The Road

Who is this Cormac McCarthy guy? I often get him mixed up with that Larry McMurtry guy. This confusion of artists seems to happen to me a lot. However, I’m not confused by the fact that this is the first book I’ve read by either. It’s also the second Oprah book I’ve read; the other one was Night by Elie Wiesel. I’m just stating facts and I’m not necessarily proud or embarrassed by them, I just think this context could be interesting years down the road when I reflect on this year in books.

It was dark and depressing, but The Road was also an ultra cool read. Picture a Mad Max-like burned-out world, but fewer people, less food, and more darkness. A man and his son attempt to navigate this world in their efforts to find the coast.

They are unnamed, referred to throughout the book mostly as “the man” and “the boy.” They have a shopping cart and each other, along with a pistol. They keep to the road but make occasional deviations to find food or avoid bad guys.

It’s short and straightforward. McCarthy’s writing is very spare in this book. He uses little punctuation and no quote marks in the dialogue. There are no chapters, but plenty of breaks. There is no picture on the cover and the only other colors besides black and white used on the jacket are some brown/gold tones (including the Oprah seal). It all fits with the sparseness of the book’s landscape.

But the emotions between the boy and the man are not sparse. They are deep and moving. I think the haunting details of their journey will stay with me for a long time. And I think I’m going to investigate how others interpreted the ending.

I’ve compared the scenery to Mad Max, but the feeling I had during the book was more like what I felt when I read Cold Mountain. I wonder if McCarthy was influenced at all by Frazier. They both tell of a journey through a somewhat mountainous landscape where hope and hopelessness are constantly present. The endings also have some parallels.

I also wonder if McCarthy’s landscape is the eastern or western United States. Did I miss something that would give this away?

Man it was good.