May 07, 2007

Book Review: "The Road"

The RoadWritten by Cormac McCarthy

Amazon.com recommended me this novel long before it won the Pulitzer Prize - even before Oprah made it one of her famous book club selections. I added it to my wishlist, but it, as most do, languished somewhere in the middle of that list for a long time before I found myself browsing the aisles at Borders Books last Friday night, desperate for something to read over the weekend while my boyfriend, Erik, worked on his masters thesis.

I opened the book mid-day Saturday and didn't put it down until I was finished, early Saturday evening. McCarthy's tale of a father/son journey along the barren, dangerous roads in a post-apocalyptic America is definitely classic page-turner material. The entire story was intense, and it left me wrung out when I was done, but in a good way.

The story itself was pretty simple: it's some time after the U.S., and for all they know the entire world, was obliterated (probably by nukes), and a man and a boy are travelling towards the coast - the only place they can fathom to go - in the hopes of finding some of "the good people" they hope against hope are still alive somewhere. In their way lays danger in the form of soulless, murderous, and in too-many cases cannibalistic marauders. They're also desperately trying to avoid starvation and exposure by scavenging what little left the grey, ash-covered and barren landscape has to offer - which is nothing but befouled water and remnants of canned food, clothing, and supplies left by those who are no longer around.

I was especially taken with the way in which McCarthy wrote - he was able to evoke so much atmosphere with such brevity. His sentences were typically short, and were written like I often do when I take journal notes for myself, but the power packed into each one of his is awe-inspiring. It was poetic. And his pacing was brilliant in that I really just didn't want to put the book down. I can't recommend this book highly enough.


posted by julie at May 7, 2007 10:33 AM

things people have said

This review reminds me of a book from the late 40's or early 50's, Earth Abides, by George Stewart. Stewart's protagonist is spared from a pandemic and describes his journey around the post WWII US looking to see who remains and to ponder the future. The story starts out in California.

so said: Morgan at May 9, 2007 08:57 AM



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