Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Road - post V

Unless the last 60 pages of this book go totally wrong this is going to be a cracker of a book. This is what literature should be all about. Not only asking the reader to think about some of the biggest questions but also describing a world so convincingly that it feels as if you could be there.

This book is head and shoulders above the other McCarthy novels that I have read because he is writing about the future not the past and the world not Mexico. What is happening in America in The Road is the same everywhere and concepts such as borders have become irrelevant. The relationship between the father and so is also something that is universal. What is trust and what is love? What happens when you can no longer look after someone and have to lie down and die? Add to those questions any parents face the scenario where you no longer know if you can deliver on your promises and it has the potential to be heartbreaking.

The father and so wander along the road and always seem to find some hidden cache of food when they are nearing starvation but they can never stop. They spot some adults following them and stumble across them cooking a baby to keep hunger at bay. This book contains images that you would expect as a consequence of an apocalyptic event but because McCarthy never overloads the landscape with charred corpses or cannibals whenever the father and so come across them they have the power to shock.

The aim in the next couple of days – before the end of the year – is to finish this great book off and also try to wade through the Swedish/South African plot lines and wrap up the Henning Mankell thriller as well.

More tomorrow…

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