Cormac McCarthy: "The Road"

January 14, 2007

Oh, good god, go buy this book and read it. I have long felt that McCarthy (of All the Pretty Horses fame) is one of the better writers of English currently alive, but his settings and subject matter (the desert southwest, Texas, the deep south–mostly period works set in the 19th or early 20th centuries, though that varies) have never before grabbed my immediate intrigue and sometimes the grimness and brutality of his works don’t exactly uplift.

But my goodness, my goodness. The Road. I finally broke down and bought it in hardback. Then I read it in a single sitting. It’s that kind of book.

The premise is that a man (unnamed) and his son (ditto) are trying to travel down the eastern seaboard because the man doesn’t think they are going to be able to survive another winter in the north. The reason is that it’s been about eight years (that’s a guess, you might make your own, better, one after reading the book) since the world was essentially killed off by nuclear warfare. Nature has been annihilated, nothing grows, there are no birds or animals or any living things. Most of the few survivors have turned from desperate-but-human to marauding bands of cannibalistic rapists. The man and his son spend most of their time trying not to encounter any other people.

Sound creepy? Oh, it is. McCarthy’s incredible ability to describe landscape is in its best form here, but what makes this surpass McCarthy’s other works is that it is a burning page-turner. I quite literally could not put it down.

Maybe I’ve been reading too much dry stuff lately, so take these comments with a grain of salt. But it still goes…hmmm…maybe in my top twenty of all time?

***** (of 5)

One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sound cool. Thanks for the recommendation.

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