Wednesday, January 10, 2007

[Book Review] THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy


Kay Mills Due reviews THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf, 2006)

OK – I am becoming an official Cormac McCarthy freak! His last book, No County for Old Men, was so compelling that I knew I would have to read his latest, The Road.

The setting is post-apocalyptic America. A father and son wander an ash-covered, dead landscape. They run into some of the "bad people" but are constantly assuring one another that there are still "good people." Their story is one of scavenging for food and shelter – money isn’t important and neither are those fancy electronics. They are on a quest to get to the ocean because – they don’t really know why. The characters show such tenderness and love to one another, and yet the utter devastation of their world is evidence of unbelievable cruelty. The juxtaposition is heart-breaking. The tenacity of these two people in the face of utter desolation is strangely uplifting. A brief conversation: "We’re going to be okay, aren’t we Papa" "Yes. We are." "And nothing bad is going to happen to us." "That’s right." "Because we’re carrying the fire." "Yes. Because we’re carrying the fire."

I devoured this book. I wasn’t able to read it in one sitting and suffered because of it. I found myself thinking about it constantly, so my advice is to carve out plenty of time as soon as you get your hands on it! When I finished the book, I was exhausted. I was also stunned by the world created by this superb writer. This story is what many of us of a certain age -- Baby Boomers whose cold war memories are of bomb drills and back yard bomb shelters – feared for our future. Cormac McCarthy has taken the stuff of bad 1950s era movies and created great literature.

Kay Mills Due, Public Services

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I just read this book in English Class, and we had to write a report, thank you for giving me some really good ideas on how to start. :)
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