Cormac McCarthy is one of those writers that is loved by many and disliked by just as many - perhaps because his vision of the world is generally a very bleak one.
And THE ROAD is a particularly bleak vision of the world - it's post-apocalyptic fiction set in a world that has been completely and utterly devasted. There's no time frame, no way to know exactly what has happened, but what is left is brutally and unconditionally disastrous.
So you could decide not to read McCarthy because of this vision - and I have to admit that I wouldn't blame you. Even I - who loves his writing - only reads it when I'm feeling at my most upbeat. Because otherwise, I think I'd end up feeling suicidal.
You can look at almost any of his many books and see this bleakness of vision. You may have seen the couple of great movies that have been made from his books in the past few years - All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men. These are a pretty accurate reflection of his vision of the world.
But the thing about Cormac McCarthy is this.
Despite this bleakness, the thing that comes through in all his books is love. Unselfish love. Love of a father for his son. Of a brother. Of a friend.
In this book, the love of a father for his son, the love of that son for his father and for the world, for the people who are suffering and scared to death in this ruined world they traverse. The redemption is every book is a personal one - it's about courage and honor and bravery and most of all, it's about love.
So if you get a chance, pick up one of his ten books. Pick up ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and give it a chance. Because, in the end, you'll see exactly what I mean. And you'll feel sad, no question, but you'll also feel that no matter what happens, there will be the possibility of love and redemption. No matter how bad and how scary the world, no matter what disasters occur, love will out.