanderlust :Wanderlust : a history of walking by Rebecca Solnit (2000)
A cultural history of walking explores the practice, from ancient Greece to the present, delving into Wordsworth, Gary Snyder, Rousseau, Jane Austen, and other cultural and literary icons to show how this basic activity has been imagined throughout history.

 

 

Cover image for On trailsOn Trails:  an exploration by Robert Moore (2016)
A groundbreaking exploration of the role of trails in shaping culture, order and history draws on the author’s international travels and findings in myriad disciplines while exploring examples ranging from tiny ant trails and continental hiking paths to interstate highways and the Internet.

 

 

Cover image for WalkingWalking by Henry David Thoreau (1862)
This essay, published posthumously, is considered by many to resemble a concise version of “Walden.” Thoreau considers walking to be an effective way to explore both his inner and outer worlds. As he rambles through the woods, his thoughts ramble far and wide until they encompass his hopeful vision for the entire American continent.

Also available as an ebook in Libby (Overdrive)

Using her wits and skills as a hunter to get by, a woman describes her solo 10,000-mile trek across the Gobi desert where she encountered mafiosos, drug dealers, thieves on horseback, temperature extremes, dehydration, ringworm and dengue fever.

 

Cover image for The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry :The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012)
Recently retired, Harold Fry lives in a small English village with a wife who seems irritated by everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next until a letter arrives in the mail from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy, in hospice, is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply, but a chance encounter at the corner mailbox convinces him that he must deliver it in person. So Harold sets off on a six-hundred mile journey because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

 


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2019-2020 Nevins Library Book Group Schedule

It’s that time of year again…back to school for kids and back to book clubs for adults!

Do you enjoy reading books? Or want to find new and different books to read? Join one of Nevins Library’s Adult Book Clubs!

We have books in a variety of different genres and topics that the clubs and groups read. More information about all of the Book Groups can be found on our website (with descriptions and sometimes the books/themes we’ll be reading).

And the dates that they’re happening can be found on our Calendar of Events (and even if you don’t plan on participating in any of the Book Groups, go see the Calendar of Events anyway. It’s awesome!!)

Bestseller Book Group – Meets the 1st Tuesday of Each Month @ 7 PM 

Contact Pat for more information.

Thursday Evening Book Discussion – Meets the 1st Thursday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Krista for more information.

Stranger than Fiction (Non-Fiction) Book Group – Meets the 2nd Monday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Tatjana for more information

LGBT Book Discussions – Meets the 2nd Thursday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Krista for more information

Sociable Seniors – Meets the last Friday of Each Month @ 10 AM

Contact Tracy for more information

Wednesday Afternoon Book Group – Meets the 3rd Wednesday of Each Month @ 1 PM

Contact Sarah for more information

NEW-ish Forever Young-ish Book Group – Meets the 3rd Thursday of Each Month @ 7 PM

Contact Amy for more information.

You can always call us at 978-686-4080 to find out more about any of these groups as well.

We hope to see you at one or more of these if they spark your interest!!


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Immigration Stories

Immigration StoriesWhether you or your family came to the United States a year ago or a century ago, this is a country of immigrants, so it’s no wonder that stories about the immigrant experience resonate so strongly with readers. Even if our knowledge of our family’s immigration story is hazy and passed down through many generations, literature that illustrates the challenges, triumphs, and emotions of resettling in a new homeland compels us to view life through a lens very different from our own.

From the story of an escape from a shantytown in Zimbabwe depicted in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names to the harsh landscape that faces a young Norwegian immigrant in Peter Geye’s The Lighthouse Road, these stories shed light on the immigrant experience. Many people come to this country without knowing much if any English, and one of their first priorities upon coming to the country is to learn the language.

In our own community, there are newcomers who need help learning English and adjusting to their new country and culture. There is a long waiting list at many of the programs in the area, and Literacy Volunteers of Methuen is no exception; we are nearing 70 prospective students waiting for a tutor.

