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)
The story is "cold", "grey", and full of "ash", but it is a story of perseverence. In a situation with little to no hope, you find yourself asking the characters why they are continuing. But if you are a parent (or an eternal optimist), you will understand. Despite little knowledge about the situation leading up to the story, you find yourself engrossed in an apocolyptic time that is believeable and convincing. The ending was a bit disappointing to me. If you are interested in this story, may I recommend "A Brief History of the Dead". Enjoy!
Tom Stechschulte, the narrator of this book, proves himself to be the best interpreter of McCarthy's prose. Reading McCarthy's texts can be difficult at times, which make his achievement all the more impressive. This book isn't for everyone -- McCarthy's bleak view of human nature has NO resolution or happy endings. But, it's an impressive work and will rank high in the canon of "Doomsday" literature.
The book itself is as beautifully spare and desolate as the landscape it describes. The text is relentless, and sets the tone for their slow march to the sea.
The narrator did a superb job giving voice to the characters, and I am even more impressed with him now that I have heard him read No Country for Old Men, which shows off his range even better.
The style of storytelling was grey and bleak which built on the feeling of what the story was telling. I was disturbed by that sense of hopelessness; and at the same time, was totally drawn into the character's personality. It was fascinating to me to have an entire book be both intriguing and repulsive.
I was immediately drawn in by the father/son relationship which covers so many emotions that every adult who loves a child experiences. I was drawn in, too, by the need to return (how the characters are forced to return) to the basics of finding water, food, clothing, safety, and shelter on a daily basis--a need initiated by trauma (a country now unrecognizable) and also, I think, from the specter of possibly dying before one's time. Perhaps, too, this return to basics is found among some elderly, some who live to be very old. Again, most of all, it's the father/son relationship that evokes so much for me--love, joy, fear, hope, hopelessness, terror, horror, all that is found in an adult's heart when he/she worries about a young one.
This book did not grab me at first...never did in fact. Did I like the book? No! Am I glad I listened to it? Yes! Another reviewer commented that the ending did not fit with the rest of the book. I think it did because when God closes one door, he opens another or maybe a window. There is hope because of what the Boy was taught by the Man and what the Boy actually learned from the Man. What changes does the Boy take with him down the next few miles of "The Road"?
I agree with other reviewers that this book is well written and I was mesmerized. I think I wish I had not read it.
Too much horror
Too much pain
Too much truth
To say I love this book is a bit of an understatement.
It has touched me personally, haunted me really and not in a negative way.
I'm sure I'm not the only parent who has been touched by the simple beauty of the parent\child relationship that 'The Road' highlights. Maybe the sparse speech, the unnamed 'papa' and 'boy' allow the reader to easily slot themselves into those roles and makes the relationship so real.
Yes it describes a harrowing, bleak and absolutely horrific nightmare world no one wants to see. But it also wells in ones heart incredible feelings of hope and love for ones own flesh and blood that is hard to put into words.
I don't mean to be a fanboy as I do see how one would find McCarthy's writing style confusing and hard to follow maybe more so as a read and less as a listen. I did listen to 'The Road' first then read it. Perhaps my experience wouldn't have been so strong if it was reversed, the narration I feel is that good. Having said that I've read the book twice now and have become a huge Cormac McCarthy fan reading most of his other works in quick succession after listening to this audiobook.
"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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