Thursday 15 October 2009

The Road by Cormack McCarthy

Ohmygodohmygod - "The Road" is about to come out in cinemas, so if you haven't read the novel yet then you need to read it right now!

Seeing something on film puts someone else's images irrevocably in your head and makes it nearly impossible for you to create your own, so to get the most out of a novel you really have to read it before you see a film version. With "The Road," especially, the post-apocalypse setting draws on the reader's own fears and imagination so much that it's well worth reading before watching.

Basically a father and his young son try to survive in a world that, physically and socially, has been almost completely destroyed by some unspecified disaster. It's dark and horrible, with some nasty surprises, and a wonderfully intricate relationship between father and son. I hadn't realised until I saw a plug for the film that McCarthy had written it after becoming a father again in his sixties, which just adds layers to the play of love, fear and responsibility between them and makes the plot itself all the more poignant, even if you don't happen to already spend any time imagining what a post-climate change world might look like for anyone who survives that.

I warn you, there are spoilers for the book even in the blurb for the film, so beg, borrow or steal this book before you see it - do it now!

Sorry I can't find anything to link to that doesn't have at least some spoilers in it, and it's so well worth scaring yourself with in your own good time that I'm just going to link to Amazon so you can buy it.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

It's Nearly White Poppy Time...

I haven’t written here for a while, so instead of covering things I’m a bit late with I thought I’d skip ahead and remind you of something there’s still time to do something about.

It’s four weeks today until 11th November, when you’ll be surrounded by images of people wearing red poppies, marching, saluting and firing cannons, and when you might want to be wearing a white one instead.

So, here is where to get them, and here's a quote about why you might want to buy them from the Peace Pledge Union:
"The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing strangers. Our work, primarily educational, draws attention to many of our social values and habits which make continuing violence a likely outcome.

From economic reliance on arms sales (Britain is the world's second largest arms exporter) to maintaining manifestly useless nuclear weapons Britain contributes significantly to international instability. The outcome of the recent military adventures highlights their ineffectiveness in today's complex world.

Now 90 years after the end of the ‘war to end all wars’ we still have a long way to go to put an end to a social institution, which in the last decade alone killed over 10 million children."

Previous posts about armistice here, here and here.