Cormac McCarthy, The Road Review

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Harriet Klausner's review of Cormac McCarthy, The Road


“The Road ”

Written on: 28/07/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18660 reviews written)

The Road

Cormac McCarthy

Knopf, Sep 2006, $24.00

ISBN 0307265439

The cities and much of the woodland have vanished in a pandemic inferno; the birds no longer fly as they all died in the catastrophe. Nothing seems to live in the oceans. Left behind is a world with few living species struggling to survive under a grey cover of ash that engulfs the planet.

A man and his son trek down the lonely road using a shopping cart to carry their possessions as they search for food to stave off starvation. The elder is armed, but running out of ammo. He vows to not allow his offspring to be captured even if it means using his last two bullets on himself and his son. He fears the cannibals who would see them as choice cut and trusts no one including seemingly harmless other survivors. He insists to his child that they are good people doing what they must as he does what it takes to keep them safe. The lad learns only the strong survive and begins to wonders if staying alive is enough as he now comprehends why his mother committed suicide just after he was born.

The Road is a tremendous allegorical futuristic thriller that has current ramifications. The nameless travelers are an interesting pairing as the father does preemptive strikes on others rationalizing it as protecting his son based on in some incidents no evidence only a presumptive belief that everyone is the enemy. The son learns the Golden Rule lesson well of killing others before they do unto you as survival is everything in this grim haunting parable.

Harriet Klausner

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