Yesterday I wrote about my favourite reads for 2008. I had originally intended to write a little about each book. But did not have the time. But I would like to share one book with you. Of any of the books that I read in 2008 in any genre this book moved me the most, I still often think of it at time. It is a deserving winner of the pulitzer prize, and I believe along with many others that it is the first real classic American novel of the 21st century. It is a book that people will be reading in 50 years. It is the Road by Cormac McCarthy.
This is not an easy read, this is not because it is complicated or wordy, quite the opposite actually. It is hard to read because it is so confronting, so bleak, and at points so horrifying. It is the story of a man and his child simply known as the father and the son. They are pushing a cart by hand, heading for the coast, something terrible has happened to our world. The planet is dying. The cities are gone, the plants and animals are passing. Most of the population has died, except for a few desperate and savage survivors. All that is left is this man and his boy, as they head for the sea, in a last ditch attempt to survive.
For those of you thinking at this point that I am talking about a Sci Fi, please do not be confused. I avoid Sci Fi books like the plague. Rather the Road is a profoundly existential novel about what it is to be human when our culture is gone. It asks us to meditate upon what is left when everything is gone, to focus on what is really important. This book sweeps away all the fluff and glitter of our culture and shines a blinding light on what we really believe.
McCarthy dedicates this book to his son, and as a Dad reading this book thinking of my daughter I resonated deeply with father as he fights with all his strength to protect his child. It made me reflect on what it is to love. It made me understand just a little bit more God’s role as father, and his desire to do anything for his children.
Like the characters in the book you are taken on bleak and painful journey, but without spoiling the ending, one that has a redemptive sting in the tail. I encourage you to read this book, it will make you ask deeply important questions about life, love and God.
(this picture is from the upcoming move adaptation of the Road, I am praying that it is as good as the book.)