Whilst we're waiting for Blockbuster.com to send me my next DVDs, here are short synopses of two books I read recently:
Horns by Joe Hill. I recently discovered Joe Hill, enjoying his short story collection quite a lot. Horns is his most recent novel. Ig Parrish has problems. The love of his life was raped and murdered a year ago and Ig was the only suspect, although nothing could be proven against him; the residents of the small New England town he lives in believe him guilty. Now, after a raging bender he can't remember, Ig has woken up with devil horns sprouting from his forehead. He's also developed the ability to cause people to tell the truth, things they would rather keep hidden, things Ig would rather they keep hidden - and he realizes that perhaps he can solve his girlfriend's murder and get some peace at last.
The apple has not fallen far from the tree in the case of Joe Hill and his beyond-famous dad: Horns is a great tale, well-plotted, easily readable, clever and unstinting in the brutal details. While Hill may not quite have the touch with dialogue King has, he also doesn't have diarrhea of the word processor - there's nothing extra here in these manageable 368 hardcover pages. Fun stuff. I now have to track down Hill's first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, because that's supposed to be quite good.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In this grim, bleak, unrelenting novel, there is a man and a boy, his son. They walk the road in a post-apocalyptic America, thirsty, starving, scared. All they have is each other - they don't even have hope anymore. And that's all there is in The Road. There's no plot per se: the man and the boy walk, try not to freeze to death, scavenge what meager food they can, strain their water, hide from the violent gangs of cannibals that roam the country. McCarthy never says exactly what brought down Armageddon onto the U.S., but it seems like it must have been some sort of nuclear catastrophe because the sun is all but blocked out and everything is coated with grey ash. We never even learn the names of the man and the boy. We just follow them as they try to survive and try to remember why they want to survive. Grim, wonderful stuff.
3 hours ago