The End of The Road

I finally finished The Road over the Easter weekend. It was hard going; a thankless treck across the bleakest territory imaginable. The writing is beautiful, lyrical in places, but the story is utterly and deliberately unrewarding. Some have described it as redemptive, but only in the sense that these survivors - who envy the dead - survive once more. Survival itself is both a compulsion and a curse in this ashen world where nothing grows and you can't see the sun. There is no hope except the next meal and the next evasion of violent death. Though they follow their road through vast tracts of post-apocalyptic America, their lives are as cramped and circumscribed as those of prisoners. They “carry the fire” but they don't know where nor for how long nor who else might be warmed by it. Their journey, like the road, and like the book itself, has no beginning and no end. No meaning except that given by the rare moments of pathos or ease in an otherwise unrelieved struggle. In this sense the book is an allegory of human life. 

Given to survival, whence and why we know not, ultimately unredeemed. A strange book to read at Easter.