Sunday, 18 December 2011

Awfully good! The Road by Cormac McCarthy

It’s taken me several days to come back from the place that The Road took me. Oh, yes, I’ve seen the film. So there weren’t a lot of surprises. Nevertheless, I found myself as the man pushing the shopping trolley, trying to avoid cannibals and persevering in the face of fate, all for the love of a son. As a father I can completely understand that.
During the final pages of the book I found myself looking around the train carriage I was travelling in, wondering whether I could bring myself to eat any of the passengers. Not even the old lady opposite, who smelled of ham, seemed appetising. The Road had me so strongly in its grip, but I found that I was one of the good guys. I would never consume human flesh.
I think that McCarthy’s style is ideal for The Road. He eschews the punctuation that normal humans require around dialogue, mixes direct and reported speech, and joins everything together with description of setting and action that colours the canvas like a speed painter. There is just enough to set the reader thinking about what has been left unsaid and the subject matter is perfect for that minimalism. Apocalypse, infanticide, slavery, cannibalism, starvation, futility of being. It sounds grey and ashen, the devastated world that is The Road, but I want back in. Like a dream interrupted by extreme outcomes or some external stimulus, I need to get back in. The man went through so much to protect his son, a continual search for hope and safety. I was that man and I died too, but I’m praying tonight that sleep will set me back on The Road.


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  1. Awesome review. You brought me onboard the train.

  2. Thanks, Kelly. It left a great impression on me. I love McCarthy's style.

  3. I really loved The Road too! This is a book that will stay with you for a very long time. McCarthy is just brilliant at description and his grey wasteland inhabitated by cannibals is truly terrifying.