A week or so ago, Smokes recommended this book to me. So on my most recent trip to the bookstore I picked it up. I’d seen it several times and considered it as a possible read, always putting it back down again. I would get distracted by something shiny.
The Road is a novel by Cormac McCarthy: tale of a father and son traveling across the blasted landscape of a post-apocalyptic world. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Most of the structures of a story are missing. The characters are nameless; there are no chapters. Pieces of punctuation are missing. These editorial decisions provide a haunting framework for the story itself. A meditation on isolation and desolation and meaning. The style adds to the artistry of the piece, increasing its emotional impact on a personal level. The themes reach the scope of the literary epic because they have been drawn with such bleak minimalism: through a mirror darkly.
The Washington Post writes:
The Road is a frightening, profound tale that drags us into places we don’t want to go, forces us to think about questions we don’t want to ask. Readers who sneer at McCarthy’s mythic and biblical grandiosity will cringe at the ambition of The Road. At first I kept trying to scoff at it, too, but I was just whistling past the graveyard. Ultimately, my cynicism was overwhelmed by the visceral power of McCarthy’s prose and the simple beauty of this hero’s love for his son.