The Road – A Book Review
For my second Lit Flicks Challenge book, I chose to read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Although I never read No Country For Old Men, the movie fascinated me enough to at least take notice of McCarthy. When I was told they were turning The Road into a movie and it dealt with a mysterious, post-apocalyptic America, I knew I wanted to read it. This is the only book I’ve ever sat down and read in its entirety in one sitting. It was that good.
Having just finished Blindness by Jose Saramago, McCarthy’s clear writing style was a welcomed break from the difficult prose of the Portuguese author. The story follows a man and his young son as they travel a road towards the coast. It takes place in America, but it’s never clearly defined where exactly the father/son team is. It’s made clear the father is dying from a terminal illness, and he constantly worries about the son he will leave alone. The book doesn’t explain why, but the country is burned, has been that way for years. Everything is covered with ash that continues to rain down from the sky, and people are rarely encountered. Those that are encountered, are to be feared as the lack of food and water has driven the surviving population to drastic measures including cannabalism.
It doesn’t feel like McCarthy’s intent with his writing and subject matter was to shock, or thrill. It’s simply a story, a story that feels too realistic sometimes, that explores a big ‘what if.’ The feeling with which The Road is written is intense, but it’s an intensity without being sensational, I didn’t feel like McCarthy was being exploitive. It’s as bleak as anything I’ve ever read, watched, or thought of, but there’s still a redeeming beauty in the struggle that we’re given an insight to. I’d recommend this book to anyone. If the upcoming film (set to be released November 26th) is anywhere near as moving as the book, it will probably be one of my favorites this year. While there’s no trailer yet, a few shots from the set have been released and can be seen below. They eerily match the vivid descriptions in the book.