I’ve just finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy on the recommendation of a friend. Some things initially struck me as odd and frustrating, but having had 24 hours to consider the book, I think it may well prove to be one of the important novels of the 21st century.
I don’t say this lightly. I think it’s up there with Catcher in the Rye, Canticle for Leibowitz, Of Mice and Men.
At first I was disappointed by the ending. But considering it now it’s wholly correct, and fits in with the book’s underlying message.
I won’t go into too much detail. The characterisation is brilliant. Stylistically, the sparsity is admirable – I suspect some of the hardest work in its writing was trimming back the text. The world depicted is uncomfortably believable. Some of the prose is, well, often poetry. The research undertaken is clearly immense (and pays off).
The saddest thing is that I think there’s a chance that The Road might one day be realised. Some might say that in some parts of the world, it’s already here.
"Everything we know now is destined to die except for the forest and the earth. Earth is the eternal survivor, and homo sapiens is not part of its mindless and inexorable plan. There are many forests to come. There will be flashes of intelligence. The last thing to burn will not be a man, but a leaf. So eat pizza and drink beer. And cheer up. It'll soon be over." – ROBERT HOLDSTOCK, 1948-2009