Friday, January 30, 2009

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

Summary: A father and his son travel alone in a post-apocalyptic world. They struggle to keep going and stay alive when the few remaining humans are all potentially dangerous.

Musings: The father and son in this book live in a solitary world, and the novel sets a tone that matches its subject matter. The writing is sparse and brief; the sense of isolation and loneliness is even present in the lack of punctuation (apostrophes aren't even used!). The father struggles to keep moving with his son's continued life his only focus. The son, who never knew a populated world, tries to retain humanity and care in a world that has none left.

The book addresses the issues many of us face at one time or another. Why live? Why keep going? Is there a purpose in life? These questions are all the more difficult for the father and son because there are no real answers. They keep moving, but with no real end in mind. There is no "secret" colony of kind humans and living life forms they want to reach. They keep moving and struggling solely because the only other option is death. I wondered throughout whether the father made the "right" decision. In such a terrible world without hope, is "giving up" such a bad option? Can the afterlife, whatever it may or may not be, possibly be worse? There are no definitive answers, but I rooted for the small family the entire time.

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