Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I've never read a Cormac McCarthy novel. I was at the library, fifteen minutes before closing time, and I couldn't find a single book in all of the trade paperback section to take with me. Finally my eyes settled upon The Road and I grabbed it instantly.

I didn't know much about it, other than the cannibalism, which I spoiled for myself (and perhaps you as well) by reading an article about the soon-to-be-made film version. Regardless, the scene which I ended up ruining for myself was much worse than anything I could have imagined, mainly because of McCarthy's writing. Stark and rich with words that I can't rightly say I understand, it's a novel about family, hope, and survival.

Creating a post-apocalyptic world helps make it easier for the reader to bond with the characters because their survival in a world that exists outside of our own (a world a handful of people could one day see; cause, let's face it, not ALL of us will...) hinges upon staying together. By not telling the reader WHY all of this has happened, McCarthy forces the reader to consider the characters alone. Frail creatures who could be any of us.

The end is heartbreaking, but ultimately satisfying. I was convinced throughout the novel that This Would Not End Well. Indeed, while your heart bleeds for what ultimately happens, there is still hope. Ultimately, that's what McCarthy wants us to believe. Despite all of the pain and suffering one must go through...there is always hope.

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