Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Oprah Book Club Selection #8 - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy, 2006, Alfred A. Knopf, publisher.  256 pages.

 This is a book about a journey.  A father, known as the Man and his son, known as the Boy, travel a bleak, ash covered road following an apocolypse that destroyed most of the world and most of its humans.  The boy's mother, pregnant with him when the cataclysm occured, died by suicide before the story takes place.  The father carries a revolver with two rounds - one for him and one for his son.  As they walk down the highway headed south, hoping to find warmth and good people, they attempt to allude the others, mostly wanderers and tribesmen, who search for humans to kill and eat.

The journey is harrowing and bleak, and its few happy moments usually involve the pair stumbling upon deserted houses with canned food and supplies.  Several cans of peaches provided untold joy to the father and son, who reveled in the sweet and strange tastes in what amounted to a food orgy.  But always, the lack of hope hangs over the pair like shroud.

The father is spitting blood and knows that he doesn't have long to live.  He hangs on as long as he can for his son, who will be forced to grow up quickly or succumb to the evil forces roaming the countryside.

This book is not for the faint of heart.  There are some passages that are truly disturbing, particularly one involving a new-born infant.  However, it is a wonderful book that will lead you to think about what mankind is doing to the world and how we can improve the situation.

This novel won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Out of five stars, I give The Road....

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