The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This book was quite difficult to get through. I don’t know why some sentences had no verbs and why I had to count alternating lines to figure out who “he” was.

1) “What would you do if I died? If you died I would want to die too. So you could be with me? Yes. So I could be with you. Okay.”

Repeat this 200 times, and it’s 50% of the story.

2) “He’s going to die. We can’t share what we have or we’ll die too.”

The most riveting theme of the book was the dilemma of self preservation vs helping others, both between the father and son, and between them and other people they run into.

3) “Because the bullet travels faster than sound. It will be in your brain before you can hear it. To hear it you will need a frontal lobe and things with names like colliculus and temporal gyrus and you won’t have them anymore.”

This claim sounded a bit dubious so I looked it up. Seems like there are too many factors for any broad statement to be true.

4) “The snow fell nor did it cease to fall.”

Notwithstanding my dislike of the general writing style, I loved this sentence.

5) “Do you hear me? You know how to do it. You put it in your mouth and point it up. Do it quick and hard. Do you understand? Stop crying. Do you understand?”

I really thought this was foreshadowing, but (spoilers) it wasn’t.

6) “He crossed the room and opened the refrigerator door. Something sat on one of the racks in a coat of gray fur. He shut the door.”

This sentence really struck me because I recently learned that pasta sauce grows moldy in the fridge. This changes the calculus of pasta as a cheap food option.

7) “They came upon themselves in a mirror and he almost raised the pistol. It’s us, Papa, the boy whispered. It’s us.”

We are better than this.

8) “Crate upon crate of canned goods. Tomatoes, peaches, beans, apricots. Canned hams. Corned beef. Hundreds of gallons of water in ten gallon plastic jerry jugs. Paper towels, toiletpaper, paper plates.”

I got really excited for them whenever they found food. But every time, they inexplicably left, in search of the coast.

9) “How would you know if you were the last man on earth?”

The absence of something is hard to prove.

10) “He’d brought the two coils of rope from the locker and he measured the diameter of them with the span of his hand and that by three and then counted the number of coils. Fifty foot ropes.”

I don’t have these survival skills.

The sad thing is that this story is not fiction. It has happened before and will happen again, and it’s likely happening right now somewhere.

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