Review of “The Road”

I’m experimenting right now with a new format for my book reviews because I feel like my other reviews have been too lengthy. Instead, they will be shorter and hopefully more focused. At the same time, I even will leave some questions of consideration at the end. 

   Review:Corman Mcarthy’s The Road  is truly antithetical to the deluge of dystopian books with certain trademark factors, like the corrupt government, oppressed populace, and the whole Marxist conflict. Could “The Road” be a departure from these generalizations? The Road does not include any explanation behind the current doomsday scenario of the story. Without this explicit information, the reader is left then with doubt about the logistics of the apocalypse of the novel. Also the characters have no prescribed names and are simply named “Father” and “Son,” alluding to Christian subtext or the archetypal relationship formed between a “father” and “son” that has long been a mythic tradition. 

         Rather than be an ornate novel with exposition about every facet of a corrupt government or an overused Marxist conflict, the story focuses on this archetypal relationship. Both the “father” and “son” must brave the cruel world, and their relationship is reciprocal. Interestingly, both the father and son learn from each other, and are equally as dependent upon one another for survival in a world where there are defined “bad guys,” and the constant fear that they might die and then life around them will just either amorally endure without them. As the father concertedly questions throughout the novel, “What is my purpose if I am meant to die?” The novel asks the same existential question that all great works of literature, principally myths, have extrapolated for a long time. With condense/vivid prose, wonderful pacing, and an element of mystery, this novel is a brilliant read that does not succumb to the traps that many other novels in this genre often find themselves in. 

Questions to Consider: Why do myths/parables like “The Road,” have so much continued appeal? In the story, there are definable “bad guys,” what makes them the bad guys? Are they only marked bad guys because the “Father” in the story marks them as such? Why aren’t we ever given a closer inspection of these characters, besides cursory details from the perspective of the father/son in the story?

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