Sunday, August 08, 2010
I finished The Road recently-- a profoundly moving story of a father and his son as they journeyed through a ravaged and burnt landscape that used to be America. Cormac McCarthy paints vivid pictures and pulls you, the reader, into the story. The words are spare and sparse just like the wretched, ash-covered wasteland the un-named father and son had to navigate to escape another bone-cracking winter.
Despite the desolation, the nothingness, the constant fear and the hopelessness, the father and son kept struggling towards the coast. They weren't even sure what awaited them at the coast but the father was hoping for less severe winter.
Throughout their journey, they had to scavenge for food. This led to a few surprises at unlikely places and also shocking discoveries in many places-- like the locked cellar filled with unfortunate human beings.
What kept the father and son going when it was so easy to just give up and die?
What keep us going?
Life is not always easy. We suffer losses and disappointments. We may fail again and again. What we aim for can be just within reach... at the next corner, beyond the next hill. But we reach that corner and it isn't there, nor at the next dozen corners. But still we don't give up. We keep going-- and hoping-- for our own sake and for the sake of our children.
In the story, throughout the journey, the father imparts his wisdom to the boy to prepare him for the inevitable... when he has to fend for himself and face the world alone. He instills in the boy, hope and determination to carry the 'fire'.
We do the same for our kids because they have to continue walking on that road after we are gone. If they're lucky, they'll meet-- and recognise-- the good guys. If they are unfortunate, we've at least armed them with good advice.
The most moving father-son story I've ever read. Told in poetic prose. Amazing!
So, what are you reading?