The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel, unrelentingly dark and desolate. It is the story of a father and son, walking along a road to get to the coast, where hopefully, things will be better than further inland. The father is possibly a doctor, McCarthy hints at this more than once, and the son is only 7 or 8 years old, and has never known anything but a world covered in grey ash, in which nothing grows and no one is to be trusted.
The beauty and the brilliance of the book is the relationship between father and son, how they support and care for each other, the depth of their relationship in a world where they can only trust each other. McCarthy also manages to create an almost unbearable tension throughout the book, truly putting you there with father and son, where around every corner, in every abandoned house they search for food or clothing, horror, death or capture waits.
Right until the end of the book, McCarthy keeps the reader in the grip of the story. I ended up finishing this after 2am in the morning. It is a book that stays with you long after you finish it, and with the power to make you re-examine your world and think about all you have to lose. McCarthy takes away everything familiar, in a scenario only too easy to imagine, and makes you think about what you would do. In the end, he left me understanding how truly precious our world is, and how fragile.
I can easily understand why this won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.