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Listening to the Silence

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Karen Maitland
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The Road

The Road - Cormac McCarthy In a post-apocalyptic future, the Earth has been ravaged, nothing left but cold and ash. In this inhospitable world, there is a road, and on that road a nameless man and boy on an endless journey of survival. They encounter few, starving and frozen, and those they do encounter are as wretched as they.

This story is heartbreaking in so many ways. The contrast between the desolation of the world and the love between father and son was so incredibly well written that I felt on the verge of tears through most of the novel. The emotions were so vividly expressed that I felt them along with the characters. There were moments of such stunning beauty and insight throughout, particularly when they met the old man in the road and shared their fire with him. Set against the bleak world and the overriding sense of desperation and fear, those moments are all the more beautiful.

I know some found this book to be overwhelmingly dark and depressing, but for me all I came away with was a sense of hope and even inspiration. This may be one of the best and truest love stories I have ever read. And in love, there is hope.

I half read and half listened to this book, and I rather wish I had just read. I felt that the narrator, Tom Stechschulte, read the story just a bit too fast, and I rather disliked the voice he gave the man. He came across as scary, and you couldn't hear any love or kindness in his voice at all when speaking to the boy. Given the style in which it was written, I can't help but feel that this is a book that looses something when heard rather than read. The text is a quintessential part of the experience.

This is a book that has been on my to be read list since it was first released, and I am so thankful I finally took the time to read it. Cormac McCarthy is clearly a master at his craft, and has inspired me to start writing again. I look forward to reading more of his novels, and can't recommend this one enough.