The Road by Cormac McCarthy

From Amazon: The searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

My Review:

I like The Road for the same reasons others dislike it. I like it because of its minimalism. I like it because the extinction-level event (ELE) goes unnamed, as do the man and the boy. I like that the father and his boy are on a road coming from nowhere and going to nowhere but going all the same. I like the unconventional writing style, the sparse dialogue, the repetition. The writing is so minimal that the reader is forced to focus on only one thing: the relationship between the father and son, and in my opinion, this is where the gold is hidden. The Road is filled with beautiful symbolism, yet there is an unsettling fear and anxiety always floating on the surface because running for your life is one thing, running for your life with a child in tow is another, but running for your life BECAUSE you have a child in tow is a game changer altogether. Amid the gray, bleak, post-apocalyptic desperation and fight for survival, The Road is about love, and McCarthy does an excellent job of making it work.