The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A half-starved, unnamed man and his young son trek across a post-apocalyptic America in this bleak, short novel from Cormac McCarthy.
The story itself has a very thin plot, consisting of repeated stops to shelter under a tarpaulin from the terrible weather and eat tinned food, whilst hiding from thieves and cannibals. It is not a plot-driven story — it’s essentially a story of the relationship between a father, who knows he is dying, and his son, who he knows will have to fend for himself when he is gone, or die.
The blurbs in the front of the book from various sources acclaiming the book a masterpiece are a bit over the top — I found it to be a bog-standard, post-apocalyptic tale, with nothing special to make it stand out from the crowd.
The writing style was very off-putting. There is a dearth of punctuation — no quote marks around any of the dialog, very few commas (instead we get short, staccato sentences) and missing apostrophes in words such as don’t and can’t. There seems to be no reason for this in the story, it just seems to be literary pretentiousness. A good story-teller should prioritise the story over style, not pull the reader out of the story with unnecessary stylistic tricks, as is the case here.
The book is a quick read, and you will not have wasted your time if you decide to read it, but it is far from the masterpiece the critics claim, despite it winning the Pulitzer prize.