I’m making my way through Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic masterpiece, The Road as quickly as I can. This is bleak, stark, horrific stuff. The language, the structure, the characters, the dialogue, even the book’s cover and the layout of the whole thing: all of it is stripped way down to its very raw, very singed elements. Everything lines up with the book’s themes. I’ve never read anything quite like it.
Janet Maslin, of the New York Times says this: “‘The Road’ would be pure misery if not for its stunning, savage beauty.”
A couple of passages:
“In the Long gray dusk they crossed a river and stopped and looked down from the concrete balustrade at the slow dead water passing underneath. Sketched upon the pall of soot downstream the outline of a burnt city like a black paper scrim…. They sat in the ashes by the side of the road and looked out to the east where the shape of the city was darkening into the coming night. They saw no lights.” (p134)
“He spread the sheet of plastic on the ground and got the coats and blankets from the cart and he took off their damp and muddy shoes and they sat there in silence with their hands out-held to the flames. He tried to think of something to say but he could not. He’d had this feeling before, beyond the numbness and the dull despair. The world shrinking down about a raw core of parasible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he would have thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever.” (p75)