Through Literacy Volunteers, tutors are paired with a student and they work with this student for two hours a week, to give them dedicated attention and specialized teaching suited to the student’s unique needs. If you would like to help someone, please consider attending an orientation for the Literacy Volunteers of Methuen fall training. There are three orientations to choose from:

Saturday September 23, 10-11 a.m.
Wednesday September 27, 7-8 p.m.
Thursday September 28, 10-11 a.m.

After that, the six-week training program will begin on October 11 at 6:30 p.m. If you have any questions about the program or training, please contact Kathleen Kenny at 978-686-4080, ext. 32 or LitVolMeth@gmail.com.

Other fiction titles you may enjoy include: These stories portray the experiences of immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, China, and many countries in between.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Song of the Water Saints by Nelly Rosario

The Lightning Keeper by Starling Lawrence

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Free Life by Ha Jin

The Mortifications by Derek Palacio

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

Towelhead by Alicia Erian

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez


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Books and Beer. And Maybe Some More Beer.

The plus side of having a beer nerd on staff (the only plus side that I can discern) is that if you want to celebrate Oktoberfest with a blog post, you have someone who will go way over the top in preparation. Let’s just set aside the fact that Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated in Germany in late September and ends the first weekend in October.

Humor me.

The leaves are turning, there is apple picking, pumpkin carving, reading by the fire. And there is beer. In my quest to successfully pair books with beer, I wanted to stay local. If you live near the Nevins Memorial Library, all of these breweries can be reached within 30 minutes of driving.

 

Beer: Smuttlabs Biere De’Shire

Book: Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

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In 2007 Smuttlabs was created as a small batch/experimental/fun-things-that-can’t-be done-large-scale deal by Smuttynose (Hampton, NH). Their stuff is harder to find if you’re not from the area, but if you can make it to Smutty or their neighboring restaurant, Hayseed, it’s easily accessible right now.

Saisons are my jam. Historically brewed in Belgian farmhouses during the off-season and then primarily consumed by farm workers as a form of payment, they actually taste like you’re on a farm. Biere De’Shire was brewed with Brettanomyces which means even more of that funkiness. Medium orange/honey color with fruity flavors and a bit of spice. The Brett doesn’t come through super strong and it’s actually a little sweet for a saison, so if you’re not a fan of the typical funkiness associated with Brett I’d still give it a try.

Starting with a bonfire of one Guy Fawkes Day and ending one year later, Return of the Native is mostly people running around outside. Okay, it’s definitely so much more than that, but Hardy was absolutely obsessed with creating pastoral literature that yearned for a time before the Industrial Revolution. If you’re a fan of crazy love triangles before a time in which they were acceptable, descriptions of the outdoors which are beyond compare, and most characters that you love dying (definitely a precursor to George R.R. Martin) then sip on some farmhouse funk and imagine you’re there. It’s more beautiful than it sounds, I promise.

 

Beer: Earth Eagle Brewings Rhubie

Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Image result for earth eagle rhubie        Image result for me talk pretty one day

Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth, NH will take you by surprise. Approaching it, you might think that it’s a colorfully painted garage behind a homebrew store. Don’t let appearances deceive; it happens to be home to some incredible food and many gruits, including this amazing sour. “What is a gruit?” you may ask, for they are far and few between. Before hops were extensively used in the brewing process, one could make an herbal medley (depending on what was available and the desired flavor of the resulting beverage) to preserve the drink. If you’re interested in why gruits were phased out, you can read a whole lot about the emancipation of German princes during the Protestant Reformation. All you need right now: Gruits are good. They are still a thing. They are in Portsmouth. Go find them.

Like Biere D’Shire is good if you’re not used to saisons, Rhubie is great for sour newcomers. This gruit uses wormwood for preservation and is dry-hopped with rhubarb and sumac. The rhubarb comes through for a fruity, juicy taste. Mildly funky and moderately sour, the sourness doesn’t stick around like many of the palatte-wreckers out there.

