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.
Check out more selections from Oprah's Book Club.
©2006 M-71, Ltd.; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC
"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)
I love suspense, action and romance. Perfect books have all three. ;)
I do not have the print version but the narrator was truly exceptional in the story.
The most interesting aspect of the story was the survival mentality that the man and boy must take on. It's wonderful how the man is able to maintain his humanity through the boy. The love is strong in this storyline and the reader/listener is reminded of that in the intricate details of how they interact. The least interesting aspect is that the story is very linear and can become dry when you have two characters through the duration of the story and one of them being a child, the dialogue and back story can suffer. I think the author should have taken more time (through the dialogue perhaps) to explain to readers what has happened to the world, what's been going on since the boy was born, etc. There were many questions left unanswered like: Why are they migrating south in winter? What made them need to leave during that time so abruptly? Where did they live before? What happened to the world? What's the end goal once they make it South?
All these things were left out and therefore, the listener is put in a place of questioning everything that occurs instead of enjoying the flow of the story.
Furthermore, I had a BIG problem with the dialogue. It was a series of "Okay" and "I don't know" throughout the ENTIRE book. It was so bad that we even started answering for the characters as we were listening by mouthing the words, "Okay" and "I don't know" at the proper times. Hopefully in the movie, it won't be as noticeable as it is when listening.
There were really only two characters. The father was the most endearing character because he shows growth, conviction and bravery. He had a set of views that really shook me in the beginning but he progressed over time. The end was just heart wrenching in the narrator's portrayal of him.
Surviving the road is tough. Deciding when to leave is tougher.
Narrator did an awesome job and would love to hear more from him!
McCarthy has a way with the English language you won't find elsewhere. His stories have a tendency to feel a bit aimless, but significant nonetheless. Give this a listen if you're prepared to be equal parts awed and depressed.
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.
Before I explain why I rated The Road so blandly, allow me to preface that the dystopian genre is my favorite genre, and McCarthy's work doesn't quite fit with my normal expectations of the genre. The Road isn't bad by any standard. It's actually quite masterfully written. Just woefully boring and lackluster at times. I've heard such great things about The Road for years and I finally decided to try it after a friend's adamant suggestion. The Road is by no means a horrible book. It flows neatly and conjures up powerful imagery and ideas. Yet, it falls so short of expectation. It is built so harshly on the conflict and dialogue between the man and the boy that it eschews the most interesting parts of what makes a dystopian brilliant. The relationship driven elements of the book could fit in just about any other genre, really sucking away from what could have been a dystopian genre definer and a go-to classic. To me, The Road is best explained in a metaphor. Imagine you're really hungry and The Road is like an artisan burger made with organic and vegan inspired ingredients. While you can appreciate the artistry and mastery put forth in the over priced and overly hyped burger, you really just want a greasy fat filled burger that is as decadent as it is detrimental to your diet. The Road offers no plot driving narrative (fries) or unusual world building (milkshake) to go along with the artisan burger. Instead, you must gain all of your gluttonous satisfaction from a salt-deprived meal full of interactions between father and son. And if you're left unsatisfied with that metaphor, now you understand how I feel about the ending to The Road.
Avid audiobook listener and reader. I work in the tech industry, but like to go outside my comfort zone with fiction and non-fiction.
Yes. It's dark and introspective, but well-worth the listen. It won't appeal to everyone, but the writing is tight, deep, and expansive.
The descriptions of the landscape helped me fall into this charred, ash-strewn, and heartless place. It stuck me on the back of my skull with the remnants of a cloistered statuary.
His slight south-western accent helped me hear the individual voices of the characters. Of the reviews I've read of the written book, it is hard to follow the dialog, but Tom made it seamless and come alive.
The ending made me cry. I identified with the father and the deep feelings for his son. I was so immersed in the book, that I could envision saying some of the same words to my children. Without spoiling the book, the father was so good to his son: understanding, patient, and caring; all qualities that I, as a parent, want to have more of.
I saw the movie years ago, and loved it, and it moved me. I forgot some of the story, but the audiobook brought it back and made it new again.
a humble, seeking, loudmouth, Jesus lover, and sometimes heretic explores his questions, concerns, and varied interests through books.
