Dave Schaafsma's Reviews > The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction-20th-century, father-brother-sons-book, books-loved-2014, best-books-ever, cli-fi-class-spr-18, dystopian, science-fiction, environment
Read 3 times. Last read April 6, 2018 to April 20, 2018.

“What would you do if I died?
If you died I would want to die too.
So you could be with me?
Yes. So I could be with you.
Okay.” --McCarthy

4/6/18 Re-reading this for my spring 2o18 Climate Change class, and even knowing how it ends, I am wrecked, just devastated by this book, so horrific and so beautiful and moving. Sobbing as I do at the most intimate of losses, but feeling the intensity of any great passionate beauty, too. The beauty of a great book that helps you see what matters.

9/1/14 Original review, edited a bit in the light of my most recent reading.

An amazing book. So powerful, understated, majestic, moving. Just blew me away. Some one said this was a "dictionary" book, meaning that they had to look up words a lot, and yes, it is a book that loves language, some of it ancient and forgotten, maybe befitting the subject of loss, but McCarthy is always this blend of Faulknerian epic-loss-language and Hemingway's power-through-simplicity-language. Some of the cadences are Biblical, as in King James elevated language, as in The Grapes of Wrath and Cry, The Beloved Country. And the simple, devastating power of Of Mice and Men and The Old Man and the Sea. Books of allegorical significance and moral power.

In a way, this tale, set years after nuclear holocaust and environmental devastation, is a kind of guide for the apocalypse--any apocalypse, the Big One, your own or a loved one's death, the end of anything--with principle, with character, dignity and love; in this case, it is a father and son facing oblivion, moving forward, Pilgrim's Progress, "carrying the fire" against all odds, never giving up, and it is heartbreaking and devastating. You wonder, like them, whether you could or can go on. This simple, bleak tale has a kind of echo in it of Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," where Thomas urges his own father to fight death and not just acquiesce to it, or give into it. The man in this story teaches his son to fight to stay alive and be one of the "good guys" (or, ethical) with any means available at their disposal. In this simple, bleak dystopian story, we are very possibly at the end of time, in an ash, Beckettian landscape, waiting for Godot, people reduced to their most animal selves. And yet, there are relationships that remain, with simple pleasures, enjoyed by fathers and sons. The find a can of Coke, they eat a can of peaches, they tell each stories, they draw pictures, they play a primitive flute they have made, the arts comforting and sustaining them when they need it.

Recently, we had the suicide of Robin Williams, someone we had come to believe we knew well through movies where he played characters urging us to laugh and seize the day, every day. But he was playing characters in movies, and we began, as we do, I suspect, to make the mistake of believing that the convincingly hopeful characters he played were internalized in his own soul. And maybe they were, for a time. Camus said, post-Hiroshima, post-Holocaust, that suicide was the only important philosophical question that remained, and McCarthy, aging as we all are, helps us contemplate this question, too, as we face or imagine facing devastation, death, that nuclear winter.

Throughout the book the man speaks to or reflects on his wife, years gone, who made another choice than he has, and given what they faced, she faced, a reasonable one, and one the man teaches his son to passionately resist, though in his quietest moments, he longs for it himself. When they encounter an old man, a kind of dark seer, on the road they speak of luck and what it can mean in such a time, and neither are sure what it even means anymore: Is it luckier to live or die in the face of the very end? The man has no hope, though:

“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there.”

The old man says to the man, “There is no God and we are his prophets.”

But the boy believes in and his shaped by his belief in God. They are the good guys who draw the line at barbarity, even when it makes some sense to succumb to it.

Recently, in the Chicago area, I wept to read of another suicide, one of an 82 year old man whose wife was in hospice and living with his two aging children, developmentally disabled; the man first murdered the family everyone knew he had deeply loved, then killed himself. (I know, sorry, this is bleak). But no one in their neighborhood or family questioned his love for his family or even his choice. Who can blame this man, facing an inevitably harder end, his friends seemed to say. Not me, the father of two sons, one with severe autism and the other also now diagnosed autistic. I'm 61. What will happen to them when I am gone? Sam, 18, autistic, living during the week in a group home, comes here to my house every other weekend, and so many of the minimum wage folks he works with are caring and loving, but 3-4 years ago we took a young man to trial for pushing him down a flight of stairs, where he was knocked out and his arm badly broken. He can't speak to defend himself. What future does he have, and what future especially without a loving parent to help defend and speak for him? What does his "road" hold for him? Sometimes, in my worst moments, and thankfully they are few, I think we are Liam Neeson, in The Grey, facing the wolves of destruction in the Arctic (as Neeson himself did when he lost his wife to a skiing accident, facing his own emotional holocaust and nuclear winter), knife in hand, to the end.

