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)
I was so excited for this to be a great book, it's best selling, reviewed well, and has a compelling hook of a story. But I just felt bored, bored, bored. I got so sick of the "boy" saying he was scared and asking if they were gonna die, I mean that was pretty much the extent of the dialouge. Also, the narrator had this drawl, a very slow way of talking, that just added to my boredom. I wouldn't say this was a bad book, just, you guessed it, boring.
In the style of Hemingway; McCormack uses short unvarnished sentences to develop a warm deep love between father and son. As a father of three this story got to my heart.
I don't understand why everyone raves so much about this book. From a literary standpoint, it is a good book, but not a great book. There're extremely well written books out there that never received attention nor fame anywhere close to this book. Books that are really well written, but not written to impress, touch or induce tears.
This is a good book and that's about it. Did it deserve the Pulitzer prize? I don't know. It's a lot like president Obama receiving the Nobel prize for peace. Sure, he's done some good things already, but did the deserve the Nobel prize for that?
I'm a father of a little boy and this book did appeal to me in that way. But I love reading books that are WELL WRITTEN, not the books that appeal to me personally.
This book was about as a depressing of a book you could possibly read. It is not entertaining or even thought provoking. If you want to read a book where you feel sorry for the world then this is your book. There are no solutions no great ideas, just pity on top of pity.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I've listened to quite a few post-apocalyptic novels in the 3 years I've been subscribed to Audible. For some reason, they impact me more when narrated than when I've read them myself.
The Road is an awful but most likely the best of the genre. Of course,McCarthy is more of a poet than a fiction writer, so it's understandable why the story can be both awful and wonderful-both enlightening and depressing.
Tom Stechschulte was the perfect narrator for this book. He reads both the poetry and austere verbiage that McCarthy has written with meaning. He makes the dads patience-which is amazing-so realistic and details the child fears. There is a great deal of "I'm afraid" and "I know".."I'm really afraid", "I know" what can a dad say..the father doesn't give platitudes to the child..no "Everything will be fine" because the world is different and neither knows how everything will really be.
Since my family is a strong believer in being prepared, we all have Bug-out-bags (aka Bail out backpacks) where everyone has a weeks worth of food, water, clean socks, cooking implements etc. I have a sealed box of seeds specifically made up to sustain a family and as a master gardener, feel well prepared to turn my flower garden into a truck farm.
But then what..what happens years later-and what if, as is detailed in this book, the world is sterile? If nothing will grow and there is a limited amount of canned food available..what then? If there are no more animals to hunt-except human beings-than that what gets hunted-part of the more grisly part of the novel.
McCarthys 'dad' and 'son' both became alive to me, while their goal (go to the coast and go south) was understandable, the why was never answered..it is a just because. McCarthy takes the small family to the brink of starvation several times, but them something miraculous happens and they find food...Morel mushrooms in a dead rhodie hell thicket, a stash left by someone else and so on.
You never learn the names of the protagonists..actually the only name in the book was that of Eli, the 90 year old blind guy treking along by himself one night. Everyone else is the man, the child, the woman.
This is a deep and enlightening book along with being depressing and gloomy.
Does make one wonder exactly what she would do years after an occasion like this.
Buy it-it's worth the credit. But also buy "I Am Malala" to cheer you up afterward.
ONCE AGAIN A GREAT BOOK FROM COMAC McCARTHY. SUPERBLY WRITTEN, SUPPORTED BY GREAT NARRATION.
IN REAL TERMS THE READER FEELS HE TOO IS ON "THE ROAD". ALTHOUGH THE CHARACTERS ARE FEW THIS BOOK IS RICH IN DIALOGUE THE PRINCIPLE CHARACTERS ARE STRONG . THE SITUATIONS ENCOUNTERED ARE WELL SCOPED.
IN SHORT EXCELLENT. DESERVING OF A FIVE STAR RATING.
Tell us about yourself!
After the end of civilization, a man and his young son are traveling to the coast. They are the self proclaimed "good guys" carrying the flame. "Bad guys" are all around and a lot of bad things are happening around them. The simplistic black and white good guy view of the young boy meets the survival good guy view of the father whose love for his son drives him onward.
This story doesn't deal with names, places, or how it all happened. It is about the journey of the father and son trying to skirt around all confrontations and get to their destination. I found parts of myself in the father during the journey and towards the end of the book saw myself looking at my father through the eyes of the boy.
Tom Stechschulte did an excellent job bringing life to the audio production.
Simply told, in black and white. You never know their names - that doesn't matter. You never know their destination - that doesn't matter. What does matter, are the gifts of courage this father leaves with his son - on The Road.
This is my first sample of Cormac McCarthy and it leaves me hungry, no ravenous for more. Survival in a post-apocalyptic world becomes the medium through which McCarthy touches the fears and wounds we certainly bear as we raise our children in a less challenging but far more complex world.
Tom Stechschulte's lyrical voice flows easily from a rumbling Midwestern texture up to a clear, clean, pre-adolescent boy and back to rumble. I've treasured the experience of listening to quite a few of Stechschulte's narrations, and I have yet to be disappointed.
I like history and biography, novels too. I do have a thing for zombie books as well. I need crappy thrillers now and then.
Great reading. Stechschulte handles the terse dialogue well enough, and the rest of the narrative brilliantly. This is a quiet book, with simple stripped language, very rhythmic, and it's a deeply sad book. But it's also an episodic adventure story, and it's hard to stop 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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