Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is an extremely bleak tale about a father and son's struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. That's about all there is to it. But between the lines of the glaringly minimalistic prose are themes of love, hope, morality, and even a bit of faith.

This is not an uplifting book; it's clear from the beginning that it takes place in a dead, brutal world with no hope of recovering. But in just a few simple words at a time, McCarthy makes the characters and the relationship between them believable; you want them to get through it with both their bodies and their souls intact. And they are in such desperate circumstances that when they find even the smallest of comforts in the dead world, it has an emotional impact that is rarely expressed in the post-apocalyptic subgenre. The Pulitzer prize The Road received in 2007 was, in my opinion, well deserved.

On a tangential note, I pictured the nameless father in the book as looking like Christian Bale, because for some reason, I thought Bale was playing him in the upcoming movie adaptation.  When you don't look too closely, it could even be him on the cover of the book (I challenge you to identify who it actually is).  Do you picture characters in books as looking like celebrities?  Am I normal?

7 comments:

SharkBoy said...

I loved that book too, depressing but so explicit...
I don't go in dark basements anymore.

Mark said...

Yes, that's some of the most beautiful writing about the most horrific stuff I've ever encountered. More harrowing than 1984, for sure.

Dr. Zombie said...

I loved this book as well, Phronk.

What concerns me about the movie adaptation is that the book was very much about the father's internal monologue. His fears, his worries, his concern for the well-being of his son; all of those things that make a film adaptation seem near impossible to convey.

I hope it's more than just another post-apocalyptic adventure story. A Road Warrior treatment would do this incredibly powerful novel a horrid injustice...

Phronk said...

Ugh, yeah, it would suck if they simply extended the minimal action sequences in the book, ignoring what it's really about. I'm looking forward to seeing how they visually bring the book to life, but I hope they also somehow capture the substance of it.

Shora said...

I'm the only person I know that detested this book. I'm a sensitive soul and no matter how nicely he puts words together, what he describes are things I don't want to read about.

And it's Aragorn dude on the cover... I win!!!

Sean Wraight said...

The Road was a very difficult yet rewarding book for me in many ways. Strangely I did not picture any actor in the protagonists role. Strangely because I normally do. I think due to the bleak nature of the book itself the father's face always seemed obscure to me.

For the record, I am not looking forward to the Hollywood adaptation of this book. Mind you, in the hands of the right director it could be amazing. Coen brothers perhaps?

I just have a funny feeling this one's gonna be schlocky and ultimately disappointing.

What an amazing book though.

Excellent post my friend.

s

Anonymous said...

What a harrowing, beautiful story. And I also imagined Christian Bale as the father...