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The Road Audiobook

The Road

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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

4.2 (11453 )
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4.4 (7598 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 10-16-14
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 10-16-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Bleak"
    Any additional comments?

    A bleak post-apocalyptic story, about a man and his son, in a land where there is almost no food and most animals are extinct. I actually saw the movie first, but the book is of course much better. I did enjoy this book, but don't read it if you are looking for a happy story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 10-12-14
    Calliope 10-12-14
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    "4 stars for style, 3 for content"

    I like post-apocalyptic stories, and I've read some great ones (Day of the Triffids and Alas, Babylon are standouts), but, alas, this is not one of the great ones. And Audible doesn't have a way to distinguish "writing style" and "story content", so I decided to give a 4 all 'round, but really it's for the sparse and emotional style more than the content itself. The content has unrealistic happenings and holes you could drive a bus through, though I was happy, while reading, to suspend my disbelief - the style and emotion (and narration) was that good.

    I loved the incredibly realistic, but repetitive, dialogues with The Boy -- his unhelpful, repeated responses of "OK" and repeated declarations his needs ("But I'm hungry" or "I'm really scared") are just like a small boy would make, and bring a realistic touch to an unbelievable landscape. The landscape is unbelievable - stark, cold, gray, empty - and the entire book is shadowed with those emotions. The Boy is both the Man's conscience and hope in an unforgiving world of those few who are desperate to survive, and the Man is the Boy's father -- which means he is the Boy's everything when there are no other people for days and months on end.

    The resolution is abrupt and undeveloped, popping up without warning and not any better because it is a positive ending on a depressing story. Good narration, good emotions, good dialogue, good narration, but only fair in terms of actual plot and storyline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rod 10-01-14
    Rod 10-01-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Stunning, deeply disturbing and beautiful"
    What made the experience of listening to The Road the most enjoyable?

    Tom Stechschulte provides a wonderful performance. The characters rumble life with every dip and roll of his voice. Somewhere in there, humanity and kindness emerge from his inflection. An antidote to Cormac McCarthy's terrible vision. The poetry mixed with prose was so amazing, I bought a dog eared copy and I read more than I listened.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LouBird Arlington, VA USA 09-11-14
    LouBird Arlington, VA USA 09-11-14 Member Since 2006
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    "A little disappointed"

    Well written but rather depressing. "Alas, Babylon" was a much more captivating portrayal of survivors post world devastation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 09-04-14
    Diane 09-04-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Deeply moving"

    I just finished my first book by Cormac McCarthy. The Road is about a father and son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Rich, understated language, moving without being maudlin. I really liked it and was sad to finish it. The narrator gave a delivery which was strangely soothing, as he matter-of-factly described a world which had become terrible and horrific. The lasting impression I have is one being uplifted, heartened by the courage, endurance and unfailing love generated by the human spirit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bluejack Seattle, WA 08-20-14
    Bluejack Seattle, WA 08-20-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Disappointing rendition"
    Would you try another book from Cormac McCarthy and/or Tom Stechschulte?

    I love Cormac McCarthy and would be happy to listen to any other works that have a different narrator.


    What other book might you compare The Road to and why?

    It's a richly literary, post-apocalyptic work. There aren't many that fit both criteria.


    What didn’t you like about Tom Stechschulte’s performance?

    His pronunciation of various words often threw me out of the stream. His character voices and inflections were actively annoying.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a beautiful and brilliant book, but the audiobook does not do it justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis 08-11-14
    Travis 08-11-14 Member Since 2015
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    "A Human Perspective of a Post-Apocalyptic World"

    Far too often post-apocalyptic stories try to be sweeping in their scope and miss out on what people would actually go through in that kind of a situation. Those stories can be extremely entertaining, King's "The Stand", comes to mind as a great example of how to do a sweeping narrative about a post-apocalyptic world. "The Road", on the other hand, focuses on one dad's crusade to keep "the flame" alive in his son.

    Often gut wrenching, this book immerses the reader in the lives of a dad and his son as they try to make a life in a world that tries to curb-stomp life at every turn. Who do you trust? Where will you find your next morsel to eat? Is life even worth living?

    Tom Stechschulte deftly brings this Cormac McCarthy story home. Tom's performance highlights the hope that relentlessly tries to shine through the son and father.

    Cormac McCarthy is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and if you are looking for stories that bring light through the darkest of situations then you should definitely give his works a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-20-14
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-20-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Chilling, yet Touching"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes: It is one of the post apocalyptic stories, which actually features humanity over violence and gore. Yes there is ample conflict in the story but in the main, it deals with adjustments in the lives of the characters, which gives one a feel for what could be.
    Worthy as an audio-book. The movie is just as good.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The son; because he retains his youth despite crushing influences, which could have destroyed or jaded him to life. He exhibits a healthy balance from the influence from his mother, while he learns the hard life of being a man in an unforgiving world laden with challenges and surprises.


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

    No; don't know.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Road and why?

    Same as "favorite character" and same reasons.


    Any additional comments?

    Well done. I will read more from this author, without a doubt

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 06-07-14
    Pamela 06-07-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Not generally fan of Dystopian novels but..."

    I really loved this book, though. The setting is very dark and dangerous but it is leveraged to paint a picture of a father who deeply loves his son and wants badly for him to have a future in a world where there can't be any. The book is emotionally rich, well written and gripping. I loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jensen 04-12-14
    Jensen 04-12-14
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    "Highly overrated"
    Would you try another book from Cormac McCarthy and/or Tom Stechschulte?

    No to Cormac McCarthy
    Yes to Tom Stechschulte


    What could Cormac McCarthy have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Not written it I guess


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Despite the lack of grammar, quite good narration, I'm impressed


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Mostly WTF?


    Any additional comments?

    A world like this is not possible, without insects and flowers/trees, the world would be empty of all life in 2 years, ALL LIFE

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • GC
    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.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • SKA
    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!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Ellepeapatz
    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.

    24 of 25 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.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Miss Joanna Franklin
    8/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heartbreaking and amazing"

    Seriously heartbreaking. What a story. Great direction and narration too! The voices were really well done :)

    5 of 5 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!


    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

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    8/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent & BLEAK! Loved it!"
    Would you listen to The Road again? Why?

    No, would like to read it for myself as the narrator's style took a long time to get used to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Road?

    The ending and the way McCarthy delivered dialogue.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Tom Stechschulte?

    Not sure, probably not, unless he adapted his style based on the book / director.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Bleak, stark, honest and tantalising!


    3 of 3 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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • D Roche
    1/17/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling"

    Wonderfully written, incredibly descriptive, emotionally compelling, as a male in his mid-40s I am not easily drawn into the emotional side of characters, this book made me feel I was living the man's journey and his love for his child.
    This book is the first to bring me to tears since Watership Down over 35 yrs ago!
    Highly Recommended

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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