The Road – Cormac McCarthy
The Road tells the story of a father and son warily travelling across post-apocalyptic America, hoping to reach a place of sanctuary. The atmosphere drapes the reader in a throbbing dread for the character’s lives and the acute fear of a father to keep his son safe. In a very unique and unexpected way, Cormac McCarthy creates a mesmeric story out of pure gloom and hopelessness. Everything is stripped away including the man and the boy’s names. The writing style is concise and the dialogue is short and snappy, all adding to the scarce sense of everything.
The environment is dreary and lifeless where nothing grows and the only way they can live is on finding food stores of canned or dried goods, from homes long abandoned. Other survivors have resorted to cannibalism and the two have to be constantly aware of the dangers and risks, as they travel The Road. The father’s greatest fear is of dying and leaving his son to the mercy of scavengers. That reality is fast approaching, as the father’s health is unavoidably deteriorating and he is starting to cough up blood. Should he use his pistol to kill the son rather than leave him alone? The decisions and torments are palpable.
With everything brought to its bleakest and most despairing state, what screams out loudly is the deep, unconditional love between the father and son. The ending won’t disappoint and will resonate with you long after you’ve finished the book.
This novel is a classic in atmospheric horror writing! I would highly recommend this book.