Unfortunately, one of my selections happened to be The Road, a post-apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarthy. I should have known better than to pick up a Pulitzer Prize winner, because I sensed within the first few pages that I was going to hate it.* I finished it just now, and sadly, I still think that was $14.95 wasted.
It's not like I haven't read a fair selection of post-apocalyptic stories in my life. The Pit likes to joke that they are my favorite form of fiction, and he's not too far off. I've recently re-read Dies the Fire, The Stand, and The Postman, which are all significantly more interesting versions of the end of the world than The Road. The setting was both horribly bleak and completely unexplained, the main character thoroughly miserable, and nothing ever really happened, even at the very end of the novel. I just don't understand the point.
And reading it, I'm doubly sad for Jeffery Harrell, who at one time wrote an excellent blog called Shape of Days. The blog is no longer online, but several years ago, Jeffery posted about half of a novel he had written. It was a great post-apocalyptic story, really engrossing, with interesting characters and an exciting plot. He never finished it, because The Road came out at the same time he was shopping it to publishers, and nobody wanted another story of the same basic genre. What a waste, that such a terrible book could ruin a really great writer's chance to publish a far superior story.
All in all, it's a good thing I also grabbed a new Terry Pratchett novel while we were at the bookstore...I can't think of a better way to rid myself of the unrelenting dreariness that was The Road.
* I don't always hate books that the literati love...just most of the time.