Rating: 3/5 stars.
I encountered my first issue on page four. It was intense enmity at first sight.
“He thought the month was October but he wasnt sure. He hadnt kept a calendar for years.”
Apostrophes!? What happened to those magical things? Then, on page five…
“The boy turned in the blankets. Then he opened his eyes. Hi, Papa, he said.
I’m right here.
Quotation marks? Where art thou? Like they often say, you don’t appreciate things until they’re gone – and, in this case, I was starting to sincerely appreciate proper grammar.
I’m slightly joking. The concise, spare, and experimental prose served McCarthy’s purpose well in this story. It conveyed the themes of the book and touched on many truths of mankind in general. I give props to Cormac McCarthy for some of his more pulchritudinous passages:
“No list of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you.”
The Road has received myriad lauds and a lot of love. Despite this, I didn’t effusively enjoy the book. The stilted writing style made it difficult for me to connect with the characters. Near the end of the novel, I remember annotating “this is the scene where I should be crying… but I’m not.” I recognize the feat McCarthy has achieved by publishing this heartbreaking post-apocalyptic novel, but, personally, I couldn’t bring myself to like it more than any other okay book. Possibly because for every wonderfully-written passage or page, I had to trudge through 25 average ones.
Overall, I would recommend The Road to those who find pleasure in reading about dark, despairing situations as well as those who like experimental, post-apocalyptic fiction. The relationship between the father and his son acts as the best attribute of the book, as it reminds readers of the strength of human connection and how much love can endure and accomplish.