I found within this book a way forward, a way to push my own boundaries and evolve my writing style. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a story of a man and his son struggling to find safety and peace in a world set free by an apocalypse. Their journey is reflective, haunting, terrifying but hopeful. McCarthy does what many writers can’t do by expressing emotions and intent with as little wording as possible and the characters he crafts within this narrative fit naturally with this method of telling. They are downtrodden.
There is a rare freshness to McCarthy’s writing style that is both similar and yet opposite to that of Ernest Hemingway. I wouldn’t doubt if McCarthy subscribed to Hemingway’s works and had learned part of his style from him. They both write simply and give away only clues emotions but where Hemingway is succinct, McCarthy is longer and, perhaps, lyrical. The style evokes listlessness which is a fitting evocation for the plot of The Road.
Reminiscent of the works of great tragedians and their emphasis of character, The Road provides a masterful example of why developed characters always make for a better story. It wasn’t solely the condition of the apocalypse that drove the elements of the story, nor wasn’t others who both the Man and Boy had to be afraid of. Instead it was their character which drove each turn of the story.
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is an enduring example of the power of constraint within prose. The Road will remain a staple of the readers diet for generations to come.