But I bought this book today, and I'm already done. Comfortably. Is this the easiest read to win a Pulitzer ever, or what?!?
The gist is clear: Life on earth has been destroyed, though it's taking a few years to finish dying out. Nothing grows in the world: no birds fly, no animals or fish or even insects remain. There are only people, trekking the ash-filled world in search of tinned food, fresh water, and people to eat. A man and his son wander like everyone else, but they've drawn some lines of decency: no eating people, no theft from the living, only self-defense. The man can't figure out why to keep living, since the world is dying out, but he can't see a reason to give up either. God isn't his answer, but he does tell his son to keep "carrying the fire." How else to respond to apocalypse?
Since there are hundreds of reviews of The Road in papers and blogs, I'm going to make a few points and let it go:
- what makes McCarthy think he's too good for standard punctuation marks? I kept having to reread dialogue to figure out who was the one saying nothing but "Okay" in this particular exchange
- some images are going to stick with me: the spitted and roasting newborn mentioned in every review, obviously, but also the apparition of the gray sea under gray clouds of ash, the decay of abandoned houses, and so on
- the tone is devastatingly appropriate. Devastatingly appropriate
- how the hell else is a decent person to respond to apocalypse and the inevitability of imminent planetary death?