Book Review: The Road

This week’s book review is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Cormac McCarthy is a master of writing beautifully about some of the darkest subjects imaginable. Even immensely talented writers would concede that McCarthy’s ability is nearly unrivaled. The Road is a dark post-apocalyptic film that manages to find beauty in a hopeless world. Regardless of the genre he uses, McCarthy’s is must read material. Cormac McCarthy doesn’t write a novel a year like many writers, but when his work shows up on the shelves, pay attention.

The Story

This post-apocalyptic tale centers on a survivor and his son going south for potential refuge with other survivors of an unnamed catastrophic event. Scrounging for food and avoiding cannibals is only part of this beautiful story about the love between father and son. The novel isn’t an action packed fast paced novel. Instead, McCarthy penned a brilliant character study that digs deep into humanity, love, and our survival instincts in the face of hopelessness.

The boy was born after the world, and the father knows it was brought to an end. He proves that love and humanity live in us, the world doesn’t give it to us. Rules no longer apply, yet the boy is loving, generous, and wants to help anyone he can. The story doesn’t seem complex; however, it tests the reader in every way possible. Mortality tests morality and these characters are an excellent guide on how to stay humane.

The Verdict

This novel is a must read. Although it is violent, the prose is engaging. This book isn’t pretty, and it paints the end of the world as it should be. The violence and shocking scenes are sobering reminders of the struggle our main characters are facing. McCarthy is a brutal writer, and he doesn’t pull any punches. However, this novel is the perfect blend of his no holds barred style with a situation as delicate as a father and son relationship.

Cormac McCarthy’s other novels are also brilliant. This one is a great litmus test on how you will feel about his work. The Road includes a lot of his trademark darkness, but it is the most accessible of his novels.