Allusions in The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Pullitzer Prize winning The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, is a depressing story about a man and his child trying to survive in the gloomiest post-apocalyptic world I have ever seen. The author tries to shove hamfisted christological allusions about the son to the reader throughout the book through conversations that seem like they would never happen. Apparently, the book is supposed to mean more than it does on the surface because the surface is pretty bad, but I did not experience this book while sitting in a classroom with a professor who loved it; I purchased it while researching at Swarthmore and read it for my own pleasure. The books seems illogical and more allegorical but the allegory never clicked. I also disliked the artsy refusal to use quotations for dialogue. It really detrtacted from getting into the book.
Some people have liked this book. It has four stars over at Amazon. It did win a Pullitzer Prize and was selected as an Oprah's Book Club book. One reviewer described it as Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece. I just figure that if this is his masterpiece, then I will stay away from his other books. The only redeeming thing about my experience with this book is that it did drag me to the end. It might be that people who like this book were not deterred by "bad science" and an unbelievable post-apocalyptic book but looked past all that and enjoyed a story of love and friendship between a father and a son.
One of the constant subjects of conversation between the father and the son centers around "What is a good guy?" The boy is genuinely good and loving in a completely desolate and hostile world. When they encounter a stranger, even one who stole from them, he does encourage loving actions. It does make me wonder how much of our love is just love because it is comfortable to love in our culture. If I was thrown into a setting like the father in this book, would I still be loving? Would I be loving if it meant risking my life day in and day out?
I would go and sell my used copy on Amazon, but I do not sell books that go for less than $4. It is definitely not worth rereading. I will never recommend it to a friend or an enemy. Stay away from this!
Ethical Thinking: 3/5