James Wood has a delicious review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in The New Republic. Here’s his in-a-nutshell description of dirty realism:
This was a prose of short declarative sentences, in which verbs docked quickly at their objects, adjectives and adverbs were turned away, parentheses and sub-clauses were shunned. An anti- sentimentality, learned mainly from Hemingway, was so pronounced as to constitute a kind of male sentimentality of reticence.
Although apocalyptic, dystopian memories include nuclear attack drills in elementary school, fear of racist violence during the sixties, and the horrors of Vietnam war news, my strongest associations with post-apocalyptic futures link my memories of working as a logger and firefighter with the Mad Max films that were first released in those years. (The New Republic articles are available only to subscribers, but teasers are available.)