Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (31/81)

Category: Dystopia

In case you are one of the few people who hasn’t already read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Road”, I will explain that it is about an unnamed father and son walk along a road in America in the post-apocalyptic future. It is a very bleak depiction of the future, with a barren landscape and society crumbled to horrific lawlessness and immorality.

The other dystopian novels I’ve read so far have all described the system in place to rule society and largely these are intended as utopias but that have gone wrong. But there is nothing of that here. Society has completely crumbled and it is pretty much every man for himself. This is by far the darkest portrait of the future that I’ve read, and yet at the same time it was the most effecting.

Amongst the horrors of the desolate landscape, there is the relationship between the man and the son, which is an incredibly touching portrait and despite the world seeming very alien, this relationship always felt real.

“The Road” is a difficult read, not because of the lack of punctuation around reported speech, but because of the raw emotions and terrifying vision it depicts. Highly recommended but best read in private as it has the power to reduce you to tears.

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