Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: Super-Abbreviated Version

September 13, 2009

Recently I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It had been on my list of things to read for a long time, and I really enjoyed it. It was fast, the imagery was beautiful (in a post-apocalyptic kind of way), and it was also… repetitive. I don’t mean that this repetition was in any way bad (and let me note that it’s pretty amazing how anti-repetitive McCarthy’s imagery is throughout the novel when laying out the whole eschatological mise en scène (which he does, well, repeatedly)), and what follows is all out of respect and admiration for C McC; by no means does it encapsulates the thematic context of the novel or anything like that. This being said, I thought it would be fun to have some kind of The Road: Super-Abbreviated Version contest, and  I have to admit, writing this was pretty fun. If you’ve read The Road, try writing an S-A S. If you haven’t read The Road, I’d recommend it. Oh, and this post has absolutely nothing to do with Korea, in case you were wondering. So here we go:

The dead steel sky spread wide like a gaping maw.

“Are we going to die?” said the boy.

“No,” said the man. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

“No,” said the boy.

“You should,” said the man.

They choked on the ash that was everywhere in the air and blew forever across the moldering flesh of the barren land.

“Look,” said the boy. “A man. Can we help him?”

“No,” said the man. “We can’t.”

“Are we the good guys?”



“Because we are carrying the fire.”

“Would we ever eat other people?”


“I’m dead,” said the father.

“Oh no,” said the boy.

“Hey kid,” said some other guy who was with some other people. “Come with us.”

“Are you the good guys?”


“Are you carrying the fire?”


“I don’t know.”

The boy went with the man and his family and they followed the road southward through the fallow, immolated, Godless world.


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