The ultimate father-son story comes in the form of an apocalyptic journey from one of my favorite writers. I read The Road over a period of three days with a knot in my gut for 72 hours. The dialogue between papa and the boy bleeds genuine sweetness, care and deep love. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to see the perspective of the parent and the immense love, responsibility and sacrifice that comes naturally, but not without difficulty. And what comes back in return is pure trust, love and sweetness. After I finished it I looked up every interview I could find with McCarthy. There is a video of him on Oprah and she asks him if this book is a love letter to his young son. He gets a little embarrassed but answers simply, “yes.”
They squatted in the road and ate cold rice and cold beans that they’d cooked days ago. Already beginning to ferment. No place to make a fire that would not be seen. They kept huddled together in the rank quilts in the dark and the cold. He held the boy close to him. So thin. My heart, he said. My heart. But he knew that if he were a good father still it might well be as she had said. That boy was all that stood between him and death.
Happy Father’s Day!