Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

The Road The Road by Cormac McCarthy

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Set in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse that has left the world a burnt ruin, devoid of nearly all life, The Road follows a man and a boy as they travel south. The road is a dangerous and violent place, raided by gangs of psychopathic cannibals, and there is precious little food to be scavenged from the ruins. There are no animals, birds and the plant life is mostly dead, choked by ash.

Faced with such overwhelming despair, why are the man and the boy travelling? Is there any point in continuing the struggle for existence in a such aworld? How will the man use his two remaining bullets that he has in his pistol? Are they the good guys?

This is a bleak novel, without a doubt, and yet it is a extraordinarily powerful metaphor that only becomes apparent as the journey nears its conclusion. It is written in a spare and economical style that perfectly evokes the ruined world that the pair traverse.

Highly recommended.

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Anonymous said...

The book never explains why the earth is in ruin. It could have been a nuclear apocalypse, but it also could have been a asteroid strike, or any number of other things.

thermalsatsuma said...

I'd assumed from the ash and the firestorms that melted people into the road that it was the result of a nuclear war, but then I grew up in the 80s, so that's my staple paranoid nightmare ... :-)

X said...

What's the metaphor?

thermalsatsuma said...

The Road is a metaphor for the journey of life - in a nutshell, life's hard and then you die.