One-Minute Book Reviews

April 17, 2007

Is Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ Better Than His Earlier Novels?

Filed under: Book Awards,Books,Fiction,News,Novels,Pulitzer Prizes,Reading — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:54 am

Was yesterday’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction another case of “right author, wrong book”?

By Janice Harayda

Book awards often go to the wrong book by the right author. This tends to happen — with the Pulitzers and other prizes — when judges try to make up for past injustices by rewarding an inferior book by a writer whose best work was snubbed.

The Pulitzer judges honored Sinclair Lewis for Arrowsmith after spurning the much better Babbitt and Main Street. They rewarded Ernest Hemingway for The Old Man and the Sea instead of A Farewell to Arms. And even Edith Wharton — as Pulitzer-worthy an author who ever lived — got the fiction prize for The Age of Innocence instead of Ethan Frome or The House of Mirth, both published before the Pulitzers began in 1917.

I haven’t read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which won the Pulitzer for fiction yesterday, so I don’t know how it compares to his earlier novels. How about you? Any comments on whether The Road is better than All the Pretty Horses?

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

Janice Harayda is an award-winning critic and former vice-president for awards of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. […] his book “The Road”  there have been several posts and questions regarding McCarthy.  Janice Harayada posted a question (as well as has excellent reviews) but alas, I cannot answer any comparisons […]

    Pingback by All the Pretty Horses « Wide Open Spaces — April 19, 2007 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

  2. […] All the Pretty Horses was much better. […]

    Pingback by The Road « Under Open Skies — August 8, 2007 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for the comment. I still haven’t read “The Road,” you’re ahead of me.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — August 9, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  4. From what I’ve heard, and from what I’ve read of his, “All the Pretty Horses” is not even in contention as being his best book. Instead maybe what Roger Ebert among others called his masterpiece, “Suttree,” and the other one widely dubbed his masterpiece, “Blood Meridian.” Either way, “The Road” was a fantastic, gorgeous book.

    Comment by dcbadger — April 14, 2008 @ 12:16 am | Reply

  5. Thanks for brining up “Suttree.” I’d bet a lot of people aren’t even aware of it.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — April 14, 2008 @ 12:50 am | Reply

  6. The Road was one of the worst books I’ve read in a decade. I thought the dialogue was monotonous and the plot unimaginative. I’m willing to read another of his novels and perhaps Suttree since it was mentioned here. But could someone explain why they were enthralled with this book?

    Comment by showmereader — April 12, 2009 @ 9:51 am | Reply

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