The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a 2006 apocalypse novel written by Cormac McCarthy which is recognised as one of his many masterpieces of American literature which garnered him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007 and James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006.

It is highly recognised as the best apocalypse novel ever written alongside The Stand by Stephen King which is a 1325 page magnum opus.

The Entertainment Weekly heralded The Road as the best book, fiction or non-fiction, in the last 25 years and said: “With its spare prose, McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic odyssey from 2006 managed to be both harrowing and heartbreaking.”

The novel is a haunting story of an unnamed father and son who travel across the vast wasteland void of humanity, to live and survive one day at a time, nothing to look forward to and nothing to live for.

And swiftly, Cormac McCarthy builds upon this bleak landscape of diminishing humanity into a fable like nightmare which drowns deeper into the examination of faith, survival and existence of humanity in humans at the time of biblical crisis.

The prose composed by Cormac McCarthy is astonishing and haunting leading to the point of being unbearably tense and depressing with its lack of punctuations and meticulously crafted poetic diction, McCarthy succeeds in crafting a mesmerising prose which paints a masterful portrait of utter savagery and bleakness.

Cormac McCarthy dedicated the novel to his son John Francis and confessed that the dialogue between the father and son were based on actual conversations between Cormac McCarthy and John Francis.

And, it is clearly visible in the sparse prose, in the poetic diction and the thematic portrayal of this biblical event as the father and son travel wasteland to wasteland in search of food, shelter and survival through bleak unending fields of nothingness but ashes and piercing snow, with some recollections of their past lives as if they had forgot who they were, what there names where and what they had been before destruction of the world and their souls.

“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.

You forget some things, dont you?

Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget”

-Cormac McCarthy, The Road

The Road is simultaneously a study of morality, character, human depravity and struggle of light and darkness, God and Demon as the marauders go through the roads, and dark houses with cannibals storing humans to eat them up.

At the end of it, The Road is one of the redeeming novels which revives the soul and heals the reader in ways unimaginable. The novel speaks to the reader and sparks an inevitable and immortal message of hope for peace and restoration passed from generation to generation.

“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”

-Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Leave a comment