My brother-in-law gave me a book for my birthday last Monday (thanks, Jason!). A punishing, desolate, soul-crushing novel, The Road helped me further realize the beauty of life and the earth by reading about how it would be if it were all turned to gray.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world of gray skies and gray ash and gray water, this book could be veiwed as a real downer (and that would be correct in many ways). McCarthy shows us a world that has been utterly obliterated at the material level. Wildlife has been erased. Trees are but black, crispy ex-trees. There are no names of people or places anywhere in the entire book. But, the story is really about the love of a father and son, and their will to survive in a world without color, food, trees, skies, or life as we currently know it. What remains are the father, the son, a shopping cart, and an undending search for clean water, food, shelter, and safety. It is a penetrating look into what life might be like if we were reduced to living to fulfill our basic needs (the lowest level of Maslow's hierarchy). And, ultimately, this is a book about faith.
That's all I'm going to say about what happens, as I am not one to give away plot details, but I had to post something about this book and urge you to read it.
McCarthy has written ten books, including All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men, with the latter being put made into a tremendous film that became last year's Oscar darling (Best Picture). And, if the Coen brothers and/or No Country are not your style, even Oprah liked The Road. If Oprah liked it AND I still read it and liked it--well, it must be good.