He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it” – The Road, Cormac McCarthy
First Impressions: This was one of the many novels that I had to read in my first year of university. I had no idea what the story was about. The cover certainly doesn’t provide any spoilers since it features a black background with the words “The Road” and “Cormac McCarthy.” Once I started reading it, I was sucked into a bleak world of a post-apocalypse disaster.
A man and his son travel along a post-apocalyptic barren road of North America. The road holds many dangers and it could be the key to their survival or their destruction.
About the Book
Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Year published: 2006
Genres: Post-apocalypse, dystopian, fiction, horror
The entire book is one bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic disaster. The story is told in a fragmented narration which highlights the barrenness of North America. The writing style is nearly poetic and rhythmic in repetition and its lack of lengthy paragraphs. The dialogue between the two main characters, the boy and the man, is told in one line sparse sentences. For instance:
You have to carry the fire.
I don’t know how to.
Yes, you do.
Is the fire real? The fire?
Yes it is.
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It always was there. I can see it” – The Road, Cormac McCarthy
The relationship between the boy and his father is probably the most endearing part of the novel. However… be warned… if you expect for a glimmer of hope to appear in the novel like a ray of bright sunshine, you are reading the wrong book. This book is bleak at the beginning, very bleak in the middle, and a little less bleak but still depressing at the end. Although this story isn’t the sort of book that I enjoy reading, it is extremely well-crafted. McCarthy is a professional at creating a horrific atmosphere while keeping a level of detachment from his characters.
The Road received the Pultzer price for fiction in 2007, and it also ended up being adapted into a movie staring Viggo Mortensen as the man. Even though I didn’t like the book, clearly it was popular among readers and critics. However, I appreciate The Road for its ingenuity of plot, style of narration, and artistic use of minimalist language.
Final rating: A-
Until next time,