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The Road | [Cormac McCarthy]

The Road

America 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007

America 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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Woodrina Charlotte, Nc, United States 05-28-11
    Woodrina Charlotte, Nc, United States 05-28-11
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    "Reader Tone"

    Im pretty sure if I would have read the paperback version of "The Road", I would have been drawn more into the story. The narrator was way off in determining how the father should sound, which by the way sounded like he was going for the cowboy approach and the voice of the boy sounded like a bad rendition of Michael Jackson, that totally through me off. It also reminded me of how important it is to not let go of "old fashioned reading" laying in my bed and being lifted up into story world with my own rendition of how the characters looked and sound.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miranda Christnach, Luxembourg 05-22-11
    Miranda Christnach, Luxembourg 05-22-11
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    "What if this really happened...?"

    Usually books with a simple plot or where nothing happens can easily be boring. Not this one. Its strength lies in the ties between father and son, in the desperation of staying alive, of asking yourself scary 'what if' questions. It grips you, especially if you are a parent and start to imagine what could happen, how you would react as a parent. It poses the question whether life is better at all cost. It shows the wisdom of a child and the guilt and love and hopelessness of a parent.
    It's just simply brilliant and makes you cry.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew McLean, VA, United States 05-15-11
    Matthew McLean, VA, United States 05-15-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Poor Dialog, Not Much Plot Development"

    "The Road" follows the journey of a man and his boy walking through a post-apocalyptic America in constant search of food and shelter. While they do face some interesting ordeals along the way, the only developments happen within these limited episodes and are soon forgotten. The characters never seem to evolve, and always end up in the exact same situation they were in the day before.

    Much of the book is dialog between the father and son, and (perhaps because the son is young) is very limited. I can't count the number of times I heard one of these: "okay", "alright", "I'm sorry", "I'm scared". While these can be used smartly to convey deeper meaning, there's a limit to how far that will go.

    The narration combines with this repetitive dreary dialog to make a very dull and repetitive listen.

    I understand that this book is trying to have a sad tone, and many of the things that bothered me about it might be considered its strengths by people who enjoyed the book. It's possible that I just don't "get" this book. Unless you know that you are a fan of Cormac McCarthy's writing style, I would take this review to be a warning to seriously consider if it's the kind of book you would enjoy before purchasing.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Albert 05-13-11
    Albert 05-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pointless"

    I have read the book and I have seen the movie. Being a lifelong lover of literature of all genres and a teacher of literature as well, I can see art in most work. I looked, but I could not find it here. Yes, it's grim, dark, monochromatic and all the other adjectives that people have use to describe it. However, there's not much more to it than that. True, I'm not the one handing out the awards (fortunately for Mr. McCarthy), but this is my opinion: it's a lot of to do about nothing. I know some of you will be astounded that I didn't love it as, apparently, I had to. I was just as astounded by the number of people who found it compelling and spellbinding. To each his own. It was read well.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Irvine, CA, United States 03-20-11
    Sean Irvine, CA, United States 03-20-11
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    "You'll start cheering for the bad guys"

    God awful, painful to listen to, and it goes nowhere (much like the characters in the book). I was dumbfounded when I heard this was going to be a movie. Like Seinfeld, it's a story about nothing...we don't know what happened, what is going on, or what happens when they get there. The kid is annoying, and the dad's constant "it's okay" response is overplayed. I actually liked the description of this book too, it seemed promising.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dietmar Wuerzburg, Germany 08-09-10
    Dietmar Wuerzburg, Germany 08-09-10 Member Since 2009
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    "One wasted credit"

    the story drags itself througt the same motive "it is dark and cold ..." in endless loops in a very weak string of events.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Fairmont, WV, USA 03-27-10
    Joshua Fairmont, WV, USA 03-27-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Great middle, where's the begining and end?"

    Four stars for the power that this book had to keep you on edge and the powerful emotion responses that it elicited I thought Stechulte did an excellent job reading. However I really wanted more from this book. I felt like I came in in the middle and was left with no ending. I would love to see a prequel & sequel.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harold Chelsea, Morocco 01-18-10
    Harold Chelsea, Morocco 01-18-10
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    "Unreal"

    There were stretches of this book where I forgot to breathe. Mesmerizing....

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Hemingway 12-30-09
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    "The Road (less traveled)"

    An excellent read! Would you expect less from McCarthy? Of course, as you WOULD expect given the subject matter, the story is a little dark (not light and airy as, oh say, "No Country For Old Men" ~grin~). Can't wait for the next title, Mr. McCarthy. Keep 'em coming!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Kirtland, OH, USA 01-28-09
    Dawn Kirtland, OH, USA 01-28-09
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    "The Road"

    The story line was interesting. It had a good plot but I did not like how the story ended. I did not like the audible of the boy in the story.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
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