The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Early this morning I finished The Road and cannot resist a plug. A friend of mine who shares a concern for the end of humanity brought it to my attention. I picked up a copy intending to read it over the holidays, but before I knew it I was 50 pages in and could not put it down.
Like other works by Cormac McCarthy, The Road takes place in the open vistas of southwestern USA, but with a twist. This USA is the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse that has wiped out most of humanity, apart from a few stragglers, not to mention the rest of nature. It follows a father and son as they head on the road toward, hopefully, a better life. The macro story of utter trajedy and paradise lost, and the desperate economics of survival in that world, are set against the deep love between the father and a son who never knew the world as we know it.
It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, a haunting vision of a plausible future and a compelling narrative of the human condition. I’m not a particularly weepy person but McCarthy’s storytelling made my eyes well up with tears on practically every other page, and by the end I was bawling my eyes out. As someone troubled by the prospect of runaway climate change leading us on a slow road to extinction, and perhaps seeing that through a father’s eyes, the book tapped a deep emotional well for me.
I could go on and on about what happens in the story, but that would spoil it for you. So pick it up and read it.