In celebration of Cormac McCarthy’s new novel “The Passenger” just being published, this review will be on the last book he wrote, which is also his most famous. “The Road” is considered by many to be one of the best books of the 21st century, and for good reason. A novel with few weaknesses and a host of strengths, “The Road” perfectly illustrates the desolation and despair that comes along with the end of the world. 

One of these strengths is the writing, which is maybe the best stylistically that I have ever read. McCarthy is known for having an “empty” style of writing, as he pretty much cuts out any descriptions that are not needed in the story. However, in “The Road,” he takes it to another level, abandoning not only unneeded descriptions, but also any loose words and even simple punctuation. Throughout the book, there is no instance of any quotation marks, very few commas, and anything said by the characters is written like a script, with the characters name followed by a colon. 

This already might seem extreme, but McCarthy goes even further, with not giving any names for the characters. The two main characters are listed as “the Man” and “the Boy”. This initially seems like a weakness in the book, without proper grammar and even names for the protagonist. However, this is what makes the book so incredible. The empty and desolate writing style perfectly fits the situation, making the novel even more immersive than it would be with proper punctuation and names.

I could go on for hours about this book, but in an effort to keep the article somewhat short, I’ll list one more strength. The emotion and personality of the characters, even without having names, is through the roof. They could be real people, the Man and the Boy, simply by how complex they are written. It is so difficult to make well-rounded, dynamic characters that readers can empathize with while using a lot of description, but somehow McCarthy does it while using only necessary words. 

The only thing that would go against this book is if the reader does not enjoy the unique writing style it has. Also, because it is about the apocalypse, it can be pretty explicit at some points, and if the reader does not enjoy depressing or violent books, it would be best to stay clear. Other than that, this is a masterpiece.

Rating: 9.6

Tagline: “Reams and Reels,” written by Cade Smucker, dives into the intersection between books and movies. Reviewing books one week and movies the next, Sumcker analyzes the newest works of fiction on the market, telling you which are worth your time, and which are not.

 

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