Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on March 20th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Literary
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.
A few weeks ago I shared my review of Alas, Babylon which I also highly recommend. The Road seems to be the flip side to that book.
Alas, Babylon is about a community in Florida that overcomes the horrors of nuclear war, whereas The Road is definitely about those who are not so lucky.
It is as poignant as it is depressing, probably the most depressing novel that I have read in a long time, if not ever. Father and son travel across a desolate and wasted landscape ravaged by the horrors of nuclear war. They seek food and shelter and the reader keeps questioning why the continue on and constantly wonder about the futility of their struggle to get to the West Coast.
I’ve read quite a few reviews that describe this book as too depressing, but I prefer to see it as a cautionary tale on what we as humans have the ability to do to both our environment and each other.
It’s a brilliantly written book that completely drew me in and made me feel, it may not be for everyone, but if you have a love of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic novels, this is a must read.
I believe McCarthy’s two other successful novels (Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men) are on the ‘1001 Books to Read Before You Die’ list, but I haven’t tried them yet as the descriptions seem to suggest western-style novels. Have you read them? How did you find them? How did you find The Road?