The Road – A Book Review


Cormac McCarthy is not one of my favorite writers. A couple of years back,I had read No Country for Old Men, and found it too violent and depressing for my (generally inured to violence) tastes.

However, all the buzz that I heard about The Road convinced me to give him another try, and really am glad I did!

The story is very simple. In a post-apocalyptic world, a man and his son walk through a devastated America. They are moving south on the road hoping to come to a more habitable area with some good people.

That’s the kernel of the story, but the descriptions and the writing is beautiful, just beautiful. It falls somewhere in the grey area between poetry and prose. Don’t be mistaken, the language is not flowery, it is sparse…as sparse as the greyed-out landscape, the nothingness described in the novel. But it is moving, and there is beauty. I was touched by the father’s love for his son, and his desperate, scrambling efforts to protect him at all costs from the dangers of the road.

I loved the relationship between the two. The son is a voice of conscience guiding his father. Although he is dependent on his father for survival, as the book goes on, we can see that the father is also dependent on him- he is the reason for going on, the only hope he has.

If he is not the word of God, then God never spoke

As I read through the horrors of the book, I kept looking around thankful for my warm blankets, hot food, and the general comforts of my life. And although I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I ended up giving a silent thanks for all the simple comforts of life we all enjoy.

Btw, anyone seen the movie? I wonder if it does justice to the book. It does have my favorite Viggo Mortensen, who I just know will have done an awesome job. I can’t think of a better person to cast for the role of the father!

15 Responses
  • Amanda
    November 29, 2010

    I tried to get into this one and couldn’t. All the random section breaks bothered me.

    • Nish
      November 30, 2010

      @Amanda: You know, the lack of punctuation and the odd fonts used bothered me a bit too at first. But then, I think that’s his writing style. In this book, I could overlook it. But, I just hated No Country for old men…

  • Vaishnavi
    November 29, 2010

    Sounds like a good book! Is it dystopic? That is one genre I haven’t really explored. Viggo Mortensen is my favourite too! Thanks for sharing the review 🙂

    • Nish
      November 29, 2010

      @Vaishnavi: Yes, you could categorize it as dystopian fiction. I guess I haven’t explored this genre much either 🙂

  • Avada Kedavra
    November 29, 2010

    Looks like a nice book.. need to get hold of it.. I havent seen the movie too!

  • Sharry
    November 29, 2010

    Oh yes, I read this book a while ago and it’s one of those books that haunt you long after you’ve finished it. I haven’t seen the movie yet, either! It came out a while ago, no? I love post-apocalyptic books! They always make me look around me and feel glad for simple things like food and shelter and family. It’s sad that so many people – myself included- are so removed from how to survive on these basic necessities. I probably wouldn’t be able to make a fire without matches. That’s sad.

    • Nish
      November 29, 2010

      @Sharry: It is, isn’t it. I mean, nothing much really happens in the story, but he somehow drags you into this world, and really make you feel. It takes some writing to be able to do that.

  • Jenny
    November 28, 2010

    I’m too chicken to see the movie, and too in love with quotation marks to read the book. In spite of my extreme love for Viggo Mortensen. :p

    • Nish
      November 29, 2010

      @Oh, which lady doesn’t love Viggo Mortensen :). McCarthy’s writing is very strange, blunt, almost monosyllabic. But it was good writing all the same. And I’m with you, I am too chicken to see the movie. There are certain horrors I can swallow in print, but would never be able to see.

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