On this season of ER, there is a plotline about one of the doctor's college-aged son going crazy. That plotline really kicked into gear when the son turned up at County General. He'd driven cross country to tell his dad about a book, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. On the show, this was a sign of an early psychotic break. For me, it kinda made sense.
The Road is the best book that I have read in a long time. It's beautifully written in sparse, powerful prose with not one word out of place or unconsidered. There are some issues with the plot, but it's generally covered by the fable like nature of the story. However, I give you this recommendation with a health warning. This book has f'ed me up. It's the unrelentingly bleak story of a man and his son walking across post-apocalyptic America on the slimmest hopes, while trying to evade the rest of the survivors, who mostly want to eat them. It's grey, bleak with occasional flashes of the most shocking images- and the even more occasional flashes of humanity in the relationship and love between the man and the boy. A week and a half after finishing the book, I'll suddenly remember something from the novel, and then just despair at the pointlessness of it all for a short while.
At the moment I'm reading What is the What? by Dave Eggers, the fictionalised autobiography of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Coming after The Road, it almost counts as a light read, even with descriptions of the horrors faced by an eight year old caught up in a civil war. It is disappointing me- I love A heartbreaking work of staggering genius, and this is not striking the same stylistic high notes, or the same ability to portray tragedy.
Next book to be read is the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand's record of a year of food on the road. Fluff, happiness, food and skinny indie boys-phew. Unless something very dramatic happens during their world tour this should be just the cleansing sorbet of a book that I need at the moment.