Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Road (2006)

Here's a tip: if you want some seriously weird and disturbing dreams, read Cormac McCarthy's The Road (2006) almost entirely in one day. Then just go to sleep. I guarantee you a restless night of gathering supplies for survival, running from people, looking for people, and being very very worried. If I had it to do over again, I might have made myself spread the book out over a few more readings, but that was hard to do...

The Road is the story of a man and a boy who are diligently heading south together in a post-apocalyptic United States. Something happened to the world right before the man's wife was going to give birth, and the boy has grown up in a world full of fire, plagues, death, killing, and horror. It has been several years and now there aren't many people left and those that are around aren't very friendly. No plant or animal life seems to have survived and all their food must be scavenged from houses and stores that have already been picked over by other survivors. The book alternates between mind-numbing repetition and mind-numbing horror. And yet, it is consistently poetic and the relationship between the father and son is beautiful, simple, and moving.

It seems like everyone I know has read this already, and they all told me it was very good and very bleak. They weren't lying, but I'm glad I finally put it at the top of my pile.


Plop Blop said...

I read it over a week or two, and I remember having trouble sleeping on more than one evening. It makes you feel that the possibility of someone brutally murdering you at any moment is not only real, but should be expected.

I'm always weirded out that this was an Oprah book club book.

I hope the movie is good.

Casual N. said...

I just read it a few weeks ago, right after reading No Country for Old Men. I live in a cave, where reading Cormac McCarthy for the first time just happened. I am now going to read The Orchard Keeper.

Regarding The Road, while I was reading it, and after, I found that the walks I took at night with my husband were filled with thoughts of this book. I couldn't look at things the same way. How fragile and lucky we are, it doesn't seem like things should go as well as they do, and I doubt I could survive long if they didn't. A really amazing book. And because I live in a cave, and didn't even read the back of the book, I had absolutely no idea what it was about and it was perfect.

Oh, and I used to have all sorts of survival dreams like this, I am surprised this book did not stir those up.