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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

4.0 (5902 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Braulio RaleighMexico 06-15-09
    Braulio RaleighMexico 06-15-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Overall
    "Ash and more ash"

    I found the book very annoying. Kept using the same words over and over again.....Ash, boy, road, OK. Just found it irritating.

    2 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorie Haverhill, MA, USA 10-31-08
    Lorie Haverhill, MA, USA 10-31-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    121
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "No plot"

    Depressing, depressing and depressing. No plot.

    2 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert van Nostrand Halifax, NS, Canada 11-03-08
    Robert van Nostrand Halifax, NS, Canada 11-03-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
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    53
    13
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    0
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    Overall
    "Odd but interesting premise"

    I found the premise of this story to be interesting, but the delivery a little monotonous.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Fox Island, WA, United States 12-23-07
    Ron Fox Island, WA, United States 12-23-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    66
    8
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Very well written - excellent book!

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Eden 04-07-13 Member Since 2011

    honeybeeMMM

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for me"
    What disappointed you about The Road?

    Terribly depressing. I can recognize the beauty here and I am a fan of McCarthy's, but I could not get behind The Road.


    What was most disappointing about Cormac McCarthy’s story?

    See above


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Tom Stechschulte?

    I don't know


    What character would you cut from The Road?

    None


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher san jose, CA, USA 04-10-10
    Christopher san jose, CA, USA 04-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    192
    4
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    0
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    Overall
    "Very Sad"

    One of my friends with an English degree recommended this as a good read. I choose to stay away from books that depress me. This is a bad book to read if you have children. The fact that it tapped into my emotions so completely means it was well written... but it is a simple and sad book dealing strictly with man vs man vs nature. The speech is simple the concept simple and the torture serious and believable. If you want a depressing sad story with no hope... this is your book. If you have no children and don't have someone relying on you for life you may enjoy it. I did not. I only finished it because I hoped the ending would redeem it. It did not.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Seattle, WA, United States 09-02-08
    Stephen Seattle, WA, United States 09-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
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    Overall
    "The Road"

    What a dull book! How it prattles on about two people apparently without names, about whom we care nothing, going somewhere we know not, and do nothing when they get there! And the two charactors repeat each others words constantly - did the author get paid by the word? "But I don't want to." "I know you don't want to, but you must." "I must?" "Yes, you must." "Okay, if I must." "You must." Lord have mercy! YUCK!

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl Toronto, ON, Canada 05-19-08
    Carl Toronto, ON, Canada 05-19-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "poor listening"

    May be better for reading than listening. The repetitive sparse communication between the man and his son is grating as well as the constant need for voice modulation to speak on behalf of the son. Bringing the story to a conclusion was inevitably problematic and the author choose a Hollywood ending.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle Valley Springs, CA, USA 04-02-08
    Gayle Valley Springs, CA, USA 04-02-08 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Sorry I read this"

    This was a well written interesting book, but so very very dark I am very very sorry I read it. I am having flashbacks. I could be suffering from post traumatic stress sydrome from it. I don't recommend it.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Will Denver, CO, USA 01-19-08
    Will Denver, CO, USA 01-19-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "The very long road!"

    How many times can you say it is cold and we are hungry? This books spends a lot of time saying just that. The end of the story is not consistant with the novel.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 441-450 of 465 results PREVIOUS144454647NEXT
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  • Baladobabe
    Scotland
    7/18/08
    Overall
    "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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • little bobs mum and dad
    8/23/11
    Overall
    "Heartbreaking"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Graeme
    Leigh-on-Sea, United Kingdom
    11/1/10
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Stamford, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
    9/20/09
    Overall
    "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.
    Superb!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Gregory
    Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
    5/23/08
    Overall
    "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

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Tim
    leighton buzzard, BDF, United Kingdom
    10/17/07
    Overall
    "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'.

    22 of 32 people found this review helpful
  • Ian Garstang
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So Desolate, So Miserable, But So Good!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Road the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great story, short running time and engaging characters.


    Have you listened to any of Tom Stechschulte’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No, but I will be looking at his other books


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Pretty much!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    BathUnited Kingdom
    2/19/10
    Overall
    "Excellent adaptation"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • DaPortas
    South Wales
    10/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't read this to cheer yourself up !! :-("
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes.Always worth trying new stuff that's well written, even if it's not your usual cup of tea.And make no mistake, this is well written, especially the sparse dialogue.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Enjoyed piecing together the back story of 'what in the worlds happened'.Got a bit fed up of dour descriptions of desolate roadscapes and the like.


    What three words best describe Tom Stechschulte’s voice?

    Dour. Warm. Male......


    Was The Road worth the listening time?

    Yep, I think so overall, even though it's not my fave genre.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a perky book. Unperky. And I mean it.Next one I picked had a deliberate dash of comedy to it.... :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ben
    Leamside, United Kingdom
    9/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Narration!"
    Where does The Road rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is an excellent book, and quite possibly the best narration that I have encountered. I have churned my way through a hundred or more audiobooks; been at them for years. So often I find that I enjoy a book despite the narrator, not because of them. He sounds genuinly worldweary and his voice and performance adds a lot to the book. I think in just reading the text I would be missing something. Don't know how they got the autenticity in his performance, maybe they left him out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a trolley and a couple of cans of peaches and some plastic.

    Not often I can be bothered to log on and do a review, but this is well worth a listen, even if you have already read the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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