I recently finished listening to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this book in 2007. The audio book was published in 2006 by Recorded Books, and in 2009 a film was made, starring Viggo Mortensen as “the man” and Kodi Smit-McPhee as “the boy”.
Where do I begin?
A compelling story that drew me in from the beginning. I never did figure out what happened to leave the earth scorched and devastated and turn the USA into a barren wilderness where people live alone or in tiny groups, many preying on one another to survive. It didn’t matter. A few dream sequences notwithstanding, the book is an extended present moment. It drew me into what is, not what was or will be.
This is not an easy book, not a “good” book; it is not at all pleasant to read. I think it is a great book, a book destined to become a classic. The prose echos the rhythm of the walking, walking, walking, punctuated by moments of extreme emotion: terror, tenderness, rage, delight. The descriptions are concrete and the dialogue terse, reflecting the cold, spare post-apocalyptic landscape through which the man and the boy are walking.
What is the story about? On one level it’s about survival, the kind of survival that means looking for food and shelter and safety from predators. It’s about a powerful relationship between father and son, built on love expressed in deeds. It’s about good guys and bad guys and carrying the fire. And, banal as it may sound, it’s about undying hope.
The Road is an incredible book, beyond my abilities to describe. Read it.
My thoughts about other books I’ve been reading or listening to are on my Books in Brief page.