Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a post-apocalyptic picture of an America that no longer exists.

An unnamed catastrophe has all but destroyed humanity and left the country an ashen wasteland. A father and his young son fight certain death at every turn as they make their way on the road to the coast — and what they hope will be salvation.

Both beautiful and horrifying in its scope, The Road is an instant classic and a great choice for reading over the semester break.

Be warned: This book is not divided into chapters, and it has no natural breaks. It kept me up until 3:00 a.m. because I was enthralled and couldn’t find anywhere to stop.

The Road won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and a film adaptation starring Viggo Mortenson is currently in production, due out next year.

“With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent, godless. He thought the month was October but he wasnt sure. He hadn’t kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There’d be no surviving another winter here.

When it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below.
Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. He lowered the glasses and pulled down the cotton mask from his face and wiped his nose on the back of his wrist and then glassed the country again. Then he just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”