This book is shaping up to be one of my favourites of the year, if not the favourite. The reason is that it is almost impossible to stop reading it and although the characters are as sparse as the post apocalyptic landscape there is something compelling here.
Reading The Border Trilogy and No Country for Old Men has been perfect preparation for this. Not only is the McCarthy style now easy to get to grips with – no quote marks and occasional switching between first name and surname – but also so is his big theme.
In books where the subject has been always about the dying of the light the cowboys and moral sheriffs wondering what is going to become of their world it makes sense to have done with it completely. Everything leads to this book and the road is not just a metaphorical one but also something that McCarthy has been travelling to get to this novel.
At almost the halfway point in the novel the story of the father and son struggling to follow the road to the coast is one that is gripping. Not just because their relationship is under the microscope but because their world has effectively ended. Walking through supermark4ets that have been looted and are now the domain of cannibalistic gangs the only real question that matters is whether or not they will make it.
But of course there is another bigger question here that is about not if this sort of scenario could happen but when. The world of cowboys is already coming to an end but McCarthy draws out the warning to us all pointing out that it is not just the ranches with the horses and their owners that face extinction.
More to come…