The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Review by Jacqui Slaney
This book was given to me with the words: ‘you read this type of book, so I’m sure you will love it’
I looked at the reviews, it had won awards and this is what the critics were saying:
By the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007, this is the story of a father and son walking alone through burned America, heading through the ravaged landscape to the coast. It has been hailed as 'the first great masterpiece of the globally warmed generation. Here is an American classic, which, at a stroke, makes McCarthy a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature . . . An absolutely wonderful book that people will be reading for generations'
Therefore, I thought I would give it a go.
It is not a long book, so I read it easily travelling backwards and forwards to work over two days. To be honest the way it is written, it is not a story that could sustain your interest over a long period.
There is no real beginning; you do not know what caused the disaster or what happened to the man and boy to get them to where the story starts. There is no real punctuation or speeches from the man or the boy, many readers compare it to a poem in style.
You do not know where the man and boy are travelling from or where they are going. They look at a map, but you are not told if there is some safe haven at the end of their journey. You follow them as they wander from place to place struggling to find food, water and shelter; you briefly meet other characters, some of whom have turned to cannibalism to survive. I found the ending to be quite expected and had been waiting for it for quite a while. There is a lot of descriptive writing, so you can visualise the world in which the two travel and the terrible things that they see. The story is bleak and the only thing that lightens it at all is the love of the father for his son, and his need to protect him against everything.
However, did I like it? Not really, I was more disappointed to be honest. I am not sure what I expected from all the hype, but probably more than what I found in the novel. I have read post apocalyptic/disaster stories before, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Last Light by Alex Scarrow just to name two, and enjoyed them all much more than this one. To be fair you do feel compelled to finish the book, the writing is well done, and the violence is graphic and believable. Nevertheless, although I may be a lone voice, I was disappointed in this book; I think it could have been a lot better.
5 out of 10