Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I looked forward to reading this book because there is so much hype about it. Well, if some movies can be described as an art, then I shall say the same for this novel. The Road is gripping, haunting and thought provoking. I'm not sure about the other readers, but the lack of punctuation drives me crazy (although I understand the author's aim to do so intentionally).

Here are the two examples I selected from some pages:

He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.

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?

But as I read further, I began to get used to the writing style and get into the story quickly.

The opening line is dark and grim. This is a tale about a father and son's journey to survival set in a post-apocalyptic America. Nothing appears to be living in the world for everything is covered with a grey cover of ash, although there are a few living species struggling for survival. Food is hard to come by, and they are forced to dig as much as they can find. Leftovers or even a dry and shriveled apple one would consider as garbage is something more than they can bargained for.

Throughout the story, I could feel the strong protectiveness and deep love he harboured for his son. The father trusts no one, for fear of cannibals who would take them down while the son has a compassionate heart, because there is a scene where he asked his father if he could allow another boy to go with them (and of course the father has to say no. They couldn't even help themselves so how could they even help another being).

I think the author has done a great job in describing the grave situations; and I have to admire the father and the son's determination throughout the journey because it is no easy task. Although I enjoyed the story, I felt there are some unanswered questions, such as: How did the world come to a state like this? What has caused it, and why? etc. Nevertheless, this story will stay in my mind for some time.

(Note: This book was the pick of the Oprah's BookClub and a Pulitzer Prize Winner.)

[X-posted at my blog.]

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