By Robert Drinkwater
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a bleak post-apocalyptic novel about a father and his son traversing through the world that has ended. It’s unclear of how exactly it ended, but the world they live in is dangerous and the surviving people are all struggling to survive. This duo struggle issues such as finding food, shelter, and dealing with “bad guys” as the kid calls them. In this book, many people have lost their humanity and have resorted to stealing and cannibalism to survive.
The true heart of this novel is the bond between the father and his son. The father will do anything to protect his son. His son, who seems to have lived in this apocalyptic world most of his life seems to have a good understanding of what is going on. He knows that the world is unsafe and that there are terrible people out there that he calls “The bad guys”. He also keeps asking his father if they’re going to due, to which his father usually responds honestly, saying “maybe”. He does show a lot of naivete as he is still young and doesn’t understand certain things. He wants to help everyone they meet along the way, but his father is hesitant because he worries for their safety.
This book has a unique writing style. It is not split up into chapters, instead it’s just paragraphs. No character in this novel has a name, instead the two main characters are just called “The Man” and “The Boy”. I found that to be strange at first, but I got used to it after awhile.One thing that did throw me off what the dialogue. There were no quotation marks and it didn’t let us know who said what. It got confusing at times because I was trying to follow which character was saying what.
This is a relatively short read, only about 280 pages. At times I found it to be too bleak and at other times a little bit boring. We don’t really know that much about these two characters, just that they’re trying to survive. I also wanted to know more about how the world ended up like that. A lot of those details were vague. I knew very little of The Man’s life before the apocalypse. He mentions having a wife, and there are a few flashbacks, but those were concise and they didn’t give away that much detail on either of those characters. I’m assuming that she died because she wasn’t around with the boy and his father.
I think that this novel does a good job at portraying the love these characters have for one another. The father will do anything for his son. I could really sense the heartbreak and desperation that was going on throughout this book. These characters also seemed drained. They have been living in this post-apocalyptic world for a long time and I could tell, as they both were used to the starvation and the dire state of the world where the only thing that mattered was survival.
Overall, I felt like this was a event novel. It was heart wrenching and poignant. The Covid-19 Pandemic may have you inn a mood to read some post apocalyptic novels. If that is the case then this book is for you. It might make you grateful that things are not as bad as they are in the world we live in when reading this book.
You can but The Road by Cormac McCarthy on Amazon for $10.50 .