Oprah Winfrey Chooses "The Road"

Wednesday, March 28th 2007, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Don't expect a lot of sunshine in Oprah Winfrey's latest book club pick. Publishing's leading hitmaker has chosen Cormac McCarthy's ``The Road,'' a bleak, apocalyptic novel by an author who rarely talks to the media.

``It is so extraordinary,'' Winfrey said Wednesday. ``I promise you, you'll be thinking about it long after you finish the final page.''

McCarthy, 73, is known for novels such as ``All the Pretty Horses'' and ``Blood Meridian,'' and has been widely cited as an heir to William Faulkner for his Biblical prose and rural settings. Critic Harold Bloom, famous for his discerning taste, has called McCarthy one of the greatest living American writers, along with Don DeLillo, Philip Roth and Thomas Pynchon.

``The Road,'' published last September by Alfred A. Knopf, is a sparely written story of a father and son trying to survive as they wander through a burned and bare landscape. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize and is considered a leading contender for the Pulitzer Prize.

``The Road'' is also one of McCarthy's most popular books, spending several weeks on numerous best-seller lists. According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, it has sold 138,000 copies in hardcover. Thanks to Winfrey, that total should increase by hundreds of thousands. A paperback was not planned until September, but Vintage Books, understandably, is publishing one now.

Winfrey's previous choice was ``The Measure of a Man,'' a ``spiritual'' memoir by one of her personal heroes, Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier. But she also has taken on harsher stories, like Elie Wiesel's Holocaust classic, ``Night,'' and, notoriously, James Frey's ``A Million Little Pieces,'' a memoir of addiction and recovery that turned out to be largely fabricated.