“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy is a haunting story of a dying man trying to save his son in a world blasted of all life and hope after an un-named apocalypse, empty of all but the “lucky” few survivors scrabbling for the precious few remaining cans of food in the burnt ruins of the world. The only reason he hasn’t used his only remaining bullet to end his own suffering is his desperation to get his young son he loves far enough south to survive the coming winter.
There is very little reminiscence in this novel, you don’t learn much about this man or what happened to the world because it truly doesn’t matter. The starving people in this story are down to their rudiments both in mind and body, almost all personality and emotion leached out of them. They are as grey as the landscape.
The author manages to maintain an undercurrent of desperation, fear, and hopelessness in this novel in a way that is completely immersive and convincing. The author states that he got the idea when in Texas with his son, and to me this seems like an outpouring of the fear every father has about his children, only amplified. The detailed way he narrates the day to day struggle of the characters and the man’s hopes and fears tells me this is a story about the author and his son, that this is a vehicle for him to vent his worries about the future. I’m a new father and this really connected with me in ways hard to explain which is one of the reasons I find this book so compelling.
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and it’s certainly one of the darkest. I highly recommend it but it is not for the faint of heart.