Sunday, October 19, 2008

One More for The Road: A Review

So far I've been reluctant to recommend a Cormac McCarthy novel to anyone wary of literary novels or violence. Well, that's changed. I recently finished The Road, his Pulitzer Prize winning 2006 novel about a father and son's struggle to survive after Earth has been largely destroyed by some unnamed disaster. I highly recommend this novel for any interested reader. Don't be put off by the fact that Oprah endorses it. Even she can't be wrong all of the time. 

In many ways, The Road is unlike any other McCarthy novel. It doesn't have a lot of violence, and when it does it isn't particularly gratuitous. Mostly, this novel just sets the reader on edge. You feel fear for the two main characters, who are travelling south for the winter through a territory overrun by band of cannibalistic marauders. Every time they investigate an abandoned home or opened a strange door, you wonder if it will be for the last time. 

My only problem with this novel was the ending. I wasn't sure I liked it at first--probably because it did not unfold the way I though it would. It is neither as violent as Blood Meridian nor as anticlimactic as No Country for Old Men. In fact, the ending is actually kind of inspiring. 

That's doesn't mean it has a happy ending, of course. That would have made the novel worthless. But it is the kind of ending that doesn't make you hate the world after you finish reading it. 

So, I'm still not sure if I like the ending of The Road. I wonder, for example, if McCarthy could have made his points more emphaticallyt if he had made the novel a full-fledged tragedy (catharsis and all). Ultimately, you'll have to form your own opinion of it. The more I think about the novel as a whole, though, the more I like it. 

But, as LeVar Burton would say, you don't have to take my word for it.  


  1. So - do you own this book or did you get it from the library? If you own it - I think I would like to borrow it and read it. I am intrigued.

  2. by the way - this is Mom - I changed my name to just Kathy instead of Mom/Grandma/Kathy