The cause of the disaster remains a mystery throughout the book and there are only some brief, non-specific references to the event itself. Whatever the cause, much of the world is set on fire and the smoke and debris blocks out the sunlight causing everything to die.
Having watched the movie prior to reading the book, I was surprised to see how closely the movie follows the story. The darkness in The Road is vivid and relentless. In fact, the smothering effect of their environment is much more impressive than the raider-cannibals that are a constant threat. The Road is based entirely on the struggle of the man and his son. While they are physically striving to get “south” to a safer,warmer place, mentally and emotionally they are trying to keep “the fire” of goodness and hope alive. Unlike many of its counterparts in the genre, The Road is a very well written novel and has a great deal of depth and substance. It is clear that The Road surpasses most of the other books that I have listed here in terms of its literary merit but I also found it to be a little more bleak and less inspiring than some of the other books that I have read recently. Perhaps some of what draws me to this type of fiction is a fascination with the human will to survive and our ability to adapt to and prepare for difficult situations. The dark, lifeless world that Cormac McCarthy creates in The Road leaves one wondering if survival would be a good option which is perhaps his driving point.