The Road

I just finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  McCarthy is probably the closest author I’ve read recently to being literary fiction rather than genre fiction.  Personally I think that in any type of writing there are both good and bad examples to be found.  I don’t generally prefer literary fiction, but this book was interesting.

287 pages

Stand alone

Drama (the catch-all category, could also easily be literary fiction)

Characters

The book follows two characters, a father and his son.  Their names are never given, and very little about their background is ever given, we just watch them in their journey.  The son is fully trusting of the father and is almost completely dependent upon him.  The father is very weary of the world and does not trust anyone that he meets.

Setting

The book is set in a post apocalyptic world, although we’re never given an explanation as to what happened, and truthfully, it doesn’t matter.  We’re just put into an interesting situation with characters to follow and we go from there.

Plot

Winter is coming, and the father and son are heading south to try to find more food and possibly a place to stay so that they can survive.  The book follows their journey and the different situations that they encounter as they go along.

Enjoyment

This book was weird at times.  It was tough to get into in some areas, and overall I think the book should be read in one day.  There are no chapter demarcations, and the semi stream of consciousness makes it better to read without putting it down.  The book dealt a lot with themes of trust, loyalty, and the question of what we’re willing to do in order to survive and ensure the survival of those that we love.  While the book was interesting, I had some issues with it.  There were a couple of times when the father’s paranoia seemed exaggerated to me, and he went away from a good situation because of his paranoia.  One thing that irked me as I was thinking about the novel while reading it is that the characters are never given names.  I think if you’re trying to build sympathy for the characters, something as simple as knowing their names goes a long way.  On the other hand, leaving them completely anonymous makes it a little easier to picture yourself in their shoes.  It’s a balancing act where McCarthy chose a different path than I might have.

Overall Grade

The book was thought-provoking, if a bit different than what I’m used to.  If you enjoy McCarthy’s work, or literary fiction in general, I think you’d enjoy this book.

6/10

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3 Comments

  1. This book was pretty profound for me, as a father. In fact, as soon as I finished reading it, I immediately read it again with my then 10-year-old son. Absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching. It’s the only McCarthy book I’ve read . . . tried reading Child of God and it was just a bit too Faulknerian for my taste.

    Reply
    • I enjoyed the book, but I don’t have any children, which might be part of why it wasn’t quite as profound for me. Any children I may eventually have are a long ways away right now. It would be interesting to do a comparison of thoughts on this book before and after having children.

      Reply
  2. Hubby and I started listening to this on a road trip over the summer but only got halfway through. He went on to finish it, but I haven’t yet. We did see the movie and it wasn’t my thing. I think I might like reading the rest rather than listening. The boy’s voice on the audio was annoying.

    Reply

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