Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review: The Road

Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Genre: Post-apocalytic 
Year: 2006
Pages: 287

This novel follows a man and his son as they wander through a desolate country which once was America.

I have not yet read many post-apocalyptic novels, and I don’t believe I ever read an adult one. Yet what I feel often in these type of worlds is the inaccuracy of characters. Suddenly, everyone becomes heartlessly brave. And yes, I understand generally only the brave people will survive, but they often become rather emotion-less, all of a sudden. Again, I can see that this is supposed to be a natural transition people are to go through in order to live, yet I don’t think most authors are capable to write believable characters in post-apocalyptic worlds.
Cormac McCarthy, however, is.
The two protagonists are so real, even though greatly damaged by what has become of the world. We as readers can see the man has indeed become harsher, but we learn he was not always like that. Besides, we also get  to know the weaker side to his personality – especially when he is with his son, who he is in fact trying to teach how to be cold-hearted at moments it is necessary. The relationship between the boy and his father is so well described. Despite the situation in which they find themselves, their interaction feels as though it would have been the same in a normal world. Surely, they would talk about different topics, and so on, but you get the general gist of what I am trying to say here.
The little boy himself, too, can be seen as much more realistic – he has mental breakdowns all the time, and keeps complaining about the fact that he is hungry and tired: sounds like a normal teenager, doesn’t it? (Although I believe the boy is supposed to be a little younger than that).
A small sidenote to my own rant of it, especially the boy's behaviour, being realistic: We never get to know for sure when this apocalypse happened, or even what it was, but by small events we learn it was a very long time ago: the boy grew up in it. Thus, never having known another world, is it realistic for him to sound like he needs to adapt to their way of living?

Conversations were another strong part of this novel. Even though they often consisted of only a few short sentences, this was another aspect which made the characters realistic.

I must admit that it did take me quite some time to get used to the writing style. The omission of the apostrophe in words such as don’t and won’t bothered me most, but there are also hardly any punctuation marks other than final stops. However, after a while, I began to appreciate this as a unique trait of this author. I am still dubious about the loss of the apostrophe, just because I feel it is grammatically incorrect not to use them when he leaves them out.

You should be aware that nothing much happens throughout the novel, and the characters is really all there is. By stating this, however, I am not trying to say I did not enjoy the story. I did. I’m not sure what to compare it to, and thus do not know who to recommend this to, so I would say, does the novel still sound interesting after what I just wrote? Go read it!  

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