Monday, August 3, 2009

Cormac McCarthy: The Road

Since I read Blood Meridian a few years ago Cormac McCarthy belongs to my absolute favorite authors. So it isn’s surprising that I was deeply impressed by his dark post-apocalyptic novel The Road. A man and his son are on their journey across a desolated landscape some years after an unspecified catastrophe, probably a nuclear war. They are suffering coldness and hunger and above all they have to fear the cannibalistic bands of other survivors.

Maybe that The Road is no book about ruins but it derives from the same post-apocalyptic spirit which is nourishing the contemporary inclination to ruins and decay. Some critics call Cormac McCarthy even a “gothic” writer and The Road a “gothic novel”.

In Blood Meridian McCarthy described the barbarization of civilized people, and the book is much more violent than The Road. But the violence is part of the wild colorful life at the frontier. In The Road the violence is always present but more like a threat, like the darkness in the background. And therefore I fear that the film, which will be released in October this year, will convert the whole thing in a typical action movie. But I don’t think that this is the intention of the book. That is much more about the slowly and unspectacular dying humanity, about the apocalypse we deserve.


  1. Thanks for this great piece of THE ROAD and BLOOD MERIDIAN (both exceptional novels), RR.

    I am quietly confident that the film version of THE ROAD (from John Hilcoat, the director of THE PROPOSITION) will not be an action pic.

    The distributor has pushed back its release because they're not quite sure how to market it. If it were the novel distillated into an action pic, they wouldn't have that fear. There must be something different and ununual about it. Hollywood doesn't like "different".

  2. Thank you Phantom for the encouragement. Maybe I share the opinion of the distributor that it will not be a great profit. It's too dark too depressive. I myself got some discussions with friends to whom I gave Blood Meridian, and some wasn't amused at all.

  3. They are truly excellent novels. Too strong for some tastes, I'd say.

  4. Greate book! Really interesting.
    P.S. Nice blog :)