A dreary parable readers will either embrace for its horror and beauty or reject as an atrocity.Cormac McCarthy's The Road will haunt you. It did me; I had nightmares for weeks. The premise is, after all, pure horror: "living" with your child in a post-apocalyptic world. Where "living" is survival by any means necessary. All the time, in the back of your mind, wondering if this new "life" is even worth the effort. Knowing that if you die, your child will be on this own.That's downright terrifying!They picked their way among the mummied figures. The black skin stretched upon the bones and their faces split and shrunken on their skulls. Like victims of some ghastly envacuuming. Passing them in silence down that silent corridor through the drifting ash where they struggled forever in the road's cold coagulate (p. 191).And it wasn't only the novel's powerful themes and shocking antagonists that affected me, it was the prose, too; the way McCarthy used language...it was captivating, to say the least.The blackness he woke to on those nights was sightless and impenetrable. A blackness to hurt your ears with listening. Often he had to get up. No sound but the wind in the bare and blackened trees. (p. 15).However, some readers will hate the lack of "normal" dialogue and structure. But, for me, those elements re-enforced the story's setting and characters.They squatted in the road and ate cold rice and cold beans that they'd cooked days ago. Already beginning to ferment. No place to make a fire that would not be seen. They slept huddled together in the rank quilts in the dark and the cold. He held the boy close to him. So thing. My heart, he said. My heart. But he knew that if he were a good father still it might well be as she had said. That the boy was all that stood between him and death (p.29).Everything worked together to paint a vivid, frightening image of the novel's world and its inhabitants. The father's and son's devotion to one another illustrated the potency of love; it's ability to feed a starving mind, body and soul.Ultimately, despite its depressing portrayal of "humanity" in the aftermath of catastrophe, The Road showed me why I must always push forward and never give up.What you might not like about The Road:* McCarthy's prose* Its tone which is, appropriately so, depressing* Graphic scenes of cannibalism* No backstory on what caused the world to end; it is inferred. (Read this interview with McCarthy for a bit more info.)Final thoughtsWhile The Road disturbed me a great deal, it also made me feel, think and wonder -- the holy trinity of reading, for me anyway. This, my first experience with McCarthy, made me wish I hadn't waited years to read his work.P.S. Now I give myself permission to watch the 2009 movie :)Note: This review was originally published on my blog, Unleash the Flying Monkeys!