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)
This story's contrast of devastation and hope is best heard rather than read. McCarthy's style -- trochaic and brutally honest -- is easier to follow in this audio version than in the book. Probably his finest work to date, a life-changing novel.
If I had read this book instead of listening to it, I doubt i would have finished it. Nothing really interesting happened. The characters don't grow. The relationship between the characters doesn't change. No sense of adventure. Never reveals how the world ended up like it is. It is just a story of two people walking on a road.
All that being said, this is my first McCarthy book and I do like how he writes, very poetic. Almost like listening to a song because you like how the artist sounds, not because of what they are saying.
This seems like a beautiful book so far, but sadly I can't really tell since narrator is reading it in a deeply cliched, an old-west B movie style. He's wallowing in his manliness... and the character of the child is sputtering up periodically as a simpering, saccharine caricature of a kid. I just the narrator is trying to impart so much drama into these sparse prose he's actually just ruining it. I'm going to buy a copy of the book and read it in blessed silence.
I did not see what all the other reviewers found so profound. The book was slow and repetative. save yourself 5 hours and only listen to the first hour, you will have a pretty good idea of the rest of the book.
This is book is not for those looking for a plot and action. The dialogue is plodding and dark with little forward motion. I did find, however, that it sticks with you and makes you think. The interact between father and son is sweet and endearing; the setting dark and terrifying with little redemption.
Didn't love it, didn't hate it. I read the whole thing which says something for it.
This book took me by surprise. I went into it with low expectations because it's not the normal kind of book I check out. The writing style is very different, and unique. In many ways the simple, stark tone of the book makes the story that more riveting in that the characters are at a complete loss with their surroundings. No witty retorts or puns, just two people, desperate for survival. Brilliant and well told, this is a finely crafted piece of fiction. The audio presentation is very well done and can keep the listener's attention. Strongly recommended.
Definitely bleak and depressing at times (most of the time), but punctuated by hope and put in stark contrast by a father's love of his son. There were plenty of times I was hesitant to come back to this world. The prose is so detailed I felt like I was there, even when I wish I was more detatched. I'm glad I stuck with it and my mind has continuously wandered back to this story since I listened a month ago. It's tough, but good....really good. What more can I say that hasn't been said except that I went home and gave a huge hug to my kids...and bought some jugs of water just in case.
To say that a post-apocalyptic world would be difficult and dismal doen't seem very innovative. To take this basic concept and stretch it over the period of severla hoursr is excruciating. Perhaps if there had been some more depth regarding the pre-apocalypse nature of the characters, the events leading up to the event, etc. - it could have been bearable. Whatever you do, don't listen to this when you're in a depressive state. Believe me, it only gets worse and worse.
** So if your goal in books is to hear Tom read a story in the style of the depressed robot from "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", this is the gold standard. Half sentances, monotonous, road to nowhere, would be a better title. No story, what story there is is very predictable, right up to the end. It's not worth the 6 hours to get to the end. I made the mistake of hoping for an interesting twist at the end. Nope, never happened, predictable right to the last boring word. **
"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.
"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.
"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
"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'.
"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.
"Great post apocolypse read"
It did what I expected of it
Well described and compelling
He had the required level of somberness
I was moved throughout
"I don't want to go."
"We've got no choice."
"It's gonna be OK. OK?"
If you're up for reading endless variations of that dialogue, with not too much in the way of story, world-building, or characters, go for it! At least the reader puts in a valiant effort with what he was given.
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