"Can you do it? When the time comes? When the time comes there will be no time. Now is the time. What if it [the gun] doesn't fire? It has to fire. Could you crush that beloved scull with a rock? Hold him in your arms. Just so. The soul is quick. Pull him towards you. Kiss him. Quickly." Pg 96
These are the thoughts of The Man as his son lay sleeping in his arms. They are faced with cannibalistic humans hunting them and in this moment he is wondering when the time comes if he has it in him to kill his son in any way possible to protect him.
The Road follows an unnamed father and son journeying together toward the sea across a post-apocalyptic landscape, some years after a great, unexplained cataclysm has destroyed civilization and almost all life on Earth. The setting is extremely bleak; the sun is obscured by a layer of ash so thick that the pair must breathe through masks, and the land seems devoid of any living plants or animals (The Man talks about the extinction of cows). The surviving remnants of civilization have been largely reduced to cannibalistic tribalism, or nomadic scavenging of metropolitan detritus that is almost entirely depleted. Realizing that they will not survive another winter in their present location, the father leads them through this desolate landscape towards the sea, sustained by a vague hope of finding other "good people" like them.
Adam read this book and it became his second favorite of all time (second to Jose Saramago's Blindness). For 6 months he has been begging me to read it promising that I will love it. I will say it wasn't the most cheery read of my life...but it certainly had me turning the pages. Some parts were so intense that I had a hard time reading with my back to the door and found myself in a corner just so I wouldn't have any (cannibalistic) surprises awaiting me.
I had a hard time connecting to the characters but when The Man and The Boy (names are obsolete in their world) have conversations you feel for The Man only wanting to do right by his son.