Monday, February 11, 2008

Book Review: The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A man and his son are walking in the cold dark place that America has become--that the world has become. No creatures inhabit it except a few humans. The rest of the world has been extinguished.

The boy has never seen the sun, and thinks of crows and fish as we do of dragons and dinosaurs, as creatures of the imagination. How can he believe that they ever existed, since he has never seen them, except as illustrations in story books?

They scavenge for food, and walk with a mask on their faces because of the polluted air and ash everywhere. They live in extreme times, but always, the father and son take care of each other, and they stick to their values as far as possible. They are the "good guys". It's touching the way the father still keeps protecting his son from the bad stuff (corpses, skeletons) even though the bad stuff is everywhere and there's hardly any good stuff at all any more.

Despite the bleakness of the tale, Mr McCarthy tells the story in such a masterful way that we can't help reading on, not wanting anything bad to happen to this nameless duo, caring from the deepest places in our hearts for them to be all right. The prose is spare and the author conveys the biggest, most important things in the simplest way - which only makes them more terrifying.

It's an important book to read for everyone, especially those who care about what we're doing to the earth and nature.

The Road won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007.

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