Author: Cormac McCarthy
Original language: English
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. They sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.
The prose is quintessentially McCarthy: spare, desolate, unemotional, reserved of both unnecessary vocabulary and punctuation (he recognized the necessary evil of periods denoting the end of a sentence. Some contractions are so designated with an apostrophe, some not. Exclamation points are avoided with the same vigilance as would be shown to beanies with propellers). Although most English teachers I’ve been a captive audience to would consider him Satan incarnate, he still can turn a phrase of almost unbearable beauty.