I have heard this is McCarthy's most personal novel, and since he is a father, and dedicates the book to his own so John Francis McCarthy, I can guess this maybe this is true. I can imagine it as a letter to him, or to all fathers and sons, to help them face down their own terrible moments with grace and resourcefulness. In this book, the man is handy, he is always problem-solving, fixing what he has with the tools available to him, scavenging, finding food and water, reading and telling stories to his son with lessons he sometimes barely believes himself anymore. Whatever he does, McCarthy tells us the son watches his father, and learns. Without his son, there is only death, and he must to the end teach his son how to be handy, to be resourceful, to go on, to live, the best he can.

My own father, the weekend before he died on the operating table for his second bypass surgery, at 76, dropped down to slide under the chassis of my aging Chevy and check out my fading brakes, to the end urging me to care about my stuff, to do the right thing, mentoring me in the right way to live. That night he held one of his last great grandchildren in his arms; less than 48 hours later he was dead, which was still the most devastating moment of my life. Reading the father-son relationship that is at the heart of this book through my own loss makes it tender, gives it depth and rich sentiment. I mean, it is harsh, and bleak, this world the father and son live in, but the story is fundamentally sweet and moving. It's about what matters, as the best of books always are.

McCarthy urges me and us to go on, to be resourceful, to care for each other, and to care for the Earth we were given. There are images so terrible in this book that the man tries to shelter from his son, though the son sees them anyway, and we see them, too. Are they useful to see? I surely don't want some of them in my memory, but there they are, reminding me of past genocides and tragedies and prefiguring the ones surely yet to come on personal and global levels. Maybe it's useful to remind me of the "bad guys" who the man and boy meet on the road, who make the immoral, the wrong choices. What evil is humanly possible? But also, what good? What do we need to do to save the planet? Do we really want to? How long can we keep our heads in the sand, as humans with the power still to (maybe) reverse the environmental end? McCarthy teaches us how to live, and why it is so important: Because of love, and family, and the beauty of the planet.

“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”--McCarthy

Camus suggests that we humans, post WWII--the Holocaust and Hiroshima, and Stalin, all of it- juts push that Myth of Sisyphus-boulder up that hill without any assurance of meaning beyond the doing of it. I can't go on; I'll go on, Samuel Becket has his narrator say at the end of The Unnameable, and that's what the man does and perhaps we should do in the worst of circumstances. McCarthy know his Beckett, but finally, McCarthy is not Beckett, as much as this tale owes to McCarthy's master; McCarthy gives us just a little more dignity and hope than Beckett, I think.

I think, too, in my darkest moments that I understand Robin Williams, facing Parkinson's disease, and that 82 year old man, seeing the bleak future for him and his wife and children. I am not and have never yet been suicidal, but I understand their choices. I understand Camus and Beckett on these important subjects. I may have to reread this tale again and again to keep me on the road the man took instead of the one his wife chose. After all, I have sons (and a daughter) to care for. Maybe I'm gonna hug my kids a little bit harder tonight.
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Quotes Dave Liked

Cormac McCarthy
“What would you do if I died?
If you died I would want to die too.
So you could be with me?
Yes. So I could be with you.
Okay.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Cormac McCarthy
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Road


Reading Progress

August 29, 2012 – Shelved
September 3, 2012 – Started Reading
September 17, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction-20th-century
September 17, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 1, 2014 – Started Reading
September 2, 2014 – Finished Reading
September 4, 2014 – Shelved as: father-brother-sons-book
September 4, 2014 – Shelved as: books-loved-2014
October 17, 2014 – Shelved as: best-books-ever
March 23, 2018 – Shelved as: cli-fi-class-spr-18
March 23, 2018 – Shelved as: dystopian
March 23, 2018 – Shelved as: science-fiction
March 23, 2018 – 0.0% "Re-reading for spring 2018 cli-fi class. One of my very favorite books ever. Devastating."
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: environment
April 6, 2018 – Started Reading
April 9, 2018 – 0.0% "“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”"
April 15, 2018 – 0.0% "In the dystopian world in which the boy and man live, “Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”"
April 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 74 (74 new)


