The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

6 Nov

The Road Book Cover

“Listen to me, he said, when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you’re happy again, then you’ll have given up. Do you understand? And you can’t give up, I won’t let you.”

I am perhaps a little behind the times, but I finally read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.  I’ve wanted to read this book for quite a while, but I always put it off because people were always telling me that it’s so dark.  Often, I just want to lose myself in a good story to escape reality.  People warned me that this was a hard book to read without getting depressed.

Well, I shouldn’t have listened to those people.  I found this tale to be very heartwarming.  The plot is simple.  In a post-apocalyptic world, a man and his son journey south for the winter.  They struggle to survive by hiding from others and scavenging for supplies.  That’s it; not much to it.

It’s the relationship between the two of them that makes this so much more.  Their relationship is so complex.  The boy has only known a dead, desolate world while his Papa is still in mourning for the world he knew.  Still, it’s this boy who acts as the moral compass for the two of them.   The father lives only for his son; his patience for him is endless. They love each other very much.  This fact makes everything beautiful, despite all of the ugliness that they encounter.

It took me a while to adapt to reading this book, however.  I don’t know what makes McCarthy think he’s so special that he can ignore the rules of punctuation and grammar.  This is the first (probably only) I’ve read by McCarthy, so I’m not sure if he always writes this way.   In some ways, the sparseness of his writing worked very well with the mood and the setting of the novel.  I adjusted.  It just took a while.

I can hardly imagine giving a Pulitzer Prize winning book a low rating, but thankfully I don’t wish to do so.  The Road is far more beautiful and heartwarming than its concept would appear.  Five Stars!

I’m curious to hear from others who have read this book.  The boy’s age is never stated.  How old do you think he was?


3 Responses to “The Road, by Cormac McCarthy”

  1. the Ink Slinger November 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    Great review!

    “The father lives only for his son; his patience for him is endless. They love each other very much. This fact makes everything beautiful, despite all of the ugliness that they encounter.” That’s an excellent way of describing things…

    As for McCarthy’s writing style, it was a bit odd for me at first, too. But once I got used to it, I was astounded by how well it fit the story. There was a starkness to it that went perfect with the post-apocalyptic setting of the book; and yet, there was also a warmth that (for me, at least) reflected the warmth of the love between the father and his son.

    I envisioned the boy as being around 10 years of age.

  2. the Ink Slinger November 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    By the way, a film adaption of The Road came out just last year. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend that you do. It’s superb, and follows the book very faithfully. The actors are absolutely superb – especially Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), who plays the part of the Father.

  3. Jenni November 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    I think he was five or six. Who knows what living in a world like that does to the aging process, but I think he was younger than he seemed. I plan on checking out the movie, but didn’t want it to color my feelings about the book. Thanks for the comments!

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