I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I gave this story 5 stars because, even though I wanted to not like it, I liked it anyway. I didn't once hit the FF button, which is very rare for me when I listen to an audiobook. The question is, what about it kept me listening?
As someone said in an earlier review - at some points it seems like the author attempted to use as many rarely used words as he could. Most of the time they flow in the story, but occasionally you'll stop and think "what??"
It is not an action packed thriller. It's a LOT of the same thing, day after day, chapter after chapter, but that's the point of the story. Don't get it if you want to hear exciting tension packed explosions of prose - that simply ain't in here.
The story is bleak and hopeless. There is nothing "feel good" about it so if you're prone to depression, stay away from this. The boy in the story sometimes made me want to throttle him ("shut up already, kid") but then I realized this meant that the story had truly captured me...
And that's why this story is worth paying for: you'll get caught up in it, bleakness and all, and will keep listening in the hope that the "good" will be found. Is it found in the end? You'll have to listen to find out.
Audible editor and data evangelist. Lover of fiction, classics, celebrity memoirs, and quirky teen novels.
Set in a cold and dark post-apocolypic America, The Road maintains a steady pace of bleak hopelessness. The father/son pair have lost everything, including their identities, and are on an unknown journey towards something better. The story captures their bond and persistence, with tiny glimmers of hope in a seemingly endless void. Tom Stechschulte's narration is spot-on and chilling, and stayed with me long after the end.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Perhaps the most unequivocally gloomy novel I've ever read, The Road takes place on a seemingly doomed near-future Earth, in which some unspecified but massive disaster has made the world nearly unlivable. Crops are dead, all traces of law and order are long gone, and what's left of humanity has been reduced to roaming scavengers and bands of cannibals. The novel focuses on a man and his young son, who are making their way across what used to be the United States "towards the south". In what seems to be Cormac McCarthy's style, we learn little about their backstories -- only their struggle to keep going through a hellish, benighted world that could only be described by his stark, weighty prose. Indeed, McCarthy's complex, sometimes arcane descriptive language seems to reference other dark, visionary works in English literature, drawing in some of their power.
There's not a lot of "plot" to the book. Mostly, the two characters wander, just trying to find enough water, food, and shelter to get through the next day. Even during the stretches where nothing "happens", McCarthy gives each moment a palpable weight: the exhaustion, the fear, the tension of not knowing what's around the next corner, the emptiness of a dead world, the lure of an escape by suicide, and a father's desperate bond with his son, who is young enough to not fully understand the meaning of the reality around him. And there are some truly harrowing scenes, as well.
This isn't the easiest novel to take in, though, like McCarthy's Blood Meridian, I also found it mesmerizing and hard to put down. There are even strange moments of beauty in the shadow. Like few works in apocalyptic literature, The Road goes all the way to the edge of abyss, extinguishing hope down to the tiniest flickering flame. Yet, as long as that flame remains, there is no looking away. A powerful book, and one that might make you gaze into your own soul.
The story is at first sad without any hope that made me curious to the direction the book would take. In the end was a loving book of hope and longing outlining the relationship and dedication between a father and his son in even the most deparate of situations. It was a very plausible description I could easily visualize and feel deeply for. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a sad heartfelt insight into what family means or what it is to be human.
Literary graduate and published columnist turned glorified grease monkey.
I actually stopped reading this half way through the first time. It was just too slow for me. But then I came back to it and started again and made it through. I realised, it is supposed to be slow. It's a post-apocolyptic tale of a man and his boy wandering a desolate land. The pace of the story just serves to emphasise the desparation of their situation. It is a bleak future and they struggle through it. After a while I started to get annoyed with the kid, he always seems to state that he's cold or he's hungry or he's scared, and this doesn't help the narrative. I think the reader can assume these emotions from a 10 year old boy wandering the Earth alone with his father and a shopping cart. On top of that, the man constantly repeats what the boy says and that is frustrating. But it is an interesting survival story and McCarthy is a good teller. The Narrator did very well to instill a sense of hope and the lack of it. The plot gradually builds towards the end, and although I struggled to find excitement in the events that unfolded few and far between, whenever the characters discovered something really rewarding, I felt like I was right there with them.
The story is set in an undetermined time in the future when a world-wide apocalypse has wiped out most of the human population. The relatively few who remain are either the "good guys" or the "bad guys". The reader never really finds out who the good guys are, or who the bad guys are. Nor do we find out what the nature of the apocalypse was that brought the world to this point. Furthermore, the two protagonists - a father and his son - are merely referred to as the "man" and the "boy". To describe the story as spare is indeed an understatement. And yet, despite all this, the reader is slowly drawn into a world where these two people are trying simply to survive. They will survive by making their journey along a road, to the coast. Why to the coast? We never really find out. The story is more about asking questions, rather than providing answers. What does it mean to have life? What is the purpose of living? Should it be life at any cost? As the man and the boy proceed with their journey, these are the questions we/they ask. The answers are very individualistic. This is a real work of literature, which stayed with me long after the book was completed. The narrator was terrific, taking very short, very sparse dialogue and infusing it with just the right amount of emotion, for each of the characters who spoke. I highly recommend this book. I gave it 4 stars, rather than 5 because, the latter would be for perfection only, and this book, while close - I would give it 4.5 stars if I could - falls just a smidgen short.
I felt a bit stressful and sad while listening to this book which is a credit to Cormac McCarthy's spare, intense, powerful writing. The more I thought about and talked this book afterward, the more I admired the author and liked The Road. Absolutely the best last paragraph of any book I've ever read. If it doesn't make you realize the beauty and value of this planet and the good people who live here, I don't know what would.
This is one of the most moving memorable works of fiction that I have ever read/listened to. The luxury of listening to the narrator read this prose to me as I drove my car made me happy to be a commuter. Some of the most compelling moments are the man's memories of the earth before the destruction -- the streams, the trout, the colors. But the most amazing part of the book is the boy and the man's love for his son and what a parent will do for a child & sees in a child. An absolutely beautiful book.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Reading this book in 2013, I understand why it sat atop the best seller list for so long several years ago. This is a sparse tale of a Dad trudging along a barren landscape with a shopping cart containing minimal supplies and son in tow. They persevere and plow ahead searching for food and shelter, forever in motion, avoiding unthinkable dangers. This is a gritty and stark story.
Enjoyed this book for the well thought out characters, especially the father struggling to keep his son safe while showing compassion and strength. The biggest struggle he faces is keeping his humanity and acting as a moral compass. The narrator fits the character as gruff, exhausted, and strong. Excellent read.