When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night, he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.
In The Road, Cormac McCarthy paints a tragic picture of a post-apocalyptic landscape in the Southeastern US. Land is scorched, trees denuded, sun blocked by clouds of ash, and human society essentially demolished. There are roving bands of armed savages hunting other people to make them into slaves and worse. In this bleak world, a man and his young son are trying to make it to the coast where they hope to find better conditions and more food. Daily living is a struggle; traveling itself is dangerous, but the existence of other people potentially lurking somewhere nearby makes the risk that much more real and frightening. Houses are potential sources of food, but also potential traps or at least the scenes of savage tableaus of death that can stay in the mind long after they have been physically left behind. The father tries to preserve a sense of hope and humanity in his son, while at the same time teaching him the skills to preserve his life. The book is both suspenseful and tender--as we watch the relationship between father and son play out. While bleak, the novel is also in many ways beautiful, and in the end not entirely hopeless.