Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a novel that forces us to imagine the totally unthinkable: What would it be like to be one of the last human beings in a world in which every plant, and tree and creature were long dead? An unnamed boy and his father travel through an American landscape destroyed by nuclear war, all their worldly possessions contained in a shopping cart. The journey itself generates the plot as the pair struggle to survive from one day to the next, always on the brink of starvation.From my review of The Road in StarMag's Readsmonthly supplement. (Read the rest here.)
This book is (honestly) still haunting my dreams, and I can't get it out of my waking head either.
What scares me most is that this is an all too possible scenario particularly given the rampant stupidity of world leaders, including those of the "we-must-climb-on the-nuclear-bandwagon" persuasion so we can stick our fingers up at x, y or z. Idiots!
My fingers want to rant on and on here, but I'm deleting as fast as I'm typing because otherwise you would get a nice bit of Sharon polemic about the utter immorality of any country possessing a nuclear arsenal, and how a general yawn yawn apathy seems to grown around any public discussion of nuclear disarmament, an issue we all seemed to care much more about in the 60's and '70's. (Or is that my imagination?) But unless we pull ourselves back from this brink, this could be a picture of the future.
In The Road it's McCormac's portrait of the total deadness of everything that terrifies and that actually holds my attention more than the story of the man and his son (whom I honestly don't care about probably as much as I should).
I found I was quite affected when after reading the book for a while, I glanced up to see the world around me still exploding with life and colour. Sunshine. Birds. Trees. Flowers.
The novel is a quick read - it took me just a couple of days in odd moments. For the most part it's easy going and well written, though as I say in the review, McCormac's style did get up my nose at times, especially when he comes over all pseudo biblical. I found some of his excesses extremely annoying and just wished that the self-conscious author would get out of the way of the story he was telling!
Would I recommend it?: Yes, it's powerfully affecting and deeply thought provoking and it will change the way you see the world.
Oprah did well to pick it as her book of the month, although her interview with McCormac seems to have bombed. New York Entertainment slammed Oprah for her utterly inane questions, wasting "one of the five most culturally significant interviews she'll ever conduct" while McCormac appeared monumentally ill at ease.
If you still want to watch the recording, you can find it on the Oprah Book Club website, but will need to sign up first.