I paired this with a compilation of short stories by one of America’s leading humor writers, David Sedaris. The tales relate Sedaris’ life growing up in Raleigh, living in New York, and then moving to Normandy with his partner and knowing no French. The journey is both sweet and sour. While you may know Sedaris from public radio, his prose is juicy, mildly funky, and sometimes sour, just like Rhubie.

 

Beer: The Tap Brewing Company Joshua Norton

Book: Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson

Image result for the tap brewing            

Located in downtown Haverhill, The Tap produces a wide range of beers on their limited system, similar to Earth Eagle. They distribute more widely though, so Joshua Norton will be easier to find in bottles than the other beers listed here. The brewpub is located in an old leather factory, Haverhill previously being known as the “Queen Slipper City” for its shoe production. Now the building houses a 10 barrel system that pumps out some pretty great stuff.

Joshua Norton was the English-born, self-proclaimed king of the United States in the mid-1800s. He was pretty crazy and the story is really interesting, but I’m not exactly sure why a Russian Imperial Stout was named after him. Drink this and you won’t care. Dark brown in color, this seasonal winter beer has notes of chocolate and coffee with a bit of smoky flavor. The body is lighter than most stouts. It ages well, so if you find it whaling on the shelves of some store that doesn’t rotate their stock, go for it.

In M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead there’s the added bonus of a local author. Anderson often appears at book signing events in the area to promote his work and is hilarious in his speeches. Despite his humor, he manages to hit some pretty intense topics in his writing, such as this latest non-fiction (yes, it’s Young Adult – read it anyway). When Leningrad had been trapped for almost three years by Hitler’s Wehrmacht and the Soviet government, the culmination of terror hit in the winter of 1943-44. Dmitri Shostakovich memorialized the terror that the citizens faced in his Leningrad Symphony. Obviously I had to pair this with a solid Russian Imperial Stout.

 

Go books and beer!


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Book Review: When Rain Clouds Gather

When Rain Clouds Gather: And Maru

When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head

This is the late South African writer Bessie Head’s first novel, which was published in 1968. When the novel opens, Makhaya is in flight for violent actions taken undermining the colonial system of 1960s South Africa. His escape and subsequent journey in search of self-determination parallels Head’s own coerced migration from apartheid South Africa into the rural and isolated country of Botswana. While Head fled death threats for her political writing, Makhaya is a dissident of a more extreme kind. He is a murderer and a terrorist in South Africa, and it is not enough for him simply to escape physically from the imminent threat on his life. His actions are a complete spiritual and existential rejection of his place in a dehumanizing political structure, and he fatalistically holds onto plans for the bombing he has carried out even as he awaits the right moment to attempt crossing the heavily guarded border. However, even in a destitute backwater, like the village he will find himself in, life is not simple.

Rapidly, Makhaya is taken under the wing of both a kind, old farmer named Dinorego and Dinorego’s adopted British son, Gilbert, who is an enthusiastic and much-learned agricultural specialist. Dinorego sees Makhaya as a potential husband for his daughter. Gilbert sees the village of Golema Mmidi as an opportunity to implement the latest farming techniques in order to create prosperity in his impoverished adopted home. He sees Makhaya as a potential partner in realizing his vision and a fellow stranger to the land but one with a better shot at communicating to the village and integrating Gilbert’s radical ideas into the culture. However, local politics, despots, and opportunists continually create obstacles that impede their progress.

Recent criticism of When Rain Clouds Gather has taken exception to the advocacy of Western agricultural intervention in Africa and tends to see the novel as a somewhat straightforward allegory of three diverse, resourceful outsiders triumphing over a corrupt society. (Like Makhaya and Gilbert, Dinorego is not from Golema Mmidi. He and the character Madame Millipede are from northern Botswana.) However, nothing in this novel is so straightforward, and ambivalence belies a story which on the surface seems to support the idea that the seeming noble intentions of the main characters can form any protection against the insidious political powers already at play.

