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)
Bleak Sublime Prose
The last paragraph of the book is so beautiful and haunting, as are all the recollections of a beautiful world unappreciated until it is gone.
His clear characterizations of the various characters add to the storytelling.
If parts of this book do not move you to tears, then perhaps your heart is made of stone? Complex it is disgusting and beautiful.
This is a powerfully moving story of bleak sadness but the main characters evoke empathy in a world of death and cruelty. It is an existential meditation on life, even a life that no one would want, but that we may ourselves create in our lack of appreciation of this beautiful living world.
This is not a happy book. It's written so concisely that you don't even know the characters' names. That's OK. It adds to the dreary, hopelessness of the situation. If you can take the sad subject matter, it's a good read.
A very raw moment when a child sees something no person ever should
too many to mention
Excellent book - had a few concerns about teh performance at teh beginning but thoroughly excellent performance!
It was much darker than I expected -- and it just seemed to go on and on.
Performance was fine.
Couldn't finish it
Story was drawn out and the dialog was... not really enough to be called dialog.
I couldn't wait for it to end...
Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.
As I started this book, I immediately felt the sense that I was rereading The Gunslinger and that wasn't such a good thing since I did not particularly enjoy that book. As the book progressed, however, I settled into McCarthy's sparse prose. His story is simple but quite compelling and the setting is truly the protagonist of this book. The post-devastation wasteland is horrific and fundamental questions of quality of life, human existance, spirituality float in and out of the dialogue between father and son that is central to the book. I had so many questions that were left unanswered like HOW? WHY? WHEN? WHO? WHERE? But then it was clear that none of this really mattered to the characters - only survival and keeping on keeping on down the road were what mattered.
I did not enjoy this book. In my opinion it had no direction or purpose. From the beginning it just shove you into the story without explanation of why, where, or what. It slowly divulges details, but it was totally uninteresting to listen to. The narrators voice was perfect for the book, but I still could not finish it.
I saw a few reviews of this book that dismissed it as "too literary," but those folks miss the point. Purely on its value as a story, driven by two distinct characters -- a boy and his father -- this is a tight, gripping and engaging story. It was actually a book I wanted to read but didn't want to read because I knew, without knowing anything, that the ending would be hard. And it was a hard ending, but it was true.
I also have a great admiration for Mr. McCarthy for his sparse writing style. Every word is precise and filled with meaning and story. This could only have been created with constant writing, rewriting and whittling down to the barest of essentials. The narrator also did a great job, which is important...a lousy narration could have destroyed this.
It's worth a credit, and even if you're more of a genre fan, you'll enjoy this.
I really enjoyed McCarthy's descriptions of everything. He incorporates so much detail into his writing that it makes the listener/reader feel as if he or she was there at that moment.
I liked the interaction between the father and son, especially the father because of the gentle way he brings a calm to every situation. He's very patient, and embodies what I feel a father should be.
Stechschulte's ability to vocalize many different characters made the book really easy to follow. He does a great job with this in No Country For Old Men as well! He's just an excellent narrator, plain and simple.
The Road to Nowhere!
Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' is a stark, voyage through an imagined, desolate, future American landscape -- the dialogur between the two surviviors; a father and his young son, is terse and gripping - McCarthy's descriptions of the desecrated landscape are rivieting - through it all, one can almost sense and smell the fear. A compelling story from beginning to end - Tom Stechschulte's narration is sympatentic and expert -- well worth the listening...
"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'.
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