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quietearth [Celluloid 06.28.07] post apocalyptic review book

Year: 2006
Publisher: Knopf
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Cataclysm type: Unknown
Amazon link: link
Post apocalyptic concentration: 10 out of 10
"Mad Max" level: 2 out of 10
Review by: wilcoy
Rating: 8 out of 10

Key Characters:

The Road takes place in the present time and revolves around just two characters, a father and his seven or nine year old son. The book does not make his actual age clear. They are traveling from most likely eastern Tennessee to the shores of the Carolinas. Again this is not clear, but, having growng up in the region, it looks to me as if this is where the story takes place. The two are traveling to the shore because there is no food to be found and the winters are becoming unbearable. Everything is scorched, all the trees, buildings, everything is dead, or practically destroyed. We never find out what caused this apocalypse, but whatever happened it seems to be total.

The Story:
The story is quite simple, travel down the road, scavenge for whatever tins of food that can be found, and stay alive. The father believes the only way his son is going to have a chance at survival in this desolate world is to reach the shore where hopefully they may find live fish or some kind of food source. They encounter towns and farm homes which they explore. They also encounter others that prey on the weak and eventually eat them. They run into an old man who is somewhat of a puzzle.

Along the journey its quite clear how apocalyptic the world has become. There are no living animals and no living fish in the rivers or lakes. The trees along the road are just stumps and burnt wood and ash are everywhere. Yet, with all this darkness, the father is able to keep the boy entertained and teach him survival skills. There is also an innocence in the boy that is true to his character and represents maybe the last good thing on earth.

The Rating:
The Road is very interesting on a couple of different levels. First off, there are many mysteries about what happened to cause the destruction. Secondly, some deeper meaning exists in the book that go towards faith and good vs. evil. The book can be very cryptic about the son and whether he maybe some kind of benevolent being.

Where this book shines is in Cormac McCarthy’s descriptions and minute details about the road. His writing will keep you immersed to the point where you can almost sense and feel the environment. Yet, the book moves forward at a galloping pace. Also, the writing style is nothing I’ve read before. There are no commas and there are no he said, or she said. It is self explanatory to the reader which character is speaking. I would recommend it to anyone who is a post-apocalyptic fan and it would be great for someone on a weekend because you can easily read it in 48 hrs. 8 out of 10.

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quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

woohoo! Our first outside review! Nice job Wilcoy..


Wilcoy (14 years ago) Reply

Thanks, I enjoyed doing it.


SteveD (12 years ago) Reply

This is a great book! I read it twice. As a new father, it really made me think about the lengths I would go to in order to protect my daughter. There's a great deal to think about there: The dedication of the father in face of zero hope, the moral battles he is faced with while trying to protect his son, and the pair's adhearance to a set of morals that no longer have meaning (mostly at the boy's insistance).


Kevin D. Hendricks (11 years ago) Reply

This is an incredible book, one of the best in the genre. That said, I did find the actual apocalypse a little hard to swallow scientifically--what would cause such devastation and kill all plants and animals but not people? I suppose that's besides the point though. What it does do is add to the bleakness, which is kind of central to the entire story. In such an environment it seems there's literally no hope of survival, yet still the father and son struggle on.


Ethan Schaeffer (11 years ago) Reply

I think this book deserved a higher rating. It did win a Pulitzer Prize after all. I'd say at least a 9.

I don't think it was hard to swallow the apocalypse in this story. The vegetation probably died out from the lack of sun, as well as the ash covering the ground, and the waters probably being contaminated, at least to a point. Most of the animals probably died off from the catalyst of the apocalypse, as well as the dying off of the vegetation, the cold for the sun being blocked out, and being hunted down. Obviously there are some animals still around considering there was a dog in the story. I will admit that I'm curious what brought about the end of the world. Seems like it couldn't have been nuclear war because of the lack of radiation, but the water was somehow slightly contaminated with something. All the ash everywhere, the sky permanently blocked out. Maybe a meteor hit another part of the world?

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