September 17, 2011

The Road, Today

Whenever I talk to people about how much I loved Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" I talk about how he pulled together all these tried and true storylines, plot moments, and happenings from a long tradition of post-apocolyptic literature / film, BUT did it with so much style, so much emotion (under the surface), pitch perfections, pacing, etc. to lift it from a ho-hum collage of things I'd read before to amazing.

And in those conversations, I eventually come around to the sparseness of the story and  how it reads like allegory to me. And how through the whole story-on-the-surface there is a second story for me. This second story is the story of a father who has lost his wife and is just trying to survive the everyday life of bringing up a child on his own and all the attendant fears of child-raising turned to 11. So much fear that "finding meaning" in his new life is out the window and then some -- that The Road is this depressed-and-scared mind's halluncination of "just making it" in today's world. One of the brilliances (not a word, but a word I need) of the book is that the sparseness creates a canvas for projecting your own fears and fears onto this archetypal story of loss, fear, and hope. And yes, I've just provided you a key to a recurring nightmare of mine -- I'll share the details of that actual not-fun-dream sometime (over a drink).

But I'm writing this post, because it sounds like this second-story-in-the-story just happened. Instead of it being a depressed man's view of the world around him after a post-wife's-suicide mental breakdown... this guy actually picked up his life, his young son, and headed into the woods to survive.

Five year's later... the father dies and the son wanders back to civilization...

Holy shit.

I'm sure if the father kept a diary, it would be read shockingly similar.