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 book went on and on with inane dialog between the two characters, and it never "went" anywhere. I kept hoping for something to happen, but was disappointed all the way through. Dark and depressing.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
The story was very engaging and the narrator was awesome, but what a downer! Seriously. I can't say I really like the story because it was about a boy and his father trying not to starve to death or be eaten by the bad guys in a post-apocaliptic world where the sun does not shine and there are no cities or food or animals. I gave it 3 stars, really 3.5 would have been better because I generally like happier stories, or at least stories that don't make me want to shoot myself after listening to them.
I tried and tried to find the hidden meaning, to discover my "aha" moment and realize what all the hype was over this book. When it ended I still hadn't found it. I was truly disappointed and at times, revolted by this book.
I normally don't comment on books, but this one I could not resist. I thought it would be insightful about the human condition in difficult times. Instead, it was boring. The author just went on and on about uninteresting details regarding walking, cooking, clothing, and weather. Even the reading was bad. I am never getting another Oprah book.
A story, a plot, something, anything. My dog could have conceived a better story. I have had many disappointing books but this one is at the top of the list of wasted time and credit.
There was absolutely no plot to this book; besides "the man" musing about his surroundings there is nothing to this book. If you like the word "okay" then this book is for you. The word okay was used at least 1,000 times; it was in every other line and I kept listening to see if I could figure out what happened to them to no avail. I made it to the end and wanted to pull my hair out.
The narrator was fine with the mindless drivel that he had to work with.
Stay away. I would have given it -0 stars if I could.
Wow. I'm glad I don't live in Cormac McCarthy's mind. What a hellish and frightening place that must be to come up with a story like this! I truly felt like this was "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" meets "Lord of the Flies". I liked the father and son relationship. The narrator did a bang up job of being the boy as well as the father. To say this book is disturbing would be an understatement. Bleak. Beyond bleak with little rays of humanity that peak out every now and then. I'm not sorry I listened to it. But once was definitely enough.
Say something about yourself!
I am always a sucker for an end of the world as we know it survivor story and had such high hopes for this book. I enjoyed some parts of the book like when there were interactions good and bad with other survivors. The part I didn't like was the sappy and way to perfect ending. Just not realistic enough for me. The narrators voice kind of grated on the ole nerves after a while. I didn't care for the slow drawn out tone he had.
I just did not like this book. "The Man", who has no name, tries to protect, "The Boy", who has no name, along "The Road". Although, I don't know who or what he is trying to protect him from. This continues on throughout the whole book. The Road is somewhere in the future after everything has been burned in Armageddon. Everything is covered in ash and they need to find water and food to live. There are really only a few circumstances that another character is even brought into the book. So I don't understand who they are trying to escape from on The Road. This book is just dry and monotonous.
If the story had answered just a few of the 100 questions that the reader would obviously be curious about given the situation the characters are in... AND if the story would have had an ending... literally I went looking for the 2nd book.. there isn't one.
Both - good characters
good characters, good storyline - terrible job of telling the story and ending the book
"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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