That is the simple premise of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. I read it this past weekend after several friends recommended it to me, raving. And damn, after four hours of intense reading, I agree. This is a great book. The best I’ve read since Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
If Hemmingway wrote a post-apocalyptic novel, peppered with Faulknerisms and the bleak hopelessness of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, this would be it. Think Old Man and the Sea meets nuclear winter.
The narrative is stripped of character names, of extended back-stories, of long stretches of philosophizing. There is only the father, the son, and the road.
What is so wonderful about this story is the relationship between the father and his son. The dialog is sparse. The themes understated. Though they travel through endless landscapes of gray, the story bursts with intense emotional color. It’s easily the best book I’ve read in the past six months, perhaps six years. Do yourself a favor and read it.
But I’ve a question. Is it science fiction? My answer is no. But then I think science fiction is too broad a term.