Jonathan Reading this review is really urging me to go back and read this novel again. I think your comment at the beginning of the review "but McCarthy is always this blend of Faulknerian epic loss and language and Hemingway's power through simplicity." is so spot on to his writing, though.

I read this shortly after Blood Meridian (one of the greatest novels of all time, in my opinion)and fear maybe my opinion was a bit skewed after being completely devastated, disturbed, and beaten up after that one. Good review.


Dave Schaafsma Thanks. You know, I have not yet read Blood Meridian! I read the All the Pretty Horses trilogy and thought it was just gorgeous. I've read other stuff, too, and will read more.


Emre David have you seen The Sunset Limited? A movie based on a play by Cormac McCarthy. You'll probably like it.


Dave Schaafsma Emre wrote: "David have you seen The Sunset Limited? A movie based on a play by Cormac McCarthy. You'll probably like it."

I heard about this, will look around for it, thanks!


Trish Great, heartfelt and very personal review. I loved every line of it.

A personal note on the paragraph about (view spoiler) - maybe the ending also refers to that.


Dave Schaafsma I think you are right. And thanks, sometimes books are personal.


Trish Tell me about it! Some authors just hit too close to home, making the reader drown in all the feelings. As much as that can hurt, I love it! :D


Michael Brookes An excellent book.


Dave Schaafsma One of the best, in my opinion, Michael, yeah.


Donovan Glad you liked it. I personally hate McCarthy.


message 11: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Donovan wrote: "Glad you liked it. I personally hate McCarthy." Because he is... so depressing? I liked the All the pretty Horses trilogy, which was sort of lyrical. .. The Road is dark, but... see above?


Donovan Don't get me started. Tried The Road and Blood Meridian. For me he's an overwriter, his style so sparse and seemingly poetic that it panders. Also it bores me to death. But that's just me. I love Hemingway and I see very little commonality.


Licha Very powerful review. Like you, I also worry about my mortality in terms of my daughter and my mother and not being there for them. I can also empathize with the 82 year old man and can understand his motives for what he did. I'm supposed to read this book for one of my book clubs. I will be thinking of your review as I read it and come back to it when I do.


message 14: by Joe (new)

Joe Kraus I have really enjoyed your reviews, David, and this may be my favorite. I read this novel in a different light, though. For me, the emphasis is less on the foregrounded characters of the father and son, and more on the persistent fact of their situation: civilization is just a thin skin on our innate human brutality. (That's a recurring McCarthy them, of course.)

In this case, that painful truth gets spun through the perspective of a father, as you so eloquently amplify. And I think of the difference between the archetypal mother, who nurtures within the home, and the archetypal father who prepares the child to survive in the world outside.

The bitter truth for most of this novel is that there is no survival outside the tiny family of two. That's the perpetual horror of their situation, the realization that even a full-grown, widely competent father has needed luck to make it this far. What chance will a young boy have on his own then?

I read the "spoiler" ending, however, as a kind of acknowledgement that even the father required a family, a community, to become the man he is. Yes, the arrival of the new family diminishes the horror of the rest of the novel, but I find it a tacit acknowledgement that, even if we humans are brutes at heart, we are also communal creatures. We are hard-wired for some mutual care.

In that light, to the degree that this does indeed feel like a "personal novel" for McCarthy, I get the sense that it requires the father's death for the son to find his way back to what passes for civilization in this devastated world. In something of the trope wherein Moses can only glimpse the Promised Land, I think the son's absorption into his new family is about the extent to which there has to be a human community for any of us to survive. It may not mean survival for all, but it does mean that those who survive will do so together. I can't say whether that reflects the curmudgeonly McCarthy granting permission to his much younger son to engage the world more hopefully than he has, but there is something of that feeling to it.)

