Cormac McCarthy is one of the 21st century’s most profound writers. He has been called the modern-day Faulkner, and several of his novels have been translated into the big-screen. As with most film-adapted books, it’s always more rewarding to read the story and create the images within your own mind first. I enjoyed reading The Road so much, and developed so many incredibly sharp images in my mind, that I’m afraid to watch the movie and overshadow my imagination’s version of the story. And it is such a good story.
In his post-modern style McCarthy uses simple and sparse punctuation, vivid descriptions, and a fast-paced conversation. The Road chronicles the journey of a father and son as they walk through a burned America in what appears to be a post-atomic war zone. The landscape is ravaged, deserted, and burned. They pass through ash, smoke, snow, overturned vehicles, and abandoned towns. The sky is dark, they are dressed in rags, and the supplies are extremely low. They are headed to the coast in hopes of finding others.
Along the way the two must avoid a terrifying group of individuals surviving on the carnage and horror of cannibalism. A few of the scenes have you frantically turning the pages and holding your breath.
The story is powerful, tense, devastating, and yet hopeful. The love that is displayed between this father and son is incredibly touching, with an end that speaks to the hope and perseverance of human nature.