You know what's really strange? Last year I had an abortive attempt to write a novel I had always planned on coming back to later. Now, thanks to Mr. McCarthy, I don't have to, because "The Road," with minor differences, is exactly the story I was writing a year ago.
My version was with two brothers instead of a father and son, and it was slightly less bleak and less literature-y and more comic book-y (what drove the plot was the massacre of their commune by bandits and the older brother's obsession with getting revenge). While I am perturbed that now I have no reason to finish my magnum opus, I am about 100 pages into "The Road" and I have to say that unless it takes a major turn for the suck, it is hands-down the best novel I've read released this year (which granted, isn't many, as I prefer older fare).
It's a post-apocalyptic novel unlike what the subgenre is used to. A father and son have to travel south for the winter in a burned, ruined America (specifically, the landmarks used point to the Kentucky-Tennessee-Georgia region; they hint it was nuclear war in flashback though it's never explicitly stated) where entire cities lie in ruins, crops rot in fields, it snows ash and roving bands of slavers and cannibals make survival difficult for everyone. If you thought "Blood Meridian" was stark, after reading half of "The Road" it seems like the earlier work was a warm-up. This has got to be one of the most unrelentingly dark and bleak works of fiction ever conjured. Yet, at the same time, there's a kind of grace to it, and the love between father and son is quite touching.
I'm going to finish in the next day or two. Has anyone else heard of this or picked it up?