Monday, April 13, 2009

Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

(from the dust jacket) 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 thet are wearing, a cart of scavenges food-and each other.

If it weren't for the helpful blurb above the summary on the dust jacket of this book, I wouldn't know what it is about "Thie searing, postapocalyptic novel destines to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpeice." This book is so unlike anything I've ever read, even other postapocalyptic novels.

The writing is so simple and raw. There are no quotation marks. There are no exclamation points. The characters are not named. There are no chapters. Paragraphs are short and have large spaces between them. It is as if every little thing the characters go through is a supreme effort. I love it when how the book is formatted fits the plot of the novel.

There are no hugely suspenseful scenes. There are no polic chases or wild animals on the loose. There are no races against the clock. Despite the absence of many components that are suspenseful, The Road is a book I couldn't put down.

A lot of the time, the best books are those that are difficult to read. We see the young boy lose a part of his childlike innocence each page. He witnesses horrors most adults never see. He sees death time and time again. "I'm scared" is a very common phrase in his vocabulary.

There are really only two happy scenes in the book. The happiness is dampened by the sheer horror of the surrounding events.

I have no idea why I like this book. It is horrible.

For it being wonderfully paradoxical, I give it an A.


Heather said...

Good review! I also didn't quite know why I liked it when the topic was so horrible.