Love is a fire burning in The Road in Cormac McCarthy‘s rendering of the book carrying this name. The Road is a book about the dark, burnt, nuclear wasteland of what is left after an unnamed, unfathomable, yet detailed nuclear oblivion that occurred.
The tale that is The Road is overwhelmingly a dark, desperate tale of two unnamed characters on a journey to the ocean. Where this tale takes place, what ocean the characters aim to visit, or any sense of purpose beyond survival and the desolate, dependent love of father for son, and son for father, is beyond the point. The unflinching connection, mutual support, and need to keep moving for the sake of love and survival, is the story of The Road. The father and son live in the here and now with nothing but to get to tomorrow. The father wants to pass along the behaviors of survival before all else, with a steadfast focus on love for his son; the son wants to give his decency and humanity in the face of nuclear winter, dead humanity, cannibals on their trail, and other enumerated horrors. The son is motivated by a bigger love that, as yet, isn’t as beaten down by life.
The Road focuses on survival strategies, cunning, and remembering loss. Lost empathy for the rest of humanity is the tug between father and son throughout the tale. The son survives his father at the end of the tale, yet ultimately doubts whether a larger morality, or God, exists. The message Cormac McCarthy leaves us is the thought that God is a highly personal concept that one experiences through heart and mind; for the unnamed son, he ends the journey at stories end bereft of place, time, people, community, and the tangible, day-to-day comfort of his father. The caregivers who will support this child, on the road and beyond the end of the tale, give the boy the wisdom of experiencing God through his memory of his father. After all, McCarthy says, how else do we experience God than through each other?
My rating for The Road by Cormac McCarthy is 3.5-stars out-of-5.
Matt – Sunday, April 9, 2017