Seeing Cormac McCarthy’s The Road at the top of the list for Entertainment Weekly’s The New Classics: The 100
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.
This has been