Walking the Road to the Southern Coast

I thought I would not be able to finish this so soon, but I got a little time today to listen to my audiobook while my daughter was distracted by ICE AGE on my Kindle. The Road was a beautiful book, and I hope we never get to the point where anything like it occurs. Here’s my review:

The RoadThe Road by Cormac McCarthy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night, he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. 

In The Road, Cormac McCarthy paints a tragic picture of a post-apocalyptic landscape in the Southeastern US. Land is scorched, trees denuded, sun blocked by clouds of ash, and human society essentially demolished. There are roving bands of armed savages hunting other people to make them into slaves and worse. In this bleak world, a man and his young son are trying to make it to the coast where they hope to find better conditions and more food. Daily living is a struggle; traveling itself is dangerous, but the existence of other people potentially lurking somewhere nearby makes the risk that much more real and frightening. Houses are potential sources of food, but also potential traps or at least the scenes of savage tableaus of death that can stay in the mind long after they have been physically left behind. The father tries to preserve a sense of hope and humanity in his son, while at the same time teaching him the skills to preserve his life. The book is both suspenseful and tender–as we watch the relationship between father and son play out. While bleak, the novel is also in many ways beautiful, and in the end not entirely hopeless.

View all my reviews

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About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Associate Professor of Psychology at Lamar University. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
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2 Responses to Walking the Road to the Southern Coast

  1. vanbraman says:

    This is one of my favorites. I like reading dystopian novels and this one fit the bill. I need to read more McCarthy. I have only read this and ‘All the Pretty Horses’ and they were both great.

  2. jwrosenzweig says:

    I like a lot of things about McCarthy, but I find some of the quirks of his style kind of hostile to the reader—as though he enjoys making it difficult for me. He’s very evocative, though, especially in putting humans in their natural environment, and I think you capture that beautifully in this review!

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