A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Look, I'll admit it. I'm a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy and have read every (I mean EVERY) book, play, screenplay, and piece of short fiction (Wake for Susan , A Drowning Incident ) he has written. While 'The Road' is not his very best (Go read 'Suttree' or 'Blood Meridian' if you are looking for the late 20th Century's answer to Herman Melville and William Faulkner). 'The Road' is a very approachable McCarthy and loses none of McCarthy's prose stylings, while at the same time making his writing more palatable to the average mass-fiction reader.
So, if you haven't read McCarthy before, this is a good first stop, but please DEAR GOD, don't let this be your only or your last stop. Read McCarthy more, read McCarthy often, or the kid gets it.
There is something I love about Walker Percy. I think it is the loveliness of Percy's confrontation and struggle with spiritual belief. His characters are amazing, his prose is lovely. He writes these quirky scenes, in a sometimes peculiar prose, without them seeming fussy or overwrought (an amazing balancing act right there).
Perhaps, I am just drawn to my big Trinity of Catholic Novelists(Greene, O'Connor, Percy). They don't play in an easy hothouse of consecration. They don't write about faith, belief, or redemption as if these topics were easy loads to lift. Percy, to me, meets the Modern man where he is; trapped between light and darkness, between falling and hoisting, between Heaven and Hell. Percy greets the reader and lifts him, slaps him on the ass, and pushes him on his way.
Absurd, fantastic, and the narrative almost measures up to the cover art. A book about two frontier assassin brothers in search of the 'pot of gold' over the rainbow. Two killer angels seeking to "understand why, or how they might change things for the better." This novel is about that quest. A quest to change, to understand, to alter lots, cheat fate and better predicaments. Fundamentally, however, it is about the things that link us: blood, death, family, lust and greed. The book's absurdity lacks nihilism, its craziness exists without meanness, and the killings and murders seem to echo with a beautiful melancholic fatalism of Charles Portis and Mark Twain.