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The Road by Cormac McCarthy Review - Book in a Sitting Series

Updated on July 31, 2015

What is "Book in a Sitting" series

Time is valuable. Finding time to do things you love is hard. And if you love spending valuable time reading a book, you certainly don't want to waste it oncrappy book. Here is my attempt to bring you the books that are short and can be read in one sitting.

Diclamer: I do not guarantee you will love this book. I guarantee there is a value in this book and you should read the review and decide for yourself if it's your cup of tea or not.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy’s tenth novel, The Road, is his most harrowing yet deeply personal work. Some unnamed catastrophe has scourged the world to a burnt-out cinder, inhabited by the last remnants of mankind and a very few surviving dogs and fungi. The sky is perpetually shrouded by dust and toxic particulates; the seasons are merely varied intensities of cold and dampness. Bands of cannibals roam the roads and inhabit what few dwellings remain intact in the woods.


Plot Summary

An unnamed father and his young son journey across a grim post - apocalyptic landscape, some years after an unspecified disaster has destroyed civilization and most life on Earth. The land is filled with ash and devoid of living animals and vegetation. Many of the remaining human survivors have resorted to cannibalism, scavenging the detritus of city and country alike for flesh. The boy's mother, pregnant with him at the time of the disaster, gave up hope and committed suicide some time before the story began, despite the father's pleas. Much of the book is written in the third person, with references to "the Father" and "the Son" or to "The man" and "The boy."

We are living in the world where apocalyptic scenarios are discussed every day. Plagues, zombies, aliens, rapture, nuclear wars, apocalypse, all great conversation topic over nice dinner or a cup of coffee. Seriously, why are we so obsessed with different scenarios on how to end our world? There are so many movies and books about this topic, it's insane! It would be easy to blame Mayas and their faulty calendar, but the reality is, things are going for the worse in our world. Unemployment is on the rise, mother nature is starting to punch back and it seems just about everything is going downwards. As it seems, apocalypse is around the corner, just waiting to happen.

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy is a book that's telling us a tale about post-apocalyptic world, with The Man and The Boy being the main characters. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world with no name and date specified. The reader can assume it's somewhere in what was the United States prior to apocalypse as they are walking "state roads". The beautiful thing is that neither the man nor the boy are given names (hence The Man and The Boy) and this anonymity adds to the tone that it can happen to anyone, anywhere.


“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”

What makes this book stand out in the sea of post - apocalyptic, dystopian books is McCarthy's way to make you feel the world itself. He describes the world so bleak and beyond salvaging, that at the moments you can smell the rot of the world itself. The world engulfs you in its desperation and the only thing you can do is follow The Man and The Boy on their journey, trudging along with them. You will share their fears, their hopes and you will do your damn best not to dream a better world once you go to sleep. If you think the world - building is the best part of the book, you are in for a surprise. There isn't a lot of dialogue in the book, but there is so much communication between characters that you'll find yourself questioning how did McCarthy do it. Even worse, you'll ask yourself why is so natural for you to understand all that communication that is happening. Just then, you'll realise you are dragged into that world, you care so much about the characters that you didn't even realise when did that happend. That is what makes this book so great and why does it stand as a shining beacon in dystopian world where post - apocalyptic books are everywhere.

Movie Adaptation

It was really hard to bring grim world of "The Road" to life, but this movie adaptation is everything book fan could hope for. The characters seem believable and whole movie gives you that same feeling you get when you read a book. In part this is because of amazing acting of Viggo Mortensen who brought the character of The Man to life. If you are book dan and still didn't watch the movie, do yourself a favor and go do it now. Seriously, you must!

WARNING: MOVIE TRAILER CONTAINS MINOR BOOK SPOILERS

Get it here

Shortcomings

The book's strength is also its greatest weakness. The issue comes with the style of the book. The way the book is punctuated (or is not) is something that will make you love or hate the book. If you can get past the fact that the most complex punctuation mark is the comma, you will find yourself reading a masterpiece. If not, you will be reading attrocious book for few pages and leave it to collect dust.

Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy

About the author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island on July 20, 1933. He is the third of six children (the eldest son) born to Charles Joseph and Gladys Christina McGrail McCarthy (he has two brothers and three sisters). Originally named Charles (after his father), he renamed himself Cormac after the Irish King (another source says that McCarthy’s family was responsible for legally changing his name to the Gaelic equivalent of “son of Charles”).

He has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres. He won the Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction for The Road (2006).

Final Words

If you enjoy reading post - apocalyptic books, if you enjoy world building, you know what, if you enjoy awesome books, read "The road", you will not regret it. It's a masterpiece of modern writing and you own it to yourself to read it. Just do it!

Buy "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy here

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