It's moving to hear you reflect on what might become of your children, and I can only begin to imagine the burden that leaves you. Still, I hope the hope of that ending -- a hope that does come as a violation of the despairing, Beckettian mood before it -- gives you some hope as well. Please live and teach a long time, and take care of your sons as you do. But try to see the extent to which the road in The Road is a metaphor for a philosophy that can take us only so far. At the end of it, there is someone waiting for you. In his gutsiness as a writer, McCarthy takes that road to the very end. He finds there a speck of redemption, of hope for our species. Spoiler though that ending may seem, I think it's almost necessary, too. I hope, as I write on the first morning of the Jewish new year, that you find some comfort in that realization.


Zedsdead Ye gods, man, I wish there were a way for me to give this review 5 stars.


Chris I saw how long this review was and thought there was no way I would read it all. But I did, I did read it all and it was incredible. Well done. Awesome book and an awesome review.


message 17: by Chad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chad Jordahl Excellent and moving review of one of my favorite novels. I actually liked the ending. Well, "liked" in the sense that it wrecked me that the father died without knowing if his son would be safe. You can put your whole self into your children's well-being and yet perhaps you will never really know if they made it.


message 18: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Donovan wrote: "Don't get me started. Tried The Road and Blood Meridian. For me he's an overwriter, his style so sparse and seemingly poetic that it panders. Also it bores me to death. But that's just me. I love H..." I respect you, man.


message 19: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Zedsdead wrote: "Ye gods, man, I wish there were a way for me to give this review 5 stars." :) Thanks, man.


message 20: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Chad wrote: "Excellent and moving review of one of my favorite novels. I actually liked the ending. Well, "liked" in the sense that it wrecked me that the father died without knowing if his son would be safe. Y..." I really was relieved that the kid finds others just after his father died, when the whole books points to predators finding him. And maybe you could end it that way. Some dystopians would have it that way, and I think that's an angle you could support, as a story, if we have really killed the planet. But I love what Joe emphasizes above, that no matter what happens, the only way forward is together, in community. Joe's point is right. No matter how dark the future looks, you have to work together. I am reading Earth but Bill McKibben, a kind of companion to The Road, in a way, and he essentially says the same thing.


message 21: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Chris wrote: "I saw how long this review was and thought there was no way I would read it all. But I did, I did read it all and it was incredible. Well done. Awesome book and an awesome review."

Thanks, it is a great book. And the review is too long, really, but you know, once you get into it... thanks, anyway...


message 22: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Joe wrote: "I have really enjoyed your reviews, David, and this may be my favorite. I read this novel in a different light, though. For me, the emphasis is less on the foregrounded characters of the father and..." Thanks so much, Joe. I responded to your response a little below but I have more to say. Gotta go to work. But with Beckett and McCarthy, in a way it doesn't get any darker. But Beckett won the Nobel Prize for literature with that "I can't go on, but I'll go on," approach that McCarthy seems to embrace here. Maybe finally it's about the human spirit, and about what literature, what stories can do.


message 23: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Licha wrote: "Very powerful review. Like you, I also worry about my mortality in terms of my daughter and my mother and not being there for them. I can also empathize with the 82 year old man and can understand ..."It's not an easy book to read, Licha. There are some images in it that I would rather not have read. But blanked by sweet moments between father and son, the father always teaching, keeping his head above the water....


Donovan David wrote: "Donovan wrote: "Don't get me started. Tried The Road and Blood Meridian. For me he's an overwriter, his style so sparse and seemingly poetic that it panders. Also it bores me to death. But that's j..."

Thanks. I respect your opinion and your enjoyment of this book, too. We all can't enjoy everything.


message 25: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma David wrote: "Licha wrote: "Very powerful review. Like you, I also worry about my mortality in terms of my daughter and my mother and not being there for them. I can also empathize with the 82 year old man and c..." Well, I guess I am just saying the obvious when it comes to novels about death and dystopia. We all have to deal with this stuff at one time or the other. Some affect you more than others, too, depending on the time of your life. When reading King Lear as a young person I only saw things through the eyes of the daughter; now, it's more Lear himself!


message 26: by Liam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liam Epic review here David, nice. Highly recommend the film adaptation, it adds. I sort of agree about 'that paragraph', it feels a bit forced/coincidental, but it can be interpreted as less hopeful than it at first seems if you think long term, as Sisyphus did not also need to trust other people (survival then maybe being like Sisyphus, but blindfolded).


