I like reading books about war dogs, shipwrecks, and lady aviators.
It’s hard to call this a novel, but the cover does claim it to be a “novel in dramatic form,” so I’ll just go along with that. You’ll find your classic bits of sparse punctuation and depressiveness in this work. It’s a very quick read that is essentially a powerful and complex conversation between the two characters, Black and White. There are a few ways to interpret this choice of naming, but to make this summary easy, one is a stubborn white man, and the other is a stubborn black man, which keeps the conversation tense and intriguing.
The setting is Black’s apartment. It is quickly revealed that White is suicidal, and Black, as a man of God, takes it upon himself to converse with White to change his mind about living. There are a miraculous number of topics covered in this brief novel of dialogue. I actually enjoyed it very much. Several times I reread various passages and found myself thinking in new ways. For example, their discussion on religion felt honest, and it actually had me considering a few new perspectives in areas that have felt very solid and settled to me in the past.
McCarthy isn’t a man known for writing in abundance, but I still wish this had been longer. I felt very caught up in it. The ending could only go two ways, but I’m not sure that I felt ready for it when I got there. The conclusion honestly hurt my opinion of the book. I hoped for an ending as fulfilling yet ambiguous as John Carpenter’s film, “The Thing” (yeah, I know that sounds a little ridiculous but I can think of no better comparison for the conclusion I wanted), but that just wasn’t there for me. Still, this is some of the better dialogue I’ve read in a while, and I do love my dialogue. A whole novel of dialogue feels great, which makes me wonder why I don’t read plays more often. Maybe it’s time to start. Point of the reviewing being that this one is worth a read.