Down The Desolate Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a highly praised journey involving the relationship of a father and son in a post-apocalyptic world. The journey itself is not as significant as the budding relationship between the boy and his father, who remain nameless throughout the novel. The dark, ashen road is cold, dreary, and yet full of hope as the boy and his father push onward toward the coast. I haven’t given much away about the plot and really there isn’t a whole lot for me to give away in this review.

In fact, the plot plods along, but what kept me reading was the mood as it was set by the language McCarthy chose to depict the road, the journey, and the interactions between the main characters. The suspense builds initially when you wonder about where the boy’s mother is and what happened to her, but once that is resolved, you wonder what the resolution to the book might be.

***Semi-Spoiler Alert***
This really isn’t going to be major spoiler, but I wanted to provide my impressions of the book overall and what I think the resolution is to the novel, if there really is one. The boy and the man journey down the road worrying about the bad people who are cannibals. The initial relationship between the two is a father dictating (of sorts) to his son about what to do and how to react to various scenarios. However, as the relationship matures, the boy convinces the father not to be so closed and provide food to a man less fortunate than them, even though the old man states he would not have done the same.

The boy is hope throughout the book; a hope that humanity will again mature beyond its basic instincts to merely survive. The man slowly realizes the boy has some good points about how he should act and treat others, but as a father, his main concern is the safety and health of his son. These sometimes disparate objectives conflict with one another in subtle ways.

***End Spoiler Alert***

Overall, I enjoyed the book, though it was not one of those books that I instantly loved or enjoyed. Then again, I’m not sure you are supposed to enjoy the desolate environment McCarthy creates. I also had to stop often and read something less “depressing.” Too much desperate survival is not good for my psyche.

I did enjoy the book, the characters, and the ultimate resolution to the book, though I wondered why the family did not stay in the stocked shelter they found despite the possible dangers the strategy posed.

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