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 is the first time I have taken the time to write a review of something I have read. I found myself at once obsessed and horrified by The Road. I generally like to read "happy" books, but chose the Road because of the reviews I had read and I had always wanted to read something written by Mr. McCarthy. I could not put it down! I was entranced by the beauty and depth of McCarthy's writing, but always horrified by the pictures he painted in my mind. It is a brilliant work on so many levels. Reading this has encouraged to try something else the author has written. I haven't stopped thinking of it since I finished it. Incredible! P.S. the narrator of the audible edition is brilliant, too!
An irritation: despite it’s apparent attempt to be brutally realistic, The Road’s apocalyptic situation is totally implausible. Any catastrophe that wipes out all plant and animal life on Earth will not spare human beings. The cockroaches and fungi will die after us, not before. This is one of those instances where a literary writer has chosen to step into the territory of science fiction, but refuses to play by the rules of science fiction, which include consistency with the current state of scientific knowledge.
Despite this irritation and others (such as its repetitiveness and sometimes overblown language), The Road addresses a theme that is admirable in its seriousness and ambition: Given the reality of death, what is the relationship between one generation and the next? The thing that gives our lives meaning is survival not for ourselves only but for our childen and their children and all the children of humanity in the future. This is the essence of goodness, and holds despite the fact that there is no God in the sense meant by true believers. It holds even if the odds of the human race surviving it’s murderous adolescence are slim to none. Moreover, in the absence of an objective God, there may be a subjective God that we almost inevitably create both as we generalize our feelings towards the survival of future generations, and as we look back at the generations that came before us. The Road is a myth about how humans cope with living in the real existential story: we are individuals who die, and we are members of a species that is also mortal.
This book is extremely dark, but its message is that there is hope even in a land where sun doesn't shine and nothing grows. The book is packed with detailed narrative and repetitive prose depicting mostly the desperation of a father and a son on a journey to the edge of the human existence.
All in all, the book is the work of a superb writer with a brilliant imagination.
Bonus: The narrator has a soothing voice that makes the reading an excellent experience.
I seldom take the time to write reviews for the books I've read or listened to. I mean, who am I, that you should value my opinion about something as individual as a book? I find myself making an exception in the case of The Road, however, simply becaused I loved this book so much I felt I had to share it with someone.
I found this novel to be frightening, moving, realistic, sad, hopeful... I experienced a whole gamut of emotions as I listened to it. I whipped through it in record time because I couldn't bear to turn it off. It's a story that will stay with me for a long time, and I've already purchased hard copies for a couple of non-audio friends. It's one of the very few audio books I plan to re-read in hard copy & keep for my book shelf (this, after 200+ audio books & four years of Audible membership).
It's beautifully written and well narrated. This short listen is definitely worth your time.
This book kept me interested throughout. It certainly had me rooting for the little boy and his dad. Best book I have listened to since Water for the Elephants.
I don't know why I kept listening to this book. It has no plot and is depressing. The author can certainly write a good description, but nothing really happens in the book. Why bother.
If you want to listen to whining child for hours on end, this is the book for you. I can sum up the first 2hrs, after that I stuck a fork in my ear to end the pain. Poppa I'm scared, it's ok, Pappa I'm hungry, it's ok. Pappa this pappa that, it's ok it's ok (truth is it's not ok). Unfathomable how anyone gave this a good rating. Maybe it get's better later, couldn't get worse. Gotta give anyone who listened to the whole thing credit for their perserverance.
I cannot say I loved this post-apocalyptic novel, it's too bleak and sad. I downloaded it because of McCarthy's reputation as a great story-teller & it's worth listening to just for the sheer experience of his skill as an author. However, the narrator over-dramatised the father and his son, reading emotions into the story I felt weren't there, and therefore making both characters unlikable. I could not separate the reading from the story. I believe the reading of the story should be almost invisible so one can lose oneself in the story. That never happened. Not for one minute did I feel captured within the story because of the way it was read.
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