Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Road The Road by Cormac McCarthy

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

This beautiful piece of writing could be described as an epic prose poem. With no chapters, instead broken up into self-contained stanza-like paragraphs, it's simple story of a father and son lost in a post-apocalyptic landscape is creamily rich with vivid poetic imagery and powerful emotions that are carried across with the sparsest of Everyman dialogue that subtly carries real human soul through the little white lies of caring the father creates for his son as he unconsciously begs for him not to lose faith, as his mother did, in humanity and the hope of finding other 'good people' alive in what remains of America.

The source of the apocalypse, or it's type, is only inferred and never named, as it is how the father and son deal with their imbroglio that is important, not what or who caused it.

In this and other senses it is often what McCarthy and his characters don't say, rather than what they do, that makes one feel the booms and bust of luck and misfortune as if you were a silent impotent deity watching these two hapless travellers and wishing them luck in their seemingly doomed journey along a road lifelessly bereft of all hope, or is it?

The evocative descriptive narration that says more that simple straight exposition could ever say is a fine example of that great creative writing teacher cliché 'show, don't tell.'

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