Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD: A Rewarding Trip

The RoadI have to confess something dark and deep about myself: I don’t like to be told what to read. Kind of ironic, if you think about the purpose of this blog and my self-appointed title of Diva of Good Taste. But there it is. So I actually avoided reading Cormac McCarthy‘s THE ROAD after it received the Oprah’s Book Club imprimatur. Not that I have anything against Oprah, per se; I just don’t like to be told what to read as one of the masses. It’s entirely another matter if someone I know and whose judgment I trust says “You should read this.”

Which is exactly what happened. I was talking about the Oscars with a colleague of mine, and he mentioned how phenomenal THE ROAD was, and then loaned me his copy of the book. Now I had to read it. I was a little worried, I confess. I’ve gotten to an age where the stamp of “literary fiction” gives me pause. I just don’t want to have to work that hard to enjoy a book.

I needn’t have worried. THE ROAD is a total and complete page-turner, even while you’re stopping to think, “Whoa. That sentence was outstanding.” Set in a post-nuclear winter, THE ROAD follows a unnamed man and his son as they try to walk to the coast in the hope-against-hope that things might be a little better there:

He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone.

This is a book that you find yourself thinking about long after you finish it. Wondering what would prompt them to cling so voraciously to life, to each other, when so much of the world lay in ashes around them. And admiring them the more for that tenacity. It’s just a tremendous book.

For anyone who’s read it, what you do have to say about it?

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2 Responses to “Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD: A Rewarding Trip”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I’m glad you like this book so much! I have to read it for summer reading this year, and I was a little worried. Any advice before I start?

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    Just keep reading it, no matter how dire the situation looks. Don’t worry. You’ll really like it.

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