Book Review: The Road

reviews

troadThe Road, Cormac McCarthy (2006)

Goodreads Rating 3.94

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.

Let me tell you what I was expecting from The Road; a 600 page novel full of page long descriptions of dreary scenery and gorgeous, heart breaking, literary prose that I would (at times) struggle to get through.  Now let me tell you what I got; a 300 page novel of almost double spaced, short paragraphs telling the (I thought) fast paced story of a man living for his son in a desolate post apocalyptic world that I absolutely flew  through.  I don’t think I could have been more wrong.

It’s hard for me to explain what I thought about the book.  I was thankful that I didn’t have to wade through pages and pages of dreary (if well written) description for something to happen, and I was impressed by the amount of things that did happen in such a short story.  The characters cover quite a lot of ground (literally) and the kinds of people they meet along the way cover all points on the spectrum.  The depth of characters, especially the father, is crazy considering you don’t even know the guy’s name, and the son?  You can’t help but believe, as his father does, that he needs to survive at any cost for some bigger purpose.

And okay, it did kind of bug me that you don’t find out what happened to the world (I don’t think even the main characters really know) but then, it’s not that kind of book.  It’s about the relationship between father and son (if you didn’t pick that up from the blurb) and all that that entails.  From storytelling, to protection, to – yes – frustration when things don’t go to plan.  It was brilliantly done, it really was.

short

four

It’s hard to rate, but I did enjoy it and I think, one day, I will reread it.  It wasn’t as depressing as I thought it would be, but the ending (and the flashbacks) did kind of break my heart.

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