Friday, January 21, 2011

'The Road' Review and Meeting

I love post-apocalyptic stories. However, I have never read one with as little happiness and hope as Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Although it was an excellently written novel, I considered not finishing it. I kept thinking, “How in the world can this end well?” And yet, despite all of that, I did finish it, and found the ending to be satisfying, a ray of light in such a dark and dreary story.

The narrative follows a nomadic man and his son, struggling to survive the harsh world leftover from an unidentified disaster that took place years before. Food is scarce, and most of the remaining people are cannibals, constantly on the prowl for their next meal. The only hope of survival is to keep moving.

A couple of things I found interesting: It was impressive to me that by leaving the man and boy nameless, Mr. McCarthy was able to make the reader really FEEL the emptiness of the world he created, and yet it didn’t hinder the ability to connect with the characters. Also, because the story was so dark and hopeless, when something good happened, I felt on edge, uncomfortable, afraid to believe it could last.

A story like this begs the question: What would YOU do? Would you fight to the death for survival, cling to hope when there is none? Would you keep your humanity, or give yourself over to what most did, cannibalism?

The Meeting

As hostess of this book club meeting, I wanted to have a nice campfire, and eat food from cans, but it was November and freezing, and really, cold canned food is not appealing in the slightest. Instead, I built a “campfire” with candles on my living room floor, and we sat on big comfy pillows.



For food, I went with a fall theme, including maple glazed smoked sausages, pumpkin spiced nut mix, baked brie, and mulled wine.


It took me awhile to figure out a gift for the ladies. One of the most exciting and hopeful parts of the story was when, after days of hunger, the man and boy find a hidden underground storehouse filled with food and supplies. The first thing they ate was pears, savoring the sweetness of the juices, and the feeling of their empty stomachs finally being satiated. I spent part of that late summer canning pears, so it seemed perfect to give a jar to each girl. Attached was a tag with the quote from the book, “These will be the best pears you ever tasted, he said. The best. Just you wait.”

All in all, to the extent possible in such a dismal story, I really enjoyed this read. So, if you like post-apocalyptic tales and can stomach a bit of despondency and cannibalism, this is the book for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment