Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Road - Cormac McCarthy. An Oprah Pick

Oprah announced an unusual choice for her Book Selection today. Cormac McCarthy's The Road which I read in November is a frightening book and I recommend it. Here is my take.

If you saw the movies 21 days or Omega Man or Plant of the Apes you will know that in the post apocalyptic world we will be separated into two classes. Those that remain human and those that have become something terribly mutated. So it goes with The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

The book is immediately powerful because the reader sees this post-Armageddon future as entirely likely and the ravages forced on society as absolutely plausible. There are two characters in the book - father and son - and so depraved are the antagonists that the father concentrates on retaining one remaining bullet for his gun so he can shoot his son should they be captured. He cannot let the son become victim to a certain end that is revealed episodically until a climatic moment near the middle of the book. As they stumble along the road in a daily struggle for food the possible future is horrifyingly recounted when they nearly interrupt a cannibals smorgasbord replete with cauldron in the yard.

The book depicts a greyed out world where nothing apparently grows, all structures have been stripped by some locust of human desperation and death is found everywhere even in the tarmac of the the road they are travelling. It is not entirely clear where they are travelling or what has lead them to make this journey - there are several explanations which adds to the mystery. The book is riveting and is a stylized conversation between father and son which flows fast and sure. The Road, which I read in two days will live in my mind for a long time, but as horrific as this story is, I am sure the real thing will be worse and that is saying something.

No comments: