Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.
Bleak but brilliant, with glimmers of hope and humor, The Road is a stunning allegory and perhaps Cormac McCarthy's finest novel to date. This remarkable departure from his previous works has been hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a "novel of horrific beauty, where death is the only truth".
McCarthy, a New York Times best-selling author, is a past recipient of the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. He is widely considered one of America's greatest writers.
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"McCarthy's prose retains its ability to seduce...and there are nods to the gentler aspects of the human spirit." (The New Yorker)
"One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal...Every moment of The Road is rich with dilemmas that are as shattering as they are unspoken...McCarthy is so accomplished that the reader senses the mysterious and intuitive changes between father and son that can't be articulated, let alone dramatized...Both lyric and savage, both desperate and transcendent, although transcendence is singed around the edges...Tag McCarthy one of the four or five great American novelists of his generation." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
Addicted to Audible!
The first time I listened to this book I stopped after about 3o min because it seemed so boring and the subject so depressing. A friend told me to give it another chance and so I did. I am glad that I listened. First,the narration is perfect, each word clearly spoken with just the right intonations. The writing was beautiful and made me think long and hard about my life, my family, my own spirituality and beliefs. It touched my soul.
I like McCarthy's writing style, but its never been better than in The Road. The setting is a bleak future, a man and his boy holding on to each other despite having absolutely nothing to live for. The story moves along well, with McCarthy's brilliant prose, but the bleak atmosphere is not something all will appreciate.
Many criticize this book because of the lack of sophisticated dialog. In fact, a man and his son travelling along a road in the cold of winter probably would not have many deep, philosophical discussions.
The story is simple, but it's what McCarthy does with it that gives its complexity.
There are some moments in the story that are some of the most memorable I've ever read; particularly the man's remembrance of the final conversation he had with his wife.
The author manages to introduce a fair amount of realistic suspense into the story. I cringed at what the man found in the basement of that house...
McCarthy is one of the most brilliant writers, and he is at his absolute best here. But you'll probably either love it or hate it.
Oh yeah, Tom Stechschulte's narration is perfect for this book.
I was so moved by this book. I got it because I like "post apocalyptic" stories, but this was very different. Most end of the world stories are ultimately about starting over, going back to Eden, building a better world than the old one, etc. This was much more an allegory about the nature of hope, and what it means to be "one of the good guys."
Seriously dark, like extra dark with a side of dark, but beautiful and poignant, in a way that it couldn't be if it wasn't in that stark contrast with darkness and despair. The story strips away all the trappings of the world until all that's left is who we are and what we believe in. I didn't take it especially literally, but wondered if we aren't each of us both "the man" and "the boy" and our lives are "the road." That's probably just me being flaky though.
I thought it was really really good, but man, I'm planning to follow it up with something mindless and perky!
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.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
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.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - This book won the Pulitzer Price for fiction in 2007. I suppose I can understand why, but that doesn't mean it's enjoyable listening. A man and his young son (referred to as "the man" and "the boy" in the book) are wandering southward in a post-apocalyptic America. They push their shopping basket of food and supplies and struggle to stay warm, safe and find food. The situation seems true to what I would expect it to be. The reader is never told what year it is, where the characters are or what caused the apocalypse, but there are ashes everywhere, hardly any vegetation and no animals. I kept waiting for that information to be revealed, but it never was. There are good and bad people, but the boy and the man only run into a handful throughout the book so human extinction is almost complete. The man tries to remain positive and is resourceful in his efforts to protect his son, but the underlying tone of the book is that of desperation and despair. Okay, so it wins a prize for realistic treatment of a difficult subject that is in the back of everyone's mind. The location, character names and what caused the apocalypse are not given so that the listener is focused on the characters and the hopelessness of their journey. Bingo, Pulitzer prize for originality.
Now for my feeling about the hours I spent listening to it. It's makes you think what's in store for humanity and if this could be our bleak future. That's depressing, but I like many books that are sad or depressing. The problem is that NOTHING HAPPENS! NOTHING! The characters hardly talk, so you don't get to know them. When the boy speaks, he's usually crying or complaining. Can't say that I blame him but I got tired of listening to it. And the man says very little and often repeats what the boys says. And what do they do with their time? Well, probably what you and I would do in their situation, but I didn't enjoy hours of them walking, finding cans of food and trying to keep warm. There were only a couple times where they actually were in a fairly interesting situation, but even that was short-lived. The publisher's summary says the book is "bleak but brilliant with glimmers of hope and humor." I would say it's bleak and boring with no glimmers whatsoever. Bottom line, I listened at 1.5 speed and still was glad when the book was over. It has an appropriate ending, and I can't give away any more than that.
PERFORMANCE - Mr. Stechschulte is not one of my favorite narrators, but he does a pretty good job. As I said, the situation and characters are kind of blah, so he didn't have a lot to work with.
OVERALL - There is no sex and possibly one or two curse words throughout the book. The boy and man run into a few people with gross injuries or health, but there's no real violence or gore. The book is intentionally bleak and alternates between being depressing and slightly hopeful but, as I said, the goal seems to be painting a picture in the listener's mind and making you think. It does that.
If you're looking for an intricate plot, this book is not for you. If you can appreciate a finely crafted sentence, then you will appreciate this book. Cormac McCarthy is a master of the language and is right up there with Steinbeck and Hemingway. If you liked, "The Memory of Running", you'll like "The Road".
