BOOK REVIEW: The Road

A father and son road trip...

Adam McCoy

The Road review

 

A father and son road trip. Just two men and the road ahead.

 

Only this road is full of ash and the dead.

 

Cormac McCarthy’s novel ,”The Road” published in 2006 is absolutely devastating and this story of survival and fatherly duty is powerful. The post-apocalypse novel or movie has been so frequented, it deserves its own genre and has become boring in most cases, but McCarthy does it differently and well. And, what makes this vividly, intense and daunting book essential is the potent emotion it evokes.

 

It’s a nightmare!

 

After an early morning boom or “a long shear of light and then a series of low concussions,” McCarthy writes, the world as they know it ends.

 

The novel opens on the father and son, approximately 40 and 10 respectively, sleeping in the dirt. Everything around them is burnt, completely burnt or in the act of burning. The world is dead, the earth is dead and death surrounds that.

 

Death in the form of vicious motorcycle gangs that stick to the road and rape women and eat the meat off their bones. Yeah, devastating.

 

The father and son meet a gang shortly through the first 100 pages and the father has to take action to protect his son. As they hide in trees nearby, big, loud diesel trucks rumble up on the road and they stop. Several men jump out of the truck with weapons and start combing the area. One of the men happened onto the father and boy and the father draws his weapon on the man. This is an especially powerful moment as the man tells the father he will take his son.

 

“Yeah. He looked at the boy. You won’t shoot, he said.”

 

“That’s what you think.”

 

“You ain’t got but two shells. Maybe just one. And they’ll hear the shot.”

 

“Yes they will. But you won’t.”

 

As the father-son duo walk along the road aimlessly heading south and pushing a loud shopping cart in need of some WD-40 they search for food and any shelter that may have supplies. They end up finding a vault in the ground stocked with food, coffee but after they hear a dog and other noise up above, they know it’s not safe to stay and they continue South.

 

McCarthy’s writing style is especially eloquent and his writing is vivid. His use of imagery is really what makes his write special.

 

The book is episodic in nature. The father dreams about his wife who committed suicide to avoid the terror and torment of reality. The boy was born after the sky opened up and often asks his father about what it was like before.

 

McCarthy is a Pulitzer-Prize winning author known for novels including All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing Cities of the Plain and No Country for Old Men with was made into a movie.

 

“The Road” won the Pulitzer for Literature in 2006.

 

The father must act more drastically as the book progresses, especially after a man steals their shopping cart when the boy is asleep. He finds the old man and makes him give them the cloths of his back because that is the way they would have left them.

 

Because of the father’s actions, the boy frequently asks whether they are the good guys in all this.

 

“You wanted to know what the bad guy looked like. Now you know. It may happen again. My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you Do you understand?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“He sat there cowled in the blanket. After a while he looked up. Are we still the good guys? He said.”

 

“Yes. We’re still the good guys. And we always will be.”

 

“Yes. We always will be.”

 

“Okay.”

 

He also asks if they will ever eat other people or become a cannibal.

 

“The Road” was recently made into a major motion picture starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

 

The ending leaves you with a warm feeling, but that is about the only time McCarthy allows for that.

 

“The Road” is special. Truly, it evokes a feeling of helplessness but yet, you are helpless to put it down.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus