I am a ferocious reader, always have been, and how I read is as important as what I read. I am a “full scope” reader, a reader who finds an author and begins at the beginning of a career and reads all the way through to the end. And so it is with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It is one of those surprises that one finds after a long day's walk on the beach, something washed up, something that catches the eye, and demands a stoop, a sustained observation… and afterwards – one cannot believe one's fortune. So it is with The Road. You see the reader is this unlike thing, this sparkling gem of something quite unexpected. McCarthy, known for his western novels, sparse prose, dark and bloody worlds, had changed course altogether and wrote a dystopian, world-building tour de force! I could hardly believe it.
A master prose craftsperson dipping his toe into a saturated ocean of apocalyptic worlds. This was either going to be a triumph or such a profound disappointment that I scarcely wanted to read it. I was not disappointed! The Road is a story of a man and his son trying to make it to the coast in a world that has all but ended, and it is one of the best sci-fi novels I have ever read. This is Pulitzer Prize-winning prose meeting the dark world of apocalyptic fiction and never once does it fall from the razor edge ledge into kitsch. It is heart-pounding, heart-wrenching, glorious, and hopeful. I rarely say such things, but at the height of McCarthy’s fame and power he wrote one of the most stirring, magnificent works of art of the 21st century.