This is a great story of the human condition. The post apocalyptic world it which they live is very much how I imagine the world would be if there were no God. I recommend this book to everyone and the ready did a great job!
I am an eBay seller who listens to approx. a book a day while taking & editing photos of my items. I love a good suspenseful mystery!
Don't hesitate to buy this book...you won't regret it! Buy it right now!
This is one of the best books I have ever listened to and I have listened to A LOT of books (like 3 or 4 a week sometimes more). I am absolutely amazed that anyone could call it boring because I get bored easily and I found this the farthest thing from boring. The story itself is just so incredible but I think what makes this even more perfect is the narration. Tom Stechschulte is spot on perfect for this reading! His voice will have you completely absorbed into the story within a matter of minutes (or less). If you're like me and you've already seen the movie you may be hesitant to buy it because you think you know the story or might find it boring or both but let me assure this is not the case! I passed this book up multiple times and could kick myself for not getting it sooner! I knew within minutes of hitting play that I was going to love it. And one last thing, which may not be important to some but is to me ....this is the type of book you can share or listen to with just about anyone. I never had to turn the volume down for fear of my children hearing what was being read (my children are teens but applies for even young children). I'm putting this one at the top of my favorites list and will be listening to more Cormac McCarthy books soon!
I Love a great supernatural tale, a Love story, PNR, a Cool Mystery and Most Sci-Fi....if there are vampires, weres or witches in it, that's a plus! Basically I am a 40+ y/o young at heart woman rediscovering the wonderful world of books and am now addicted! Lol I LOVE AUDIBLE!!!!!
Emotional, Heavy, Scary....
There is no comparison...this book is very sad...it broke my heart more than once...but it is beautifully written and narrated, so it was worth it!
No, but he is a good narrator...and I would welcome a chance to listen to him again...
Oh it made me cry...I am still crying...there is nothing funny about this book...it touched my soul...and really made me think...I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did...it took me almost all of chapter 1 to get into it...but then I could not put it down...
OMG this book is an emotional roller coaster...it was bone chilling at times...and haunting....and the ending broke my heart, I openly sobbed..and am still teary eyed...what a fabulous story of love and struggle in a post apocalyptic world where you have to fight everyday to survive..this father/son relationship was beautiful....this is one I will carry with me for a long while...and will listen to again...I am very interested in reading more of this authors work.....keep in mind you will need tissues for this one....I got this on sale, but it is well worth a credit!!
This book is brilliant and the author is a master. The book and the author deserve 5 stars - I am giving it 5 stars...and I hated it.
Listening to this audio book was the single most emotionally devastating event in my 48 years of life. I pray to God and all that is holy that someday I will be able to forget this book.
My only grandson just turned four last week. He is my world and I adore him
with every fiber of my being. We spend hours and hours together every week - sometimes fun and exciting, sometimes quite mundane - and each and every
moment is precious to me. I know this at each of these moments, not in retrospect.
He calls me Papa.
After listening to this book, I envisioned my grandson kneeling over my lifeless body, weeping uncontrollably, crying "oh Papa...". Now I can't get this scene out of my head. I may need therapy.
"An Excellent Audiobook"
Forget the recent film, this is the real deal. A father and his son travel a road leading towards the South - and a respite from the winter cold.
However, this is a post-apocalyptic world they traverse; the atmosphere full of ash, no plants growing and all animals and most humans dead. Most of the people who remain have turned into savages - a real state of nature where human life is 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.'
This book makes you ask questions about yourself - could you survive in such an environment? How would you behave towards others?
McCarthy's spare writing style is well suited to this type of narrative and it is superbly read by Tom Stechschulte.
"Perfect for the road - or anywhere else"
McCarthy's book makes outstanding listening. I was fearful before buying this having read some of his previous books, which are occasionally tough going in their style. But The Road is brilliantly sparse - clipped, original and vivid imagery and a compelling narrative which never explans itself and just keeps you following. McCarthy is a master at avoiding the cliched descriptions of some (many, most) authors and this is the finest example of this, in my humble opinion.
The narration is even and atmospheric, with a compelling delivery - just like the story itself.
"Poetic and thought provoking."
Having read the 2 previous reviews a number of times I was put off listening to this. At the recommendation of a friend I finally took the plunge - I wish I had done so ages ago.
