Book Review: The Road-Cormac McCarthy

The Road (Oprah's Book Club)

You have my whole heart. You always did.

A story of a father and son left alone in a vast and empty new America, Cormac MccCarthy creates a novel where a father-son relationship is the center of the reader’s focus. The Road takes us on a journey where a man and a son as they struggle to survive in a sort of post-apocalyptic world, where the land is barren and cold. Everything is abandoned and there isn’t  any sign of life apart from the occasional straggler man or women, sometimes child. People are forced to survive in the wild where food, water, and shelter are sparse.

The Road looks at the intimate relationship of a father and son as they journey to find their survival. They must battle against the wilderness, “the bad guys”, and against their own sickness. McCarthy creates a minimal setting and plot which allows the readers to see how much the father loves his son, and the internal struggles he faces with keeping himself and son safe. The dialogue is short and choppy, and the plot typically remains the same, but it’s the atmosphere surrounding the protagonists which makes the words stick out and evoke such strong emotions.

What would you do if I died?

If you died I would want to die too.

So you could be with me?

Yes. So I could be with you.

Okay.

The young son in the story is more contemplative than the father, and in a way more moral; he is always thinking about others and the outcome of their actions. He is the more complicated of characters and is the literary figure of “goodness” we often find in children. The father is more practical and logical, thinking of survival and safety, “[t]here was a good chance they would die in the mountains and that would be that.” The different perspectives of both characters are wound together seamlessly adding on to the beautiful relationship.

As for me my only hope is eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart.

I absolutely loved this novel. The Road left me feeling more colder and empty than when I began. McCarthy is a brilliant writer and I found myself highlighting so many sentences because of the mere beauty of it. Although the plot was typically the same throughout the novel, I think McCarthy wanted to focus on the idea of relationships and love in the midst of strife.  I would recommended this book to those who enjoy books about relationships, fathers and sons, and self reflection. Being my first Cormac McCarthy novel, I definitely want to read his others. A book that sinks deep into you bones, The Road swallows heart and head whole.

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