The narration by Tom Stechschulte is amazing. He apparently takes the time to thoroughly understand what he's reading and it really shows in this audio book. He makes this book shine. If I was down to my last credit I would spend it on this book.
I was sorely disappointed in "The Road". I have read other Cormac McCarthy books and liked them. However "The Road" is not enjoyable. It is not a good read and it is not a good story.
It was boring and pointless. I listened to the whole book waiting for some payoff but it never came, which, I should have expected as the entire book was just a rambling dialogue.
Some people love this book but I did not find anything in it redeeming.
Audible editor and listener. Lover of fiction, thrillers, 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.
This simply sucked. The novel meanders aimlessly through a post apocalyptic setting. Extremely dull... no build-ups, no payoffs, no interesting exploration of the characters, no decent dialog - just long periods of boredom punctuated by brief, graphic post apocalyptic situations.
Many of the reviews praising this book agree that the plot isn't much - instead, they argue, it's the book's complicated questions on morality that make it great. "Really makes you think," I've read in some of these reviews.
That's friggin' nonsense. This book does nothing of the sort. The "moral conflicts" are so thinly drawn that anyone who considers 'The Road' eye-opening, or a think piece, is probably reading at a fourth grade level and we'd be insane to trust their reviews.
My theory is that the cause of this book's hype is the draw from the films based on McCarthy's novels - 'All the Pretty Horses', 'No Country For Old Men', and the book in question here, 'The Road'. I think the films drew a large number of reviewers who are the type that can't see past their own cognitive dissonance.
As always, I suggest trusting positive reviews only if they are from fellow audible listeners with similar tastes. If only I'd done that here. Just now, I looked through the reviews of those listeners on my 'Follow' list to see if any had tried 'The Road' as well. The two listeners that had also gave this book a low rating. Wish I'd had the wherewithal to look for their feedback prior.
Wonderfully written, incredibly descriptive, emotionally compelling, as a male in his mid-40s I am not easily drawn into the emotional side of characters, this book made me feel I was living the man's journey and his love for his child.
This book is the first to bring me to tears since Watership Down over 35 yrs ago!
"The road is a strange and wonderful story."
This is a strange and wonderful story. At times sad but ultimately a story of hope. Brilliantly read and keeps you interested until the end.
"I don't understand"
whay the book has such good reviews.
All they say on the long road walk is: Its Ok. Ok.Im sorry. that's ok. Its Ok. I'm sorry. That's ok.
The author doesn't explain what was happend to cose the Apocalypse or he may explained once but I didn't cache it. I was jumping forward time to time in the hope something will happened. In the end nothing happend. The man died and the boy was taken by some good guys. The End
"The Worst Book Ever"
Well if ever I feel like committing suicide, this will be the book I'll chose to hold in my hand so that those finding my body will know how desperate I felt.
It's gruesome. It's horrible. It is so devoid of hope or grace or beauty that I can't think why anyone would want to subject themselves to reading it. I will not recommend it to anybody.
As far as the characters go, the boy is pathetic in the true sense of the word. However, I couldn't help the cynic in me asking how on earth he could be so ingelligent at times when all his knowledge must have come from the father, who is little more than monosyballic in his utterances. The father has lost his humanness and gained only cruelty in his quest for survival - how else could you justify his teaching the child to put a pistol in its mouth, aim upwards? These people have become hardly more than animals.
The language is sparse but I can't say I can see any beauty in it. I cringed everytime the father said 'Its alright\" or the son said 'Im okay'. Surely there's more to life than that? Surely McCormac could have offered us more vocabulary, even in this world devoid of hope?
List. Lists of objects. Lists of tiny actions. Sentences without verbs. Overuse of the words 'he' and 'and'. All contribute to the dull, repetitive language in this dull, repetitive tale.
Probably the worst book I have ever read. And I could have been saved from my misery if only the man had trusted the family he met right at the beginning ... ah! maybe that's the message.
"Uneventful and a tad dull"
I love a post apocalyptic story but I was underwhelmed with this book..I kept waiting for something interesting to happen but no too much did. I did like the father son relationship as it felt real and honest. I did keep listening until the end though just hoped it would get better.
"wonderfully bleak vision of a devastated world"
wonderful book, saw the film first and wanted to hear that world lifted off the page, beautiful characters, hope and loss in equal measures.
"poor payoff for the time"
Many of the reviews comment on the bleakness of the story, which it is bleak. The story signposts the ending from the off. There are few surprises. The dialogue between characters is sparse with little variety. By the end I was fed up with hearing the boy say "OK" and "I'm scared". I didn't find myself caring about their fate as they just weren't believable as survivors. It doesn't stand out as anything special in apocalyptic literature. No twist or significant message to deliver.
"Not sure I "got" it..."
A lot of reviewers have said they don't understand why this won the Pulitzer Prize and I think that saying this is a bit extreme. This is a very powerfully written book, encompassing moral issues seen through the eyes of the young and the old in a very "grey" landscape. However for all of its emotive sections... the ending left me a little empty.
For all of its power, I have no idea what I'm supposed to take away from this story. The book took me out of the comfort zone of my usual listens, so I have no idea whether I'm an uncultured philistine or just finished an OK book.
"Achingly raw and beautiful"
This is a beautifully written and performed story. It stays with you long after it has ended, and pulls at every fibre of your being.
"Good story but could of been shorter."
There were many times during this read I thought "get on with it" the ending becomes obvious about 2/3's into the book.
Worth the listen.
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