If what you’re looking for is the grimmest post-apocalypse book there is, this book is for you!
…I’m talking about “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.
The Road – Plot
This is the story of a father and his young son travelling to the south, where they can possibly find a warmer climate. They are living from what they find on the road, scavenging after all plants and animals have died, the air is toxic and the sun is always hidden by thick clouds.
Constantly on the road, they can’t stay still, as they won’t have anything to feed on. While travelling, they meet all sorts of people and that is the beauty of this book. They face dark situations – cannibals preserving people to eat them, people starving, desperation and fear for their own life.
The Road – My thoughts
The dialogue between the father and the son is beautifully crafted. I have a son of my own and I could recognize the speech patterns of a child trying to understand what is happening, trying to voice his emotions and wishes. He is fearful and courageous. He understands their dire circumstances and, yet, manages to preserve his innocence. He acts as a moral compass to his father and I found that beautiful!
This was an emotional read. Grimm, yet hopeful. But there are things I didn’t enjoy. The main thing that bugged me was the ambiguity of what had happened that left Earth destroyed this way. We are left in the dark as to when it had happened as well. It seems to be long ago as they find cans that can’t be eaten. Yet, another small thing that bugged me – they find dried apples in an orchard that can be eaten. How long can dried apples last? A year at most? It felt a bit inconsistent.
However, I think, to enjoy it, these are inconsequential details. They are beyond the scope of the book. The writing is poetic and vivid.
The main theme is the father-son relationship amidst hardship and that is beautifully developed, extremely realistic and very emotional. To realize how many sacrifices a parent has to make to raise a kid well in that kind of an environment is heart breaking. I loved the way the father instills in him good values. This is such a difficult thing even in ideal living conditions, I can’t imagine how it was for them.
The discussion becomes, of course, what it means to be good. Are you still good when you ignore someone who will die of hunger?
Questions like that can only arise in dire situations. Because when you yourself are well, good and bad are easier to discern. When your life is on the line as well, there is no more black and white – it all becomes a little greyer.
For an emotional, beautiful, dark read, this book is perfect, I highly recommend it!
✨✨✨Have you read it? Did you like it? Let me know!✨✨✨