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This weekend’s read: The Road

March 1, 2009


I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road yesterday (it was that good) and wish I had savored, instead of devoured, the story so that I would have something to read today. The Road is one of those books where, once finished, leaves you at a loss for what to read next. You need time to reflect on your experience, and chances are about 99% that whatever you pick up next won’t be as good. Perhaps that’s why I’m blogging again after a lengthy absence. 

The Road is a story of a man and a boy, father and son, fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic, death-filled world where nothing grows and humans, the only species remaining, have abandoned all ethics in order to live. Barely alive, scavenging for any type of food or clothing, the man and boy travel south over a period of months on the road, hoping to find – what? food? other “good” people? anything left of civilization? what exactly they hope to find once they reach the coast is never clear, along with most of the story’s history, such as names, ages, the event/catastrophe/disease that caused the death of the world, or how long the world has been in its current state (years, at least, we know). Not knowing these details, however, only enhances the story by adding to its uncertainty. And in the post-apocalyptic world, these details of the past don’t really matter, because all that matters is the here and now – the next safe place the man and boy can find to sleep, the next meal, the next morning that they are still alive. 

Dialogue in The Road, mainly between the father and boy, is minimalistic, often stripped  of common punctuation, often poignant, and perfectly fitted to the situation. In few words, McCarthy covers the range of emotion between the father and son: uncertainty, protectiveness, fear, guilt, hopelessness, understanding, impatience, and a powerful, sacrificing love. 

There are other good guys. You said so.
So where are they?
They’re hiding.
Who are they hiding from?
From each other.
Are there lots of them?
We don’t know
But some.
Yes. Some.
Is that true?
Yes. That’s true.
But it might not be true.
I think it’s true.
You dont believe me.
I believe you.
I always believe you.
I dont think so.
Yes I do. I have to.

What could easily have been a monotonous, repetitive “Man and boy hide in the woods / man builds fire while boy sleeps / man and boy are starving / man and boy find abandoned house / man and boy find food in house / man and boy run from dangerous people / man and boy hide in woods…” plot line is instead a gripping, haunting, and emotional story of father and son, and of humanity, reduced to its barest instincts. 

I loved The Road and know it’s a book that will stay in my thoughts for awhile. A must-read for anyone who likes apocalyptic literature. I can’t wait to share this one with the boyfriend. 

A movie adaptation starring Viggo Mortensen is in the works. As far as I can tell, there isn’t a trailer yet, nor a set release date (though I hear it will be this year). If anyone has any more detail, I’d love to know.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. RaiulBaztepo permalink
    March 30, 2009 5:22 pm

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. kimberlyloomis permalink
    February 6, 2010 5:24 am

    Saw your comment on “The Bookworm Chronicles” and thought I’d take a look at your review. I, too, loved this book. [Incidentally I also reviewed it. ‘) ] Upon completing it I took it upon myself to tell all my friends they needed to read it as well and am currently working on my spouse to read it. I completely agree with your assessment- it’s a must read.


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