The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy
1/3/24; 315 pages
The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy is highly recommended literary fiction which explores loss, past hurts, and a search for answers.
It is 1997 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Ward is struggling, drinking too much and torturing himself trying to deal with the death of his mother. His father, Dylan, abandoned them when Mark was five. His mother told him Dylan went to the USA and died in a car accident there. Mark remembers his parents arguing and drinking, so his memories of his father are not happy ones. He feels guilty about his father leaving and now his mother dying.
When cleaning out his mother's house Mark is shocked to find a box full of letters written by Dylan to his mother. Many of the letters were written after his supposed death as he traveled around America. In the letters Dylan honestly discusses his life, love, fears, and dreams. They portray a man quite different from the one Mark thought he knew. Dylan loved his wife and son. Mark decides to leave and go the the USA as his father did and begins a journey of his own while slowly reading the letters.
The Roadmap of Loss is a well-written classic road trip novel.
Seemingly Mark aimlessly travels around the USA, but he is also in many
ways retracing the journey his father took. As he journeys through a
foreign country in a wreck-of-a-car, he is drinking too much and meeting
a wide variety of people along the way. He may be searching for
answers, but he is really facing his own loneliness, disbelief, and
failings while on what appears to be the road to his own self
destruction - unless he can find the way to forgiveness and peace he is desperately seeking.
Mark is definitely portrayed as a fully realized, believable character. Even while he is making poor choices and bad decisions, readers will be rooting for him to find peace and some sense of how he can move on and make a life for himself. This is a good choice for those who like road-trip novels involving flawed characters seeking closure.