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Oprah Hates Us

The next pick for the Oprah Book Club is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road! Sure, it’s startlingly written—McCarthy’s terse prose is imagistic, significant in its evocation of life in death—and its plot, following a man and his son through a North American landscape scorched and blackened by nuclear holocaust, is haunting, and moreover it just mopped the floor with Pynchon’s Against the Day in the first Zombie Round match of the Tournament of Books, but the novel’s so antithetical to the spectacle of two dozen women on a television set, jumping and chanting, “Don’t roast babies! Don’t roast babies! Don’t roast babies!,” just as, while encircling Oprah they jumped and chanted on the last day of Anna Karenina, “Anna! Anna! Anna!” The book is depressing. It’s also fetishistic, almost as much as the only other McCarthy novel I’ve ever read, Child of God, the protagonist of which is a one-armed necrophiliac (I don’t remember if he is always one-armed or became that way mid-plot) who haunts the mountains of eastern Tennessee, kills people, and drags their bodies into a cave—his own necropolis. That’s not to say it’s not good—in certain contexts I might even agree that it’s a “mind-blowing novel.” But, still: already the discussion online is puerile, and I guess it’s silly of me to think that maybe there’s any subject that would make it be less so. At least, for the honor of watching his sales skyrocket, McCarthy will be doing his first ever television interview.