Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cormac Mc Carthy

Over Christmas I read The Road by Cormac Mc Carthy and this week went to see No Country for Old Men.

The Road is one of those post-apocalyptic books completely unlike any other story of that kind I have read. It looks at a relationship and how at the end of the day (or the world) thats all it comes down to - how it affects the relationships you have. The story is about a father-son relationship who are as McCarthy puts it, "each the other's world entire." Though there seems to be no reason to go on amongst the destruction of human spirit they have faith that there are other "good guys" who are "carrying the fire" like them.

This is a note I wrote after reading it: 'It gave me nightmares...a) because I desperately wanted to keep reading to the end despite having a sleep deficit and b) because it should. Its a warning but also a prayer...the hope that is implicit in any tale of the end of the world...the hope that we won't cause it and if we do the hope that we can deal with it with love'.

No Country for Old Men, a Coen Brother film based on the book of the same name, casted Tommy Lee Jones perfectly in the role of Ed Tom Bell, a sheriff following up a case and unfolding the world again in terms of relationships and in particular that of his one with his father. Some great 'sit up and think' moments like when Ed says of his dead father:

"I’m older now’n he ever was by twenty years. So in a sense he’s the younger man."

Never thought of passing my parents out in age. Reminds me of two ages I remember my mum being: 27 and 38. When I turned 40 it made little impact on me compared to when I turned 27. 27 was the first age I remember my mum being and when I got as old as my mum I reckoned that was really old so nothing phased me after that. When I turned 38 I put myself in my mums shoes again but this time at the age I made her a grandmother and realised how odd it would feel to be a grandmother at 38 when there's still so much mothering and growing up to do.

Whatever the next milestone, as Mc Carthy reminds us, its all a journey, which you can measure in terms of distance and numbers or in terms of the experience and relationships you have with the people you share the journey with.

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