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The Road
(Cormac McCarthy)

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Gray, dark, cold. Ash. Make yourself comfortable with these words. This is what remains of our world in "The Road", Cormac McCarthy''s post-apocalyptic vision set in the not so inconceivable future. At some point the reader might feel McCarthy''s constant reiteration on an earth laid waste, the gray clouds and the blackened dead trees and the abandoned homes scavenged bare, is monotonous. But that''s the point. This is not a pocket of America. The destruction is complete. Civilizations and order are but a memory, a distant memory.
Surviving the scene are a father and son traveling south in order to escape another winter. They follow a tattered map and stick to a road where the charred and melted dead litter the streets and roadside bandits await to kill and eat. (If the world is a dangerous place now, McCarthy''s is hell on earth.) What makes the nameless father and son remarkable is not their ability to scavenge for food and avoid murderers and thieves in an earth pillaged bare. It is their commitment to goodness where goodness is nowhere to be seen.
In this case it is the son, a young boy, who holds firm to the belief his father ingrained in his mind. They are, as the father says, "carrying the fire" in a world darker than dark. The boy is the father''s conscience and ours, and he pleads the case for morality in a place where, it can be argued, morality no longer has residency. Is he simply naïve? No. Affected? Yes, he weeps for the world, but he''s also impervious to the world''s selfish corruption.
McCarthy''s prose is, once again, poetic and beautifully written. He keeps true to the story and ends on note both sad and hopefully uplifting.
"The Road" is a powerful tale of survival. A survival of the noble qualities in human nature: benevolence, forgiveness and love. It serves as a reminder that though evil may flourish and, ultimately, destroy, goodness will find a way to carry on.



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