Review : The Road
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Pages : 287
Genre : Fiction
My Rating :
From the back of the book :
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.
I have been putting off seeing the movie ever since it came out because I wanted to read the book first, and now that I’ve read it, I don’t know that I actually want to see it. What a depressing story! The Road is a small book, but it packs a punch. I tried to read it in one setting and I couldn’t : even though I was captivated, it was too bleak to read at once. I had to come up for air in between the pages.
It’s impressive how much McCarthy can give the reader in so few words, both so simple and so rich at the same time! The sentences are short, the dialogs minimal, and no detailed story is given as to how, exactly, the world “ended” : yet I felt the story and the characters were very complete. I was too taken by the father and son duo to care much about the political or ecological circumstances that were at the origin or their situation. No matter the reason, it was scary and heartbreaking and horrific and bleak.
The relationship between the father and the son made it worth my while though. I think McCarthy found a right balance between the tender moments and the more difficult ones. The kid was very kid-like, understanding only part of what was happening, and the father’s love was vibrant through the pages. The fact that they remain nameless through the story didn’t bother me, and in fact made their story kind of universal. It wasn’t about race or age or occupation : it really was about their relationship and what they had to go through.
It’s once of these books where it’s hard to put “stars” on it : I gave it 4, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, a few months from now, I moved it up a bit. I know I’ll want to read it again someday, too. One thing is sure, it’s the kind of book you don’t forget.