Friday, February 13, 2009 By: Suzanne

The Road

The Road is my first posting in the New Classics Challenge. Is anyone else out there that reads this also doing this challenge? If so, does it seem to you that all the books on this list have been made into movies or are being made in the future? Is that how they came up with this list? If that's the case, I'm a little disappointed. If I know a movie that's based on a book is coming out and I haven't yet read the book, I usually wait to read it until after I see the movie. That way, I can like both. I know I'll never like the movie if I read the book first (Harry Potter and Bridget Jones are the only exceptions). I really hope I like this movie (if I ever get to see it). Apparently no one knows when it's coming out. It was supposed to be released in November of last year and now it's being said 2009 but no time frame other than that. It has quite a few really good actors, so I'm looking forward to it anyway.

From the back of the book:

A father and son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of food - and each other.

This is a story told with no names. The characters are The Man and The Boy. It is post-apocalyptic America. We are never told exactly what happened but most of us can guess. In fact, it might even be talking down to the reader spending time discussing why all the trees and plants and grasses and every living thing has been burned. We know. I'm not sure if this is why McCarthy never discloses their past or if it is for more subtle reasons. The man often notes that his past is gone, what was will never be and there is no point thinking of it. The boy never knew a world other than this, being born after "the event," and does not seem to believe any of his fathers stories about the world the way it was before.

On their journey across this wasteland they meet other characters, sometimes people in much worse shape than themselves. Without giving too much away, I will tell you that without growing plants, the animals have died. Without either plants or animals to eat, the survivors are growing desperate. It's either die or find food in any way or can.

I was completely engrossed in this book, one of those "I can't put it down" types. Every minute I had free I would pick it up and read, even if it was only for a paragraph. The writing is wonderful and I got carried away in this world that is (unfortunately) completely possible. McCarthy obviously spent a lot of time making sure the details were there to give a complete picture. I had no trouble visualizing exactly what he was talking about. The trials these two go through make you wonder how they'll ever get of it this time but somehow, good pulls through. Then McCarthy killed it (the book I mean). He takes you right to the point of no return and then drops the ball. The ending is too easy. It's almost as if he said, "this boy's been through enough, I'll let him take the easy road now." It gives the reader hope, but the problem with an easy ending is that you feel cheated. I felt like he gave up and just didn't know how else to get his character there.

But this book is still wonderful and I think you all should read it!


Kristi said...

I read this book for the New classics challenge that just ended (not the perpetual one of course) but I loved the book - I actually listened to it on audio and fell in love with the narrator's voice. I can still hear him saying "It's okay - You're okay" If you want to see my review - you can go here -