A Review Of The Original Book That The Road Movie Is Based On
The Road is based on a novel, written by Cormac McCarthy. This is the same author who brought us No Country For Old Men, another of his books that made the transition from print to the big-screen. McCarthy grew up in Rhode Island, America as one of six children. He was recognized for his writing talents in his early twenties, earning awards for creative writing two years in a row, while he attended the University of Tennessee His writing style is seen as succinct and engaging. He is known for his sparse use of punctuation and complete lack of quotes during dialogue.
The Road was a critically acclaimed novel. McCarthy received two prestigious writing accolades for it. The most important was the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and he also won the coveted James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 2006. Critics praised it as an epic and pure story that is horrifying and heartbreaking in equal measure.
The book was used to make the film adaptation, so it is no surprise that it follows an identical plot. An unnamed father and son trying to survive the dystopia of a post-apocalyptic world. The difference comes in the detail, and we are exposed to some grim depictions of society as we read of a newborn infant who is roasted on a spit over a smouldering fire. It is hard to imagine the print form delivering more grotesque and hard-hitting imagery than the movie, but it somehow manages to paint an even bleaker picture in the readers' minds of a society on the verge of extinction.
This is a book about terror, horror and humanity. McCarthy reminds the reader constantly of the extreme level of terror that one can imagine in a world where basic human decency is abandoned in the quest for survival. The author makes us as the readers quake in our boots as we read about the almost incomprehensible horror of living in a world where our fellow humans hunt each other down in the hope of eating their next meal.
The prose is bleak and forthright, with McCarthy pulling no punches in his depiction of the world that father and son find themselves attempting to survive in. He makes use of some beautiful metaphors in an attempt to bring some semblance of life to such a bleak world that our protagonists find themselves in. "The last instance of a thing takes the class with it. Turns out the light and is gone".
McCarthy's treatment of an often difficult subject – a father-son relationship, is impressive and hauntingly realistic. We see the depths that a father will go to in order to protect his kin from whatever misery and difficulty befalls him in life. Parents can resonate with the father's idea that his son is the only sign in this bleak world that God exists. This is a metaphor for the hope that a child can bring to a parent's life, whatever the circumstances. He tries to make his son understand the world around him. Every harrowing experience they encounter together is an opportunity for the father to teach his child something new about life.
The Road is a book that rocks its readers to their core. We are exposed to unrelenting fear. Fear is something we encounter all the time in life as we imagine frightening situations in our mind. Being rapt in a world where people eat each other to survive the night is an almost unimaginable level of terror. But underneath that fear we are reminded that it is always important to retain the qualities that make us human.