January 15, 2010

Book Review: The Road

Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Publisher: Vintage International, 2006
Pages: 287
Genre: Post-apocalyptic fiction

The Road chronicles the travels and relationship of a father and son in an astonishingly and presumed wicked world of death, darkness and degeneration. The relationship is a struggle of ignorant trust against distrusting deprecation.

The world has been wrapped in a gray cloud of death. The sun is not able to penetrate this orb and all living matter other than mushrooms and man have ceased to exist. Chances of survival are not great. Mankind has been reduced to acting on their instincts to survive. This instinctual simplicity is highlighted in the tone of the dialect between father and son.

The father is determined that survival in this post-apocalyptic world can only be accomplished through avoidance of the others who survived. He has seen evidence of their savagery. His view is that man has lost all decency and all are completely shameless acting on self preserving motives of survival.

Yet, the son grasps glimmers of hope that not all man is evil. The sense in the child seems to be natural in that he has lived his entire life in this dark lifeless world and has almost no good or decent memories of what life used to be. In his simplicity he demands that humans, in the face of utter destruction, can prove to be more than just crude and instinctual. He struggles to convey this upon his obstinate father.

The book is written very well and entraps the reader with its suspense and description of a familiar, but unrecognizable world. Albeit, despondent, the story communicates renewed joy at our own blessed and comfortable lives.