The Road – Cormac McKarthy | Alfred A. Knopf | New York | 2007

Another book was lent to be by The Librarian this week. I read it all in one sitting. Paying attention to the notes and outlines from a previous reader, I collected them all for you to read here. This is a story of someone who read this book before me, a window into someone elses way of reading and experiencing this book. 

 

The Road – Cormac McKarthy 

Binoculars!

Looking for anything of color. Any movement.

Any trace of standing smoke.

If he is not the word of God, God never spoke, she thought. ‘

Plastic tarp. Plastic bag. Plastic bottle.

Chrome motorcycle window to watch the road behind them.

Are you OK?

He grabbed the phone, dialed the number of his father.

What do you see?
Nothing.
He lowered his glasses.

Are we going to die?
Sometime. Not now.
So we¨ll be warm
Yes

Okay

What would you do if I died?
If you died I would want to die too.
So you could be with me?
Yes. So I could be with you.

Okay.

If only my heart were stone.

You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.
This it the day to shape the days upon.

He painted his facemask with fangs on with crayons,
Took great marching steps into nothingness, counting them against his return.

It¨s snowing.
A single gray flake sifting down.

From daydreams on the road there was no waking.

I want you to drink it.
It¨s because I wont ever get to drink another one, isn¨t it?

We should go.
Im scared.
I know.
Im sorry.

Can you do it when time comes?
The girl was all that stood between him and death.

He stood on a stone bridge.
The water underneath?
Gray foam.
Where once he’d watched their perfect shadows on the rocks below.

Everything was alright. As if the lost sun was returning at last.
The color of it moved something in him long forgotten.

Make a list.
Recite a litany.
Remember.

Remember, remember.
If you break little promises, youll break big ones.
I know.
but I won’t.

Im freezing.
Do you want to go in?
I dont know.

He told her stories. Old stories of courage and justice. (as he remembered them).
I dont know who you will be next time, and I can’t hear you.

Am I ready?

Who is it?

Who is anybody?

Just follow and watch.
Take a look.

They went on.

No lists of things to be done.

There is no later.
This is later.

I wish I was with my dad.
You mean you wish you were dead.
I cant help it.
I know. But you have to.

We’re survivors he told her across the flame of the lamp.

Please stop it!!!!
I dont care of you cry, it means nothing to me.
Youre talking crazy.

We used to talk about death. We dont anymore. Why?

I wouldn¨t leave you.
Death is not a lover .
Oh yes he is.

Please don`t do this.
Im sorry.
I cant do it alone.

My heart was ripped out the day my _____ died so don’t ask for sorrow now…

Maybe youll be good at this. I doubt it, but who knows.

Cobble together some passable ghost.

Bullet travels faster than sound. It will be in your head before you can hear it.

So be it. Evoke the form.

Construct ceremonies where you have nothing else, out of thin air.

What do you see?
Nothing.

Come back, he called.
I wont hurt you.

What are you doing?
He hissed.

Do you want to die?
I dont care.

You walk too fast.
Ill go slower.

Im talking.
I want to stop.

Trash bags.
Smell of mold and excrement.

They tore through the house.
Front door, down the steps.

Can you do it?
When the time comes?

The soul is quick.

Pull him towards you. Kiss him.
Quickly (slowly).

What makes you wander in circles?
Maybe it changes with hemispheres.

We walked into the gray light and saw for a moment the absolute truth of the world.
The crushing black vacuum of the universe.
Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.

He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in a party game. Say the word and pass it on. So be sparing. What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not.

This is what the good guys do.
They keep trying.
They don¨t give up.

Why is this here. Is it real?
This was NOT hiding in the woods.

I dont think we`re likely to meet any good guys on the road…
– we`re on the road.
– I know.

How do I look?
Like four quarts of bonded whiskey.

I`ve not seen a fire in a long time.

When we`re all gone there will be nobody here but death, and his days will be numbered too. He`ll be out in the road with nothing to do and nobody to do it to.

There’s a train in the forest.
A train?
Is it blue?

The sea?
I dont know.

There are other good guys.
You said so.
They’re hiding.
Who are they hiding from?
Each other.

What you put in your head is there forever.

She was pregnant.
She picked up heavy leaves and crushed them in her hands to powder.

He measured the road with a piece of string. Looked at it, measured again.

Gray ocean.
Gray beach.
Sorry it’s not blue.

What’s on the other side?
Nothing.

Maybe there’s a father and his little boy and they`re sitting on the beach.
And fire, too?
Could be, yes.
And it may rain.
I can smell it.
What does it smell like?
Wet ashes, come on.

Maybe write a letter to the good guys.

I was crying.

He’s going to die.
He’s going to die anyway.

You`re not the one who has to worry about everything!
Yes I am, he said.
I am the one.

I wasn`t going to kill her, he said.
But you did.

Went through the cans in the trash one by one.
A lot of bad things have happened,  but we`re still here.
You don`t think that`s so great.
Its okay.

In the nights sometimes now he`d wake in the black and freezing waste out of softly colored worlds of human love, the songs of birds, the sun.

I want to be with you.
You can`t . You have to carry the fire.
Is it real? The fire?
Where is it? I dont know where it is.

Just take me with you.

Are you one of the good guys?
Yeah.
How do you know
You dont. You have to take a shot.

Are you carrying the fire?
Am i what?

Do you have kids?
No.
Can I go with you?
Yes.

Is that your suitcase?
I dont want people to see her.
There`s noone to see her.
Can I cover her in leaves?
The wind will blow them away…

There is nothing else to be done.
I think I want to say goodbye to him.

Oh, she said .
I am so glad to see you.
She would talk to him sometimes about God.

He tried to talk to God, but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him (and he remembered) and he didnt forget.
The woman said it was alright.

She said that the breath of God was his breath, yet though it pass from man to man through all of time.

Maps and mazes. Of things that could not be put back. Not to be made right again.
In the deep glens were they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.

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