Author: Cormac McCarthy
Publisher: Various (my version by Vintage Books)
Paperback, 286 pages
ISBN 10: 0307387895
ISBN 13: 9780307387899
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, The Road 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
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2007), James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction (2006), National Book Critics' Circle Award Nominee (2006)
This is going to be a mini-review of an extraordinarily good, minimalist book. We have Papa and the boy. The boy is his Papa's son. The world is destroyed, and we never really find out why. They are journeying towards the coast in hope of finding warmth. Along the way, they come across a few bands of 'bad guys', as well as some other solitary survivors (both good and bad). The little boy was born into a world without a past, to a mother who eventually stopped fighting. There is the despair of the father, who tried to keep his wife from giving up. He knows he is ill, and he sees his son, his only reason to keep on going, becoming more downhearted and less child-like by the day. This is not an action-packed novel, but as you read, you can feel the sense of growing despair, a despair born of walking through days of twilight and nights so black you may as well be blind through a world where, years after the event, trees continue to fall and burn, nothing grows, and some have resorted to trapping and eating other humans for sustenance.
This is not a book for the faint-of-heart or for those who want a happy-go-lucky tale. There's no real happiness in these pages (although there are flashes of humanity and light), only a deep, dark trudge that you feel in your bones, and an ending with a spark of hope.
This is my child, he said. I wash a dead man's brains out of his hair. That is my job. Then he wrapped him in the blanket and carried him to the fire.
The boy lay with his head in the man's lap. After a while he said: They're going to kill those people, arent they?
Why do they have to do that?
I dont know.
Are they going to eat them?
I dont know.
They're going to eat them, arent they?
And we couldnt help them because then they'd eat us too.
And that's why we couldnt help them.
When we're all gone at last then there'll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. He'll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to. He'll say: Where did everybody go? And that's how it will be. What's wrong with that?
BOOK RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
BUY IT: At Amazon, and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.
Disclosure: This is a review of my own personal copy.