Wednesday, September 9, 2009

REVIEW: THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
2006 Vintage Books

As I think I have mentioned before there are only a very small hand full of books that has made me cry, and The Road is one of them.  And we're not talking just "cry", we are talking THE UGLY CRY, I mean a real boo-hoo fest.  Even just thinking about this book makes my eyes well up!  I will not see the movie as this is my number two favourite book of all time (Anna Karenina being #1), and I do not want my memory of it diluted or tainted in any way.  I don't care how great the movie was. 

"The Road"  follows a man and his 7 year old son in a post apocolyptic world somewhere in North America.  This premise is enough to grab the reader right there.  But this story is so much more than that.  This is a Love Story between a father and son, and when I read it my own daughter was 6 years old and it just hit me hard right in the heart.  Took my breath away.  Kept me up at night.  It was devestatingly beautiful, heartbreaking, and I am so profoundly glad I read it. 

Another reason I loved it is because of McCarthy's writing style.  I believe it is a common theme in many of his books, but this was the first book I have read of his and so it struck me even more vividly.  The dialogue is, most of the time, not prefaced by "he said" "she said", instead it is just THERE on the page, and so brilliantly written that although you are not handheld into who is saying what, it is not necessary as each characters voice and vision is so strong you will have no trouble following along.  Here's what I mean, this is the very first bit of dialogue in the book, it is between the father and his much beloved son:

He was a long time going to sleep.  After a while he turned and looked at the man.  His face in the small light streaked with black from the rain like some old world thespian.  Can I ask you something? he said.
     Yes. Of course
     Are we going to die?
     Sometime.  Not now.
     And we're still going south.
     So we'll be warm.
     Okay, what?
     Nothing. Just okay.
     Go to sleep.
     I'm going to blow out the lamp.  Is that okay?
     Yes. That's okay.
     And then later in the darkness:  Can I ask you something ?
     Yes.  Of course you can.
     What would you do if I died?
     If you died I would want to die too.
     So you could be with me?
     Yes.  So I could be with you.

Even as I typed the above scene I find I am moved to tears.  There are scenes in this novel that are beautiful and some that are so disturbing  I will never get those images out of my head.  But what McCarthy does do is paints a very realistic picture of what the world would look like after a massive catastrophy like a nuclear war.  It is at once a chilling account, and a moving powerful story of the love of between a parent and their child.  I am not summarizing the story here, (I often do not do that in my reviews) because I think a person should go into this book fresh with just the basic premise, that way you will enjoy it so much more.  But that is just my opinion!   I am like that when I read other reviews as well, I usually skip over the summary as I want to read a book with only knowing the bare minimum.  But here is the link to the book on so you can read for yourself more detail if you like. 

RATING:  5/5

8 Blabs:

Missy B. said...

Great review, Lisa! I am reading Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy now....another good one.

Jessica said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even though I would have like the who, what, when, where, and why that were left out. I think the book was more powerful without all of those details. This book brought me to tears, too. With such heartbreaking scenes, I don't know how well this novel will transfer to screen. But I think I'll give the movie a try when it comes out.

Lisa said...

My son is reading this book right now but I just can't work up the mood for it. I know I should and maybe, just maybe, I will.

Unknown said...

alright...yet another one to add to my list. :)

Anonymous said...

I have this book high on my to be read next list! I had better get a new box of kleenex. Wonderful review!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Lisa, this book moved me deeply as well. I'm glad you like it too. Excellent review.

Unknown said...

Nice review - I like the "ugly cry description".

Anna said...

This was a tough book to read, but I thought it was really good. Great review.

Diary of an Eccentric

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