Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

The rugged hardback I have of this book was a gift from a good friend when he was over from San Francisco not long ago. It is a first edition brown and black Alfred A. Knopf publishing, with the Borzoi colophon, and it looks as well used as it is. The pages are unevenly cut and it had been in someone else’s possession before my friend decided to have it as a travel book when touring Europe. On the inside of the front cover my friend has written a message to me with a black pen, a note from one explorer to the other. All this has made my reading experience more thorough, as a clean and glossy multicolour soft cover would never have done the story justice. A man and a boy hiking through a desolate, uninhabited and dead landscape in a very dystopic post-apocalypse, searching for food in the form of tinned foods, hiding from the ones that want them dead. The dialogue is short, male. Towards the end of the book they reach the ocean, it is birdless give but the bones of seabirds and “At the tide line a woven mat of weeds and the ribs of fishes in their millions stretching along the shore as far as the eye could see like an isocline of death.” The man coughs blood and the boy almost passes away in fever, but it is despair that kills. The writing is as abrasive for something that could be regarded your soul, as the first drink of cask strength single malt from southeastern Isle of Islay is for your throat when it has been withheld from such for a while.