Sunday, March 13, 2011

Extreme books

I have a morbid fascination with books that are about the extremes of survival. My favourite book so far for 2011 has been 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy.  It was made into a movie that, having now read the book, I have zero desire to see.  The book was stressful enough.

'The Road' is the story of a father and his young son who are walking - away from a disaster, towards somewhere else, to the coast, towards something, well, we don't really ever find out through the book.  It is a post-apocalyptic story - most of the world has been wiped out and there is almost no life left or ways of survival.  Those that are left are mostly mad - reduced to eating other humans - with a few that have still retained their humanity.  It is a totally depressing book - scary in some parts.

However the beauty of the book lies in it's ability to make small joys seem hugely significant in the midst of such destruction and devastation and hopelessness.  Not everything is spelt out to you from the beginning - you have to work through the story to discover what the backstory is - and even then you are left wondering.

I read mountaineer Lincoln Hall's book 'Dead Lucky' this week, a recount of how Hall survived a night out on his own near the summit of Everest after being left for dead by his Sherpas.  Again another book (and this time a true story) about how humans can survive the extreme.

Not sure exactly what this says about me (and it's not new - I'm also fascinated by those who are kidnapped and held as hostages for years on end).  Maybe it's partly me wondering how I'd cope faced by such extremes - I know that a stressful day with the kids pushes me to the limits of coping so I don't think I'd be so great left on the side of Everest on my own!

1 comment:

arthurandtamie said...

Thanks Jenny! My husband's into post-apocalyptic fiction so this gives me an idea for his birthday!