PUFF-TOBER-WEEN: Day 9: THE ROAD 2


Day 9Seeing Cormac McCarthy’s The Road at the top of the list for Entertainment Weekly’s The New Classics: The 100

The Road

Best Reads from 1983 to 2008 fascinates me. The 2006 book deserves all of the praise and attention it’s received since publication. Even Oprah Winfrey got it right for once when she ordered her minions to read The Road for her book club.

The Road tells the story of a father and son as they wander through an ash covered, post-apocalyptic America. McCarthy’s 2005 book No Country for Old Men– known better as a Coen brothers movie than a McCarthy novel – reads in hindsight like an appetizer for The Road. In the former book, McCarthy slowly dissects the American Dream and reveals the unpleasant possibility that it’s coming to an end, whereas in the latter book, he destroys America and shows us the possibility of what comes next. And what does come next? Well, a lot of despair, darkness and pain. Make no mistake about it, The Road is bleak; which is just fine for McCarthy, a writer who is notorious for never quite giving readers what they expect and want. For instance, outside of a “long shear of light and then a series of low concussions”, it is not clear in the book what caused the devastation. But really, it isn’t important what really happened – this is a journey story, one of survival.

More importantly, in terms of Puff-Tober-Ween, the book works as a horror story. There is a chilling basement scene in The Road that’ll make your stomach churn, and the more the reality of the novel sinks in upon reading it, the more horrifying it all becomes.

If you want to read more about The Road and apocalyptic fiction in general, check out my piece over at Where the Long Tail Ends on the subject.

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PUFF-TOBER-WEEN

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About Christian A. Dumais

Christian A. Dumais is an American writer, humorist and public speaker living in Wrocław, Poland. He has published fiction, journalism, and academic articles in several magazines and journals such as GUD, Shock Totem and Ha!Art. His first collection of short stories, Empty Rooms Lonely Countries, was published in 2009. He also created, edited, and contributed to Cover Stories, a euphictional anthology of 100 stories inspired by songs, which was published in 2010. His most recent book is SMASHED: The Life and Tweets of Drunk Hulk.


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2 thoughts on “PUFF-TOBER-WEEN: Day 9: THE ROAD

  • Scott Bradley

    I read this book maybe a year and a half ago and found it to be fairly jarring in its simple, gray starkness. Nothing is hyperbolic here, everything is matter-of-fact and dying. On one side you have the simple yet unyielding love of a father for his son, on the other the decay that engulfs the world. I couldn’t decide whether or not I liked or enjoyed this work. I’m still not entirely sure. I can’t, however, deny that it stayed with me long after I read it, and I can’t deny that I hugged my sons a little closer as well.

  • Christian A. Dumais Post author

    Despite how powerful the book is, I have a feeling the book works differently for fathers.

    This was one of the first books I had read in a long time where as soon as I finished it, I knew I read something that would become a classic over time. It’s such an amazing read and every time I’ve read it (three times now), I’ve walked away with something new.