The Road

The Road is a novel written by Cormac McCarthy and published in 2006. There is a cinematographic adaptation directed by John Hillcoat in 2009, sometimes faithful to the novel, sometimes distant.

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. It was devastated by a cataclysm. Giant fires have ravaged cities and countryside whereas wildlife has disappeared. The sun doesn’t appear behind the ash clouds. Many of the remaining human survivors have resorted to cannibalism, scavenging the detritus of city and country alike for flesh. A father and his young son wander in this setting, their scarce possessions collected in a supermarket trolley and backpacks. They are in search of a paradise and humanity, unfortunately, lost forever. Now, barbarism and violence dominate.

This initiatory journey focuses on the transmission and the subjectivity of values. The relationship between the father and his son (named in this way all the time in the novel) is really moving; they are bound by duty of survival and the desire to perpetuate the memory and culture in an age of darkness and despair. We can established a link with the myth of Sisyphus, the king of Corinth, in Greek mythology, who was punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever. In The Road, we don’t know why the protagonists are here and they ignore themselves the future, perfect comparison with human condition.

It’s a very touching novel, haunting and heartbreaking at the same time. According to Michael Chabon (The New York Review of Books), ‘it is as a lyrical epic of horror’. The novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006.

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