Try as I might to go into reading McCarthy’s The Road without preconceptions, I just couldn’t do it completely. I’d seen the film, I knew of other friends who read it and had varying (though broadly positive) responses to it, and had looked at a bunch of the reviews on Goodreads. Let alone the fact that it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner (amongst a not-inconsiderable list of other awards).
That all said, I think I largely managed to read the book without those collective factor weighing overmuch upon me. No small feat.
McCarthy’s book touches so many factors – the Hero’s Journey, a road tale, father-son relationships, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, cautionary tales of what might happen if Mankind continues on our merry way, environmentalist warnings of a world denuded of its biosphere. The richness of all of these intersecting at once, and the interesting style of McCarthy’s writing, which is stripped very bare but remains full of depth and meaning, makes The Road something more than just an interesting piece of fiction; rather, it’s an artwork in and of itself.
Possibly (if not certainly) the bleakest tale I’ve read in a good long while, The Road should be something we all read. It may not necessarily be to everyone’s taste, but should be read.
5/5 from me.