Licha David wrote: "We all have to deal with this stuff at one time or the other. Some affect you more than others, too, depending on the time of your life. When reading King Lear as a young person I only saw things through the eyes of the daughter; now, it's more Lear himself!"

Time allowing, it would be great to read a book at different stages of our lives. I actually have read The Road before and I remember really liking it but for some reason it's one of those books that if you were to ask me what it was about, I wouldn't be able to recall any of it. That's why I'm glad this is a pick for my book club. I'll have a reason to do a reread. I know though that your review will play a big factor when I read it.


Colby This is the book that changed my life. I'd been deeply moved by novels in the past, but (for me) The Road opened up the entire concept of what a novel could be. It was the first time I fully grasped that writers of prose can operate like poets. I often find myself describing the novel to people as a series of very closely linked prose poems. As a writer, this novel is my touchstone. Opening it up to any page and reading a selection of it reveals the power of language. The scene where they find the Coca Cola and he teaches the boy how to hold his nose over it and feel the carbonation in the air is an MFA in a single "chapter."

It's interesting that reading the book at different stages of our lives was brought up. I recommended The Road to my brother in law when my nephew was still a baby, and he couldn't get through it. He said he was sobbing. I read it for the first time as a 22-year-old grad student. I think it meant more to me then as a work of art and as a pretty perfect allegory for the human condition. I've read it many times since becoming a father myself, and it is certainly a different experience.

I'm rambling...Saw your review and loved it; and it reminded me of how deeply I love this book.

On to the Border Trilogy, Dave!


message 29: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Colby wrote: "This is the book that changed my life. I'd been deeply moved by novels in the past, but (for me) The Road opened up the entire concept of what a novel could be. It was the first time I fully graspe..."Colby, so good to hear from you again!! And yes, we had talked about this book once. . . maybe more than once. And given all you write about your son on Facebook, it is hard not to see this as special for you. But you don't talk about that here, interestingly. It is a series of poems, really. And the Border Trilogy I also found this way. Some passages are thrilling to me, just lyrical.


Colby It certainly took on a whole new meaning when Jack was born. For that matter, it has resonated differently with me as he's gotten older, too.

A running joke at home is that when Jack turns 13, I'm going to hand him ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and COOL HAND LUKE and tell him they contain everything he needs to know about being a good person/man and how to live.

McCarthy is a national treasure. Every time I read him, I'm simultaneously intimidated and inspired.


Licha Colby wrote: "A running joke at home is that when Jack turns 13, I'm going to hand him ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and COOL HAND LUKE and tell him they contain everything he needs to know about being a good person/man and how to live."

You have me curious about these books now. It makes me wonder what other wonderful books like that are out there to introduce values to kids.


message 32: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Well, these books are not your typical "values" books, maybe, Licha, and maybe they are directed to boys more than girls, but I agree they are teaching books. I am tempted, reading this, to make a list of unconventional books on "raising up children in the way they should go."


Licha No, I'm sure they're not your typical "values" books, but depending on the way you are raised, they may hit a chord. I always love books where I can see a character grow, learn, and mature from life lessons imparted either through experience or having the right mentor.


message 34: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Licha wrote: "No, I'm sure they're not your typical "values" books, but depending on the way you are raised, they may hit a chord. I always love books where I can see a character grow, learn, and mature from lif..." Well, as a teacher I am both wary of preaching and excited about books that illustrate the complexity of moral decision-making, which I take it to be one view of the mission of the best of literature.


message 35: by Ivana (new)

Ivana Books Are Magic very touching review. I heard great things about this novel and I hope I get to read it some day. The relationship between the father and the son in this novel seems like a very warm one...and I like the idea of going on even when we can't go on...


Cecily Gosh, what a beautiful, personal, and hard-hitting review of a powerful book. Brilliant, David.


message 37: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Cecily wrote: "Gosh, what a beautiful, personal, and hard-hitting review of a powerful book. Brilliant, David." Thanks for saying so, Cecily. Some of these books dig deeply into you, as you well know.


message 38: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Ivana wrote: "very touching review. I heard great things about this novel and I hope I get to read it some day. The relationship between the father and the son in this novel seems like a very warm one...and I li..." Me, too. Been there, and I suspect will be there again. Thanks.


Licha David wrote: "Well, as a teacher I am both wary of preaching and excited about books that illustrate the complexity of moral decision-making, which I take it to be one view of the mission of the best of literature."

I can imagine that teaching this adds a whole other element to this. Do you keep your own personal take out of it or include it in your discussions? I think sharing your own personal connection would bring your class closer to you and they would remember the book in the future more so.


message 40: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Licha wrote: "David wrote: "Well, as a teacher I am both wary of preaching and excited about books that illustrate the complexity of moral decision-making, which I take it to be one view of the mission of the be..." I sometimes teach from a personal perspective, or in the process of teaching the book, mention my personal connections.


Licha The personal reviews are always the ones that really touch me. You get to see a book from someone else's perspective.


Sebastien Beautiful review. And I am torn on that ending, it rang a bit out of place but I appreciated its hopefulness but it didn't fit right with the puzzle imo.


message 43: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Sebastien wrote: "Beautiful review. And I am torn on that ending, it rang a bit out of place but I appreciated its hopefulness but it didn't fit right with the puzzle imo."Thanks. It is a devastating book.. and then ending may be somewhat out of place, as trekked gets "lucky" and finds a supportive group to take him in, for the time being. So that seems against the odds of the book's main direction, of course, yet I might argue, how much hope is it, really, in that there is not real reason to believe even that group will keep them alive for anything more than a few months... but I agree, there is this (false) hope that the ending gives....


Licha I found the ending a little off also. I loved the book, but I didn't believe that these people would necessarily be good people. They seemed planted into a hopeful ending. It only made me more worried for the boy, not hopeful. Perhaps if some more good people had been found along the way, I would have believed that good people still existed as a balance to the bad, but every person they encountered was bad or of dubious character. The ending actually made me sad.


Sebastien Yes yes this is a good point, it offers a chance of hopefulness but this could be misplaced. Ultimately, one can ask what is the point, even if these are "good" people at the end, since everything, the world, life, the future is dying. Can there be hope in such a world?

I guess the question is can we find purpose even with all this loss and lost future? Maybe the purpose is trying to be a decent person, living up to this, no matter how dark things are. And also finding fulfillment in our human connections no matter how fleeting (lord knows how long any of these people he meets and himself will live)...


message 46: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma there's no food, vegetation is gone, clean air is gone... where's the hope, really? I mean, throw us a bone, right, all we've had is cannibalism. .... :)


Licha Such a bleak story. It's so sad, especially reading this as a parent. What will happen to my child once I'm gone? It almost makes you consider killing the child yourself because at least you'd kill this child with some compassion and out of love. Who knows how that child would fare after he no longer has my protection. Would he be tortured, abused, beaten? It's such a scary prospect.

I didn't get a feeling that these people were necessarily good people. The only ray of sunshine in this book for me was the love that father had for his child. That's what makes this book so great. In all this darkness exists that little red beating heart that's being kept alive because of love.

Just thinking about it makes my heart break.


message 48: by Dave (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Yes, it is a tribute to fatherhood. But the specter you raise of the possibility of killing your own child, well, all the time there are stories of aging or ailing parents who kill their own children out of grief and despair that are jailed for murder. I won't debate that issue here, but what you say resonates with me. My son with autism was abused--including being pushed down stairs and breaking his arm--and we got this aide prosecuted for his crime.


Trish Licha wrote: "Such a bleak story. It's so sad, especially reading this as a parent. What will happen to my child once I'm gone? It almost makes you consider killing the child yourself because at least you'd kill..."

Well, if you teach your kid right ... Terminator-style. :P
But yeah, I didn't get the touchy-feely-alliswell-impression in the end either.


message 50: by Dave (last edited Dec 18, 2017 08:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave Schaafsma Woman with failing health kills her son who had severe disabilities, and attempts, suicide, fails, and is now dealing with a murder charge. She was convicted, but the same court let her free, now she may be incarcerated again.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs...

Sad update: She was to be incarcerated again, so killed herself. Speechless.


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