>Originally posted December 07, 2006.
Every now and then you come across a genuine masterpiece. It could be everything from a goddamn silly ice cream (hail Piggelin!) to some amazing album/movie/ painting/whatever. This time, for me, it was a book. It’s a true rarity to find such a masterpiece as The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Armageddon. The final doom. Post-apocalypse. The sky bleeds ashes, wastelands prevail, all fish and birds are long gone dead and the sun, when it occasionaly shows, is bleak. The world is coming to an end, finally.
In the midst of chaos, confusion and despair we find an unnamed father and his son making their way through this barren earth. They follow the road that leads to the sea. People they meet are only after their flesh. Cannibals in the most vicious sense. The father and son have only themselves to rely on. That and their great love for each other.
Because in spite of all darkness and death, this is a story about love and it’s truly heartbreaking. The amazing composition, the multilayered set-up, the extraordinary prose, is what makes this novel the best book in 2006.
I travel by train for almost two hours every day. That makes for a lot of reading, and I’m thankful for that, because I read The Road in just a couple of days and it completely devoured me. So much pain, so much darkness, yet so much love. Perfect.
As one reader wrote:
“Don’t read this book on an overseas flight. You’ll find yourself, as I did, standing in the back of the cabin weeping.”
When reading The Road I think of demons. I think of Shogun Assassin and I think of classic russian movies like Stalker combined with modern, intellectual remakes of seriously dumb stuff like Bronx Warriors and Mad Max.
And when reading I always have this gut feeling, this dark brooding feeling, that somebody’s gonna make a movie out of this and I’m gonna have great expecations and it’s gonna suck so bad because there’s no way in hell that a movie can make this book justice. No way.
The Road deals with universal themes such as death, human nature and the condition of the world we’re in. It’s classic stuff, and if you know your Bible and shiver with delight when confronted with Old Testament quotes you will enjoy this for sure. This is doomsday reading and the clocks stopped at 1:17… A reference to John 1:17 in the Book of Revelations, they say.
This is the first book I’ve read by Cormac McCarthy. I’m dying to get my hands on his other ones, call in sick, disconnect the phone, shut off the computer and just plunge into darkness once more.
Recommended soundtrack when reading:
Godspeed You Black Emperor