Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A father and son make their way south on a road that has been long in disrepair, through a world much changed from the world we know. It is a mostly hostile world where survival is everything. The son perhaps is eight or so and has never known a world with crows flying, fish swimming, green trees and grass, goodness. Father once knew this other world and dreams about it and shares bits of it with his son. School, books even the boy's name are not important. He and his father survive by trying to fly below the radar as we say it today, trusting no one. Brutal well armed groups of people will shoot you and perhaps cannibalize your remains and steal whatever blankets, shoes and so on you have managed to scavenge. Death is everywhere. There are still supplies to be found if you look beyond the beaten path but you may have to go days without food and you cannot trust anyone. Much of the landscape is blackened by fire, the boy's father often cautions his son not to look and indeed I wished I too did not have to look. The father once perhaps had an objective in mind when the pair started down the road but he has long lost sight of whatever it was. McCarthy writes riveting, brutal stories and this is no exception. He does leave readers with a bit of hope in the end however. JDW 1/29/09

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