The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of the archetypal books of the post-apocalyptic genre.
Combining some of the bleakest imagery found anywhere in fiction, with beautiful, almost poetic writing, it manages to capture the genre’s defining message: life goes on, even in the darkest times.
Without giving away the story, the book follows a man and his son as they make their way through a destroyed country, in search of something more than their current lives offer. They travel through barren wastelands and crumbling towns, encountering all-manner of survivors on the way. The story is told through McCarthy’s characteristically melodic prose, resulting in one of the most quotable books I’ve ever read.
With that in mind, I’ve hand-picked some of the darkest, bleakest and most beautiful quotes, to offer a little insight into the destroyed world The Road manages to conjure into existence. Here are 10 of the most epic post apocalyptic quotes from The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
1) “What’s the bravest thing you ever did? He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.”
2) “Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”
3) “Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.”
4) “The wind sounded of Mother Earth’s forsaken and abandoned cries.”
5) “There is no God and we are his prophets.”
6) “He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone.”
7) “Then he just knelt in the ashes. He raised his face to the paling day. Are you there? he whispered. Will I see you at the last? Have you a neck by which to throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered, Oh God.”
8) “Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
9) “When one has nothing left make ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.”
10) “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”
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