Probably the best way to tease out greater complexity from the novel is to pay particular attention to the place of women. Not only do the idealistic actions of the men rely on and perhaps exploit the inferior status of women in rural Botswana, a status that would have directly impacted Head and that recapitulates the colonial hierarchy, but each of the three main women characters can be seen as embodying an equally valid alternative or even an implicit critique of each of the leading men. Maria, Dinorego’s daughter, insists on passion to the altruistically rational Gilbert and helps him discover the limits of his egalitarianism. Paula, another northern tranplant, meets Makhaya’s spiritual reserve and repressed violence with abject love and devotion. And Mme. Millipede resists definitively knowing anything about anyone while her great friend Dinorego can decide a complete stranger should marry his daughter after asking a single question.

by Jolie Tulley, guest book reviewer


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Destination Maine: a literary travel guide for the whole family

Destination Maine:  Vacation Land!

Summer has sprung, the kids are out of school and we’re getting hot to trot.  The cool ocean waves, the tall shady pine trees, fresh blueberries and luscious lobster all beckon us to the classic New England vacation state, Maine.  Before you head out there, be sure to stop by your library and pick up books for the whole family to enjoy.

Children’s picture books:

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One Morning in Maine by Robert McClosky
An exciting day, the loss of Sal’s first tooth, is realistically recaptured by this fine storyteller and in the large, extraordinary blue-pencil drawings of Penobscot Bay.  Pair with Blueberries for Sal, another classic by McClosky.

The Wicked Big Toddlah by Kevin Hawkes
A year in the life of a baby in Maine who is just like any other baby except that he is gigantic. Silly fun!

L is for Lobster by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds ; illustrated by Jeannie Brett
A Maine alphabet!

 

For Older Children:

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Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord
When the state of Maine threatens to shut down their island’s one-room schoolhouse because of dwindling enrollment, eleven-year-old Tess, a strong believer in luck, and her family take in a trumpet-playing foster child, to increase the school’s population.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers–and Turner’s–want to change into a tourist spot.

The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick
After his mother’s death, twelve-year-old Skiff Beaman decides that it is up to him to earn money to take care of himself and his father, so he undertakes a dangerous trip alone out on the ocean off the coast of Maine to try to catch a huge bluefin tuna.

For Teens:

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The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
In the late-eighteenth century, eleven-year-old Matt befriends an Indian boy of the Beaver clan who helps him survive alone in the wilderness.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
“Perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet online when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two 17-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship from opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names. What’s more, Ellie doesn’t know Graham is a famous actor, and Graham doesn’t know about the big secret in Ellie’s family tree. When the relationship goes from online to in-person, they find out whether their relationship can be the real thing”

Need by Carrie Jones
Depressed after the death of her stepfather, high school junior Zara goes to live with her grandmother in a small Maine town, where new friends tell Zara the strange man she keeps seeing may be a pixie king, and that only “were” creatures can stop him from taking souls.

 

For Adults:

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The State We’re In: Maine Stories by Ann Beattie
This is about more than geographical location of Maine, and certainly is not a picture postcard of the coastal state. Some characters have arrived by accident, others are trying to get out. The collection opens, closes, and is interlaced with stories that focus on Jocelyn, a wryly disaffected teenager living with her aunt and uncle while attending summer school. As in life, the narratives of other characters interrupt Jocelyn’s, sometimes challenging, sometimes embellishing her view.

Town in a Blueberry Jam by B.B. Haywood
“In the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has a mostly idyllic life, tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father, and occasionally stepping to to solve a murder or two… Candy is just as shocked as the rest of the locals when two murders occur back-to-back… When her friend, a local handyman, is accused of the murder, Candy investigates to clear his name…But as Candy sorts through the town’s juicy secrets, things start to get very sticky indeed…”

The Hungry Ocean: a SwordBoat’s Captain’s Journey by Linda Greenlaw (Non-Fiction)
The female captain of a swordfishing vessel chronicles the experience of a month long fishing voyage.

Also, check out the 2016 Maine Literary Awards for more titles.

What other books summon up summer in Maine to you?

 


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Did you miss our Spring Fling with Books Thursday Night?

bookgrass

That’s okay, because I’m here to present to all you gentle readers a list based on the books that were talked about last night. If you have any questions about them, feel free to drop by the Reference Desk and speak to one of us (or any one at the Reference Desk. We’re all librarians who love to talk about books!)

Now, in no particular order our books that we flung Spring-ily:

http://catalog.mvlc.org/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/r/1393471Krista

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux
House by Tracy Kidder
Dead Wake by Erik Larsen
As Always, Julia ed. by Joan Reardon

 

Snow Crash

Anna

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
The Stand by Stephen King
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

 

Image of itemTatjana

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Dangerous Women ed. by George R.R. Martin
The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

 

Image of itemDanielle

Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron
Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen
Lock In by John Scalzi
Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn
Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick

 

tl;dr We would very much like it if you came to the Reference Desk and talked to us about books!


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Review: Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”

Bleak.

If you came here for a quick summary of Cormac McCarthy’s modern classic, then congratulations, because there you have it. Before it is brilliant, before it is visceral or shocking or profound, The Road is devastatingly, crushingly bleak.

The setting for this book is a massive, global extinction event. This is not a rollickin’ Mad Max-type apocalypse where badasses with shotguns take on oil tankers and dismantle the patriarchy. In this blasted and blackened landscape, the fiery bang that ended civilization was merely the precursor to the whimper with which the human species would finally expire, years later, of starvation and cold. A man and his young son, who is quite possibly the last child on Earth, struggle through a constant snow of falling ash down a road where cannibals and thieves stalk them constantly. Burned and desiccated corpses far outnumber the living humans they meet, and in general, the corpses are much better company. The only other survivors they encounter are a colony of mushrooms. The grass is dead. The trees are dead. The ants are dead. The sooty remains of everything humanity believed to be immutable are grayed by piles of the same ash that chokes the man with every breath.

In the dying twilight of the human race, the boy is the man’s reason, his justification, and his hope. Neither the boy nor the man ever gets a name. The man is every man and any man. We don’t know what he did before the catastrophe that destroyed life on Earth. Maybe he was a software developer. Maybe he was a farmer. Both of those professions are equally obsolete on the road. The man’s job is the last, first, and most basic job of life: keep the species alive. Continue the genes. Let me be the first to say that he does a great job considering the circumstances.

But there is more to life than grinding along above ground. The man is a relic of a world that, ultimately, was not viable. As such, the man makes certain assumptions and indulges in certain justifications that make sense in the paradigm of the old world. It so happens that the other people they meet on the road are also of that world – adults who saw everything go to hell and responded in accordance with how that world had prepared them. The boy, on the other hand, has never known anything but ashen forests and melted blacktop. To him, other humans aren’t threats. They’re rare, even precious.

Both the boy and the man have lonely moments, of course, and they are nuanced and profoundly moving. However, the man’s something of a…well, a man. He does not talk about his squishy feels and strikes one, directly from the get-go, as a tough bastard. The boy is kinder, softer. Though the man does his best to toughen up his kid, his entire existence is dedicated to making sure that his expressive, emotional child survives, as though the very sensitivity that endangers the child’s life in the unforgiving landscape are also a critical piece of what he wants to preserve. Makes ya think, huh?

The story is one of survival and of what survival means. The why of existence is too often lost on real-life bunker builders and preppers and end times nuts. Why survive? Once everyone else is dead, what reason is there to go on? McCarthy’s message is multifaceted, but at its heart is the idea that purpose is transformative. It is what separates humans from what happens to walk on two legs. It’s more important than food, fire, and the ability to read.

It might be too far a stretch to say that McCarthy is the inheritor of the Hemingway literary tradition, but McCarthy is the inheritor of the Hemingway literary tradition. His prose is as spare as a dead cedar tree in a nuclear winter. He strings together “ands” and sentence fragments that keep it feeling edgy. For example, to quote one of the book’s more cheerful passages:

He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running.

It’s a rare author who enhances his post-apocalyptic book about a frozen and dying world with actual chills that run down your spine.

It’s a quick read (or listen, if you prefer) and one that sticks with you for days. Possibly longer. I’ve already put aside the cranial real estate to continue thinking about it for a long time.

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