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)
Audible editor and data evangelist. Lover of fiction, classics, 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.
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.
Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' is a black book of wondrous paragraphs that quickly pulls you into the sad, sad world of the man and his boy. I found myself sitting in my car long after my commute ended to hear more and more of this story.
This book is not chock full of action and adventure. However, I didn't feel the story needed all that drama. It was very real, and it made me think long and hard about what life would be like if I were in the main characters shoes, with no real place to go because everywhere has been affected. To be one of only a handful of survivors, left to scavenge for any semblance of life, is a powerful, heavy thought.
The author did a wonderful job of leaving out pertinent details that can be left open for interpretation, yet giving the reader a heavy dose of details in other aspects. I liked that the father and son are nameless (they are referred to as the man and the boy throughout), and that the details of their prior lives are scarce.
Lastly, the narrater was phenomenal. I was really able to vividly visualize the man and the boy as he spoke, thanks, in large part, to his delivery.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone!
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.
This book is emotionally brutal. I read previous reviews stating that the reader was tempted to stop reading several times, and I must concur wholeheartedly. There were times that my fear and or horror were just about at their limit. However, this book is well worth the tough journey. And I must give full credit to the narrator, who truly brought these characters to life. A very fulfilling book about parental love and a faith in humanity.
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!
The reader is fabulous. I've stopped books because I just couldn't listen to the reader anymore - not because the book was bad. Here, the novel is spare, eerie, melancholy. The reader captures Cormac McCarthy perfectly.
I'm so glad I got this one on audio b/c the narration was so well done. I listened to it over 1 run and 2 long car drives. It takes place in nucleur winter, and involves 2 survivors, a man and his small son, walking south on "the road" headed somewhere warmer, - I was told that premise and wasn't particularly interested, but I needed a book for my long drive and I was riveted, disturbed, fascinated, and totally impressed with the terrific writing. I think that there are major religious themes (There is no God and we are his prophets) but I have not worked them all out yet. Get this book
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
A very special story set in a very dark time. The relationship between the man and the boy is so real you can almost reach out an touch it. Amazing how we as humans do what we have to do to get through the worse of times. The instinct to protect the young never goes away. Even in hard times, there is a chance for good to win over evil. The writing is so descriptive and the narration is complimentary to the story. A very good fit.
"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.
"Typically excellent fair from Mr Mccarthy "
Very dark story of parents struggle raising a child in difficult environment. It's gripping story yet very bare and stripped down.
the road is one of those books I read time and time again and I still find something new to love each time. it is both thought provoking and heartbreaking. I must've read this at least 20 times and listened about as many times. Could not recommend it enough. Probably my favourite book.
"powerful and humbling."
fantastic story and performance. Beautifully crafted tale of humanity's vain struggle to always continue. Terriblly sad, 2 people who seem to have no hope in a barren land coverd in death. yet warming in the fact that their humanity lives on.
"A beautifully narrated story."
A superb story of a Father and son and their fight to survive. Of a fathers fierce protection and a boys faith and love. Beautifuly narrated.
"A little bland"
This book is ok. There are parts that are a bit exciting but on the whole it feels like not much happens.
The only reason I wouldn't is because there are so many audiobooks to listen to - but if I had to pick one then this would probably be my re-listen. It was so good,
The man (unnamed) - his determination to keep going in the face of hopelessness.
No, this was my first one
I wish. I definitely listened for longer than I normally would have
I found the ending a tad disappointing. But only a tiny smidge. I am nit picking but there is still something about his decision to leave the boy alive that smacks of inconsistency. And then for the boy to be rescued just like that by the only other good people on the road - it added a note of implausibility. Which shows you how well written the rest of the book was if that was the thing I struggled to believe in a post apocalyptic world.
"Brutal and brilliant"
Grim, touching and tense.
It's more plausible and less gory than The Walking Dead comics and similar in post apocalyptic tone to Stephen King's The Stand.
He has the right gravel in his voice to match the grit of the story. No pun(s) intended.
When the Man remembers what happened to his wife...There are plenty of heartbreaking moments though!
This is a heavy going listen but it's not without hope as I feared it may be.
"A perfect book!"
This is one of the best novels that I have listened to and I have listened to hundreds..
I loved Blood Meridian, What a Carve Up, The Wasp Factory, Wolf Hall, the Flashman books, CJ Sansom any book that transfixes you and makes you want to read more. I don't like comparisons-books should be unique. Cormac McCarthy's spartan style and evocations of landscapes is exceptional.
I particularly enjoyed the way he continually conveyed the dread and terror in the boy and the constant and empathetic despair in the man.
I know, obviously, that a film has been made, but imagination is much more potent than celluloid.
An author whose intellect and imagination can create a novel like this, should be able to sweep off supermarket shelves ghost written celebrity memoirs, cook books and all that nonsense.
"A great listen!"
I had watched the film of this and still found it a great book to listen to. It's the harrowing tale of a father and son trying to survive years after the end of civilisation. There are no zombies, no mutants just people trying to survive in a place were no laws exist and everyone is out for themselves. There's some disturbing moments, and yet at the heart of this is the love of a father and son. It's a really beautiful book and very easy to listen to.
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