The conversational style and poetic nature make it perfect for audible. The narrator sounded just as I imagined the Father would. I listened whenever I could and looked forward to the next instalment. Occasionally my heart rate rose in anticipation of on-coming violence but overall the story is beautiful. It's biblical themes and believable imaginings of post apocalyptic America are thought provoking.
I rarely listen to anything twice but I will make an exception with this.
I was in tears at the end of this book - I felt like I was right there at the end with he Son and Father, and I knew them so well it was like saying goodbye to friends. The story is so incredibly well written, you are immediately drawn in to the story and I can picture the landscape so vividly in my mind that I am not sure if I should watch the film adaptation or not. I could very easily have listened to this book all in one sitting, but I had to sleep sometime!
Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of chapter breaks, but I think that this is natural to the story - you are seeing through the eyes of the Son or Father, and they are not writing a novel, so they wouldn't break off from their battle for survival to start a new paragraph!
A special mention must go to the excellent narration, which was perfectly paced and judged throughout.
I found this book to be a rare example of being worthy of all the praise I have heard heaped upon it.
"Heartbreaking and amazing"
Seriously heartbreaking. What a story. Great direction and narration too! The voices were really well done :)
"a chilling vision of the future"
I suspect that a lot of people coming to The Road have, like myself, been introduced to McCarthy thanks to the recent film adaptation of No Country for Old Men, and so this is probably a good reference point.
No Country received near universal critical acclaim, but in my experience audience reaction was a little more mixed. Sure, plenty (including myself) agreed with the critics, but many seemed to think the desolate speech, settings, lack of truly cataclysmic events, and the closing dream sequence were entirely off-putting.
Well, all of the above factors are present in The Road, in a far greater density than in No Country. Our lead character is in a similar mould to Tommy Lee Jones with his slow, considered speech, there is the lack of a traditional climax, and the story starts with a dream sequence to rival that in No Country.
The story follows ?The Man? and ?The Boy? as they travel a road across the southern United States attempting to get to the coast following an unknown apocalyptic event. Needless to say, our travellers encounter both natural and human challenges in this desolate world and these are the main focus. It is worth noting here that, again like No Country, some of these encounters involve extreme violence and extremely distressing images; those of a nervous disposition should certainly beware.
From an Audible point of view, the book is of a manageable length and very well narrated. Despite this I do wonder if the inability to dwell on some of McCarthy?s topics means that something lost in the transition from page to wave; perhaps the forced pacing a narrator gives makes up for this, I don?t know. Finally, I always prefer chapters in audiobooks as they allow for a natural breaking point, and these are lacking here.
Overall, if you enjoyed No Country you will get something worthwhile from this and it is certainly worth your time. The opposite of course also applies, and at least for some, this is worth considering
"So Desolate, So Miserable, But So Good!"
The story painted a picture of a future so bleak it defines the apocalypse genre... The reader did a great job defining the characters and emotions.
Great story, short running time and engaging characters.
No, but I will be looking at his other books
I felt the narrator's voice took a little getting used to but, once I had, this was an enthralling tale of a great book. the inherent difficulties of conveying the book in voice were extremely well tackled through a measured narration. The different characters were well handled. The denouement was incredibly moving.
Al in all, a superb adaptation: highly recommended.
"Excellent & BLEAK! Loved it!"
No, would like to read it for myself as the narrator's style took a long time to get used to.
The ending and the way McCarthy delivered dialogue.
Not sure, probably not, unless he adapted his style based on the book / director.
Bleak, stark, honest and tantalising!
"why on earth did this win its accolades?"
I was drawn by its Pulitzer Prize-winning status and anticipated something original and maybe challenging to the reader. I was deeply disappointed. Science Fiction as a genre is full of examples of much more interesting post-apocalyptic tales. McCarthy has much less to offer here - what others have described as 'bleak', I would characterise as 'dull'. Don't get me wrong, it's competently written and the narrator is okay - it's the content that lets it down. So why the prize? Maybe Science Fiction is beneath the dignity of most literary critics, so they have an inadequate frame of reference? Or maybe McCarthy was deemed worthy on the basis of what I believe to be called 'Buggin's round?' Regardless, for a much more intriguing and satisfying post-apocalyptic journey, I reccommend Audible customers to try Margaret Attwood's terrific 'Oryx and Crake'.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.