The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road, written in the year 2006 by the renowned writer Cormac McCarthy, is a story of a boy and his father on a journey through a landscape flaming with disasters that have destroyed civilians over a long period of time. It was adapted as a film in the year 2009 by the same name.

The setting of the story is on a land after the apocalypse which has destroyed civilization. It is also without life and vegetation, thus there is no source of food. The few people left have turned on each other, feeding on humans for survival. The story is about a boy and his sick father trying to survive the adversities brought about by the apocalypse. The boy was born during the disaster, after which the mother killed herself.

Being a responsible father, he took his son south to try and protect him from the dangers being posed. They carry a meager amount of supplies on their journey. The two are exposed and have the constant threat of attack. To protect themselves they have a gun, a revolver, with only two rounds – the father uses it once to kill a man who posed a grave threat. As they near death from starvation, the man finds a bunker filled with food, clothes and other supplies. However, they stay there only a few days as the bunker is exposed and not safe for long. The man constantly assures the boy that there are people of a positive nature left despite the threats throughout the journey.

The two successfully reach the sea by evading roving bands, scrounging for food and encounter situations as captives being harvested as food and a new-born infant being roasted. After reaching the sea, their situation does not improve – the two are compelled to go back inland. The man succumbs to an illness and before he dies, he tells the boy that he can communicate with him through his imagination after he dies. With no idea of what to do next, he stays with his father’s corpse for few days before he encounters a man whose been tracking him and his father. The man has a wife, a son and a daughter, and after convincing the boy that he is one of people alive with commendable character, the man takes the boy under his protection.

The story ends on a good note. Despite the father’s death, his assurance of the ‘good people’ comes to pass and the boy encounters a man who takes him under his wing.

This book is an inspiration from the author’s visit to El Paso Texas in the year 2003 with his son. He imagined the place in 50 or more years to come. In his work, he brings out a mood of emotional torture, and it is an adventure drawn in an epic form.

McCarthy, C., New Hampshire Library Association. & New Hampshire Library Association. (2007). Reads-TO-GO: [book club kit for the road]. New Hampshire: Nhla Reads-TO-GO.

McCarthy, C. (2006). The Road. New York: Vintage Books.

McCarthy, C. (2010). The Toad. London: Picador.

McCarthy, C. (2008). The Road. Princeton, N.J: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.