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2010-04-07 04:12 pm (UTC)
I've only read the book The Road (not seen the film), and I hated it and had trouble taking it seriously because of the gender politics, which in a weird way protected me from the depression it leaks across the page, but hell yeah! I know what you're talking about in that story. There I think it's actually much more the structure and way in which the world is built -- McCarthy has created a world which throws out all basic scientific plausibility to make it harder on his main characters, and there's an element of malice in his actual world-building that I felt more deeply in terms of depression than the plot or its resolution. (Though for me it backfired--because it was Too Bad to Be True, I experienced it more as the author torturing his characters.)
A lot of what draws me to post-apocalyptic stories is the sense of survival in difficult circumstances--people banding together and working hard to live in the face of insurmountable odds--so I do identify with what you're describing. I like the process of rebuilding.
That said, I can think of an exception--Into the Forest by Jean Hegland ends in a way that makes it unlikely the characters will survive, but it's a very upbeat ending, actually. Hard to describe without spoiling.
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