The Road by Cormac McCarthy: Whence the Battleground of the Human Spirit

Oh God, and *wow*. Just finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I can’t stop crying. Heartbreaking and horrifying, it is also rife with love and hope for the worthiness of “carrying the fire” that’s inside us always. McCarthy’s harsh and precise prose, sparing dialogue –pregnant with endless layered subtexts of the relationship between father and son, parent and child, one human being and another– leaves me moved and humbled by literature as I have not been in a long while, not in a good long while.

I’m not a parent yet, but the intensity and the potency of the love of that relationship were certainly vivid for me. To me, it is such an important reminder of the resiliency of children, their ability to perceive and understand far more, far far more, than I think we often give them credit for. There are moments in the novel when the father tries to hold back certain horrors, but the boy knows, coaxes it out, and they share their experiences of it as people, not just a man and a boy, but as two human beings age and experience inconsequential, each learning from the other.

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