Thursday, 22 October 2009

REVIEW : The Road by Cormac McCarthy


McCarthy needs no real introduction , one of the modern greats in American literature . Winner of countless awards ( including the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) .

The Novel itself is set in an undisclosed time though it appears to be set in the very near future . The world has suffered a catastrophe resulting in the breakdown of civilisation , It is in this setting we are introduced to 'the man' and 'the boy' . We follow these 2 characters as they travel south across the US , away from their previous lives and the encroaching winter . And that is essentially it in way of plot , McCarthy doesn't explain anything about the state of the country or world at large after the event, we are told little of what has happened to society other than that it has descended into chaos, yet none of this diminishes the novel.

The story pans out in small dialogues between the father and his son, or little vignettes a few lines long , what makes this so engaging is the absolutely beautiful prose . McCarthy manages to put an exceptional amount of emotion into such spartan text , you feel their concern for each other, their futures and their feelings towards the lives they left behind. We see then struggle onwards towards their destination , searching the picked bare remnants of America for simple things like food and clothing (one of the most touching scenes in the entire novel comes with the man finding something we all take for granted for his son) .

The Road is not a large book, the Picador UK edition comes in at around 300 pages long, but its even smaller than this modest page count due stripped back nature of the text ( pages go by with one liners back and forth between the man and boy) . It can be read in a matter of hours, certainly easily in only a few days, but I promise it will stay with you for far far longer. At it's core it's a book about the depth of feeling between 2 people, the bond between and father and son and how this bond pulls them thorough time and time again when everything and everyone around them is sinking into ruin.

The Road is a thought provoking , emotional and consummately atmospheric novel , It is a bleak novel and I doubt anyone would finish it and say it was a fun read, BUT , it is a novel you must read, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't .

10/10 Simply stunning.


Simon Stone said...

Like your reviews. Saw some on Amazon. If you'd like to review my novel get in touch. You can view it here:
I'm happy to provide a free copy should you wish.