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July 2018: Dystopian > The Road / Cormac McCarthy - 3*** (Listopia & Decathlon)

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6033 comments Cross-posted to July Decathlon: Buddy read

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Audiobook performed by Tom Stechschulte.
3***

A man and his son wander a desolate and destroyed American landscape after some unnamed world-wide disaster has pretty much killed off most of the earth’s population and destroyed the environment. Neither character is ever named, though the boy does call the man “Papa.”

I did rather like the relationship between these two central figures. How the father tried to explain and instruct his son, to impart some life skills that might help the boy in the future, and the efforts he made to provide some measure of safety and well-being for the boy. But this is a pretty bleak landscape and it’s hard to imagine any sort of “happy” (or even hopeful) ending.

I don’t need such an ending in order to appreciate and like a book. But I do need to feel some sense of purpose to the story, and I couldn’t figure out what McCarthy was trying to impart. Is this a cautionary tale about man’s inhumanity to man? Or a warning of environmental disaster? Is it simply a story of parental love?

And there were things that I found inconsistent. Maybe it’s because McCarthy never explains what happened, but how can the world be nothing but ash and burned cities, and there still be apples in an orchard? How come some houses are still standing, virtually pristine (except for the layers of dust)?

And then there’s the ending itself. I don’t want to give anything away, but it just left me shaking my head and wondering “what the hell?”

Still, there is something about McCarthy’s writing that captivates me. I like his spare style. I like the way he paints the landscape so that I feel I am living in the novel (even if it’s a horrible place to be). I think he’s one of those author’s whose works I appreciate, even when I don’t particularly like them.

I listened to the audiobook, performed by Tom Stechschulte. Stechschulte is a talented voice artist and actor and he really brings these characters to life. 5***** for his performance.


NOTE: While this book is tagged "dystopian" it is more post-apocalyptic. There is little organized society depicted to properly call this a dystopian novel.


LINK to my review


message 2: by Karin (last edited Jul 21, 2018 02:25PM) (new) - added it

Karin | 7210 comments Book Concierge wrote: "Cross-posted to July Decathlon: Buddy read

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road
– Cormac McCarthy
Audiobook performed by Tom Stechschulte.
3***

A man and his son wander a desolate and destroye..."


Agreed--it is post-apocalyptic, not dystopian, but it counts, of course, as it is shelved this way by many people. I even read it as part of a personal dystopian challenge and might have shelved it dystopian because of that (don't remember now--that was back on Shelfari).


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