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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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  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 05-14-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "ARE YOU CARRYING THE FIRE?"

    EVERYTHING COVERED WITH ASH
    Let me wipe my tears. This is a heart wrenching, moving novel. Decades from now (if we are still here), when they look back and study the period of time when Apocalyptic novels were so popular, they will single this one out as the best. McCormick writes very descriptively, but not overly so. He never mentions Nuclear Winter, but this is as close as you will get. The landscape is a main character. It is always cold, the sun has not been seen in years, ash falls from the sky constantly, their are no animals, no fish, no plants, man is the only thing to survive.
    THE BOY
    If you liked "Room" by Emma Donoghue , you will love this. We are not given an age, but he is probably around eight. He is an innocent. He has never seen the sun. You will fall in love with him.
    THE MAN, also known as Papa
    One of the most caring, patient fathers you will ever meet.
    Tom Stechshulte
    A fantastic narrator which makes this such a moving story with his talent.

    91 of 95 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 05-13-10
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 05-13-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Horribly absorbing"

    Listening to this novel is something of an ordeal: McCarthy has created a disturbingly believable vision of the end of civilization. The post-apocalyptic world that he conjures up must be one of the more chilling and frightening ever invented by a novelist. Often, it's the things he doesn't say, or only hints at, that make your imagination run riot and leave you thinking long afterward. It's an extremely engrossing listen, with a slow, deliberate style that is perfect for long walks.

    This is a superbly-produced audiobook. Tom Stechschulte has the perfect voice for the novel: low, growly and hard-bitten; when he delivers the protagonist's lines you can believe that you're listening to a man who's walked across the wilderness for years, and he balances despair and hope in the man's voice to moving effect. But Stechschulte is also able to differentiate the characters, sounding genuinely young and innocent when performing the boy. McCarthy's often portentous style could have sounded artficial and preachy if done badly, but Stechschulte speaks every word with absolute conviction. It's a powerful acting performance by a true craftsman.

    36 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada 03-25-07
    Steven Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada 03-25-07 Member Since 2001
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    "Spellbinding"

    While it's true this book was, at times, grim, stark, a simple narrative in it's style I did indeed find it spellbinding. Starting slow the story continued to build in it's intensity and desperation and of course, as with all really good stories, I was sad to see it end. I found the narration extremely realistic and believable. I would, however, caution listeners that like a particular genre that this book may not fit into any particular genre or preconceived notion so for sure give the sample a listen prior to purchasing. I have listened to over 250 Audible books and this is the most entertaining book I have heard.

    102 of 110 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles 04-01-07
    Charles 04-01-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Oh my goodness"

    In the world of literature, Cormac McCarthy is a God among men. Unfortunately, his name isn't exactly as popular as it ought to be. Here is a man who lives his life at the pool where we all go to find our words, and yet this last week was the first time I'd ever heard of him and it took considerable searching to find a book by him that I was willing to take a chance on. I'm disappointed (and terribly so) that I haven't read more of his books, but we'll get there, I assure you. The Road, McCarthy's latest book, takes place in a post mass-destruction event (Nuclear War, perhaps? McCarthy never elaborates, and it doesn't seem terribly necessary) era, and it focuses on a father and son who realize as winter is coming on that despite the father's ongoing illness, they have to travel south to the warmer coast, where the "father" (I keep calling him that, because McCarthy never actually names him in the book) hopes to find more food and warmer weather. I know, reading my own description of the book's premise now, that it doesn't <i>sound</i> terribly interesting, but look, I'm begging you. Buy the book. Just buy it. Buy it on audio tape (my personal favorite way to devour a good book. The right narrator can make all the difference, as it does in this book). Look, one knows subconsciously that we've heard every word that will be used in a book before we ever pick it up. It's the mastery of putting those words together in such a way that makes the reader feel as though they've never heard any one of the words, ever, ever before. It is in this sense that McCarthy is such a genius. I was marveling at the fashion in which he used simple phrases like "the boy" and "the man". <i>He's that good</i>. I'd make just about any excuse to listen to the lyrical and beautiful style that Cormac writes in again, and I'm sure I'll do it soon.

    111 of 124 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Kingsburg,, CA, United States 03-21-07
    Lee Kingsburg,, CA, United States 03-21-07
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    "very moving"

    OK, so nothing McCarthy writes is an easy emotional read.

    Road is tough, emotion-filled, desparate, and loving tribute to the love of father and son in the worst of all possible situations: after the end of the world in nuclear winter.

    Father: the man.
    Son: the boy.

    McCarthy never names his two main characters: they are the man and the boy. Even without names few characters in fiction by any writer have as much character and passion.

    Like "road" novels, movies, and stories before, "The Road" is a trek from one place to another filled with dangers encountered or avoided. What sets this apart from the rest is the profound meditation on family and love.

    73 of 82 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Louisville, KY, USA 11-30-09
    Chad Louisville, KY, USA 11-30-09
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    "An unflinching portrait of the apocalypse"

    The prose in this book is almost lyrical. It is so utterly minimalistic that you stop to wonder how so much meaning can be packed into the briefest of phrases. The Road is one of the most depressing books I've ever read, because the picture it paints is so terrifyingly plausible. There are layers upon layers here, which bear repeat readings. The perspective focuses on the fragile but strong relationship between a father and son, and wisely does not venture beyond it. The catastrophe that ended their world is never named or explained, which makes sense: How would survivors of such a calamity even really know what happened without TV, without the buttresses of civilization? Full of haunting imagery that McCarthy presents largely free of opinion and merely lets "be," this book will stay in your head for weeks after you finish it. Required reading for anyone interested in post-apocalyptic ideas, and anyone who ever loved their father. Simply outstanding; this is one of my top five favorite books ever.

    31 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 06-27-11
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 06-27-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Stunning -- if you can take it"

    Perhaps the most unequivocally gloomy novel I've ever read, The Road takes place on a seemingly doomed near-future Earth, in which some unspecified but massive disaster has made the world nearly unlivable. Crops are dead, all traces of law and order are long gone, and what's left of humanity has been reduced to roaming scavengers and bands of cannibals. The novel focuses on a man and his young son, who are making their way across what used to be the United States "towards the south". In what seems to be Cormac McCarthy's style, we learn little about their backstories -- only their struggle to keep going through a hellish, benighted world that could only be described by his stark, weighty prose. Indeed, