Books: Cormac McCarthy's The Road

I just finished reading Cormac McCarthy’s latest novel, The Road (Knopf, September 2006, 256 pages) and though this book is about as far from fly fishing reverie as one can get, it does end with one of the more remarkable descriptions of brook trout we’ve ever read. I thought we should share:

You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were the vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back.

Readers will find it remarkable that the author is able to render hope from a storyline that is possibly one of the bleakest ever written. McCarthy fans, however, will probably think this is his finest book since Blook Meridian, and it holds enormous poignancy for parents. The Road on Amazon.

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  • Good catch! I too was blown away by that description of brook trout… Its placement in the book is what makes it so powerful.
    It seems like the very idea of the brook trout — its beauty and its purity — is held in direct contrast to the ugly and destructive ways of man.
    I did a write-up with my own thoughts on “The Road” a few weeks back… I neglected to mention the brook trout paragraph, but have a read anyway.
    Cheers.

  • jdubya

    The finest living American author and one of the best of all time. I am glad he has started writing again with an increased frequency. I worried that his fame might slow his pen, but that seems to not be the case. I’m off to the store…..