The Road
Cormac McCarthy

Reviewed by OBS staff member Erin


The Road follows an unnamed father and son journeying together toward the sea for many months across a post-apocalyptic landscape, some years after a great, unexplained cataclysm.
Civilization has been destroyed and it seems that all life except for a dwindling population of human beings is extinct. The sun is obscured by ash and the climate is cold: “hard enough to crack stones.” Plants do not grow. As the father and son travel across the landscape, they encounter horrific scenes. Their goal is to reach the coast and head south, where they hope life goes on. Source


There are no chapters, just one long narrative, but it works. It’s beautifully written and you’ll be a hundred pages in before you realize how much time you’ve spent reading.

Incredibly bleak, the book looks at the apocalypse and what it would be like for the average person who survived it. We never learn the details of what happened, but we get hints, and that makes it somewhat timeless. The boy was born the night the world ended, so he has never known life as we do. The book is about the love of a father as much as it is about the will to survive, and how good people versus bad people live. As a warning, there are some graphic scenes and implications of cannibalism, so if you don’t want to get into those things then this isn’t the book for you. But the beautiful thing about the book is that, at least in the two main characters, there is always a glimmer of hope and humanity (they “carry the fire”). It shows us that even in the darkest times, sometimes good people can survive by doing the right thing.

After reading this, you’ll consider gathering supplies in case the world ends. And you’ll never see a can of peaches the same way again.