Book review: Cormac McCarthy – The Road

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If you don’t like depressive books, then this is not the book for you. If you like impressive books however, then I can highly recommend this one.

The book won the Pulitzer Price in 2007 and is recommended by the one and only Oprah through her book club. The story is about an agonizing journey of a nameless father and his son through the barren landscape some years after an unnamed apocalypse destroyed almost all life on earth. Their goal is to follow a deserted highway and head South before winter hits, so they can be warm and perhaps find life. They don’t know what they’ll find once there, but heading to the South coast is their only, yet uncertain, hope for survival. In the mean time they come upon few people and the ones they do meet are all but friendly as remaining humans have taken to cannibalism to survive.

They eat whatever they can find, scavaging houses and picking up whatever still looks edible. The only company they have is each other and all they have is what they can carry on their backs and in their old supermarket shopping cart. The landscape is grim and barren: all trees and plants have been burned, there are no animals, there is little light and it’s always either raining or snowing with a thunder storm to match. The only thing that is always there is the ash that twirls in the wind. Their only means of protection to fight off  ‘the bad guys’ is a gun with eventually only one round left.

What makes this book so great is because despite the harshness of their situation and no matter how hopeless they may seem you feel for both the man and his son and you keep on reading to find out whether they will reach the ocean. The characters remain hopeful and therefore, you, the reader are too. It is a book packed with emotions and it is not often that I find myself blinking away a few tears after reading a book, but this one had me going. It is moving and haunting, yet there is always this sliver of hope in the distance: as long as they keep moving and keep searching they will stay lucky and that means they will survive.

The book is written is short snippets of text, with no actual chapters and that makes for fast paced reading and I like it when a book just flows off the pages. There are many descriptions of what ‘The Road’ looks like and I usually dislike lengthy descriptions of the world surrounding the characters, but here it is what makes the novel. It’s a chilling story that is not for the faint of heart, yet if you like pondering about what humanity can do to our planet (some people have read some environmentalist plot into the novel) than this is certainly a great and gripping read.

The novel was adapted into a movie in 2009. Watch the trailer here:

2 responses to “Book review: Cormac McCarthy – The Road”

  1. janske Avatar

    i’ve seen that movie..very depressing…but good movie

  2. Petra Avatar

    Couldn’t put that book down, had to keep on reading! Very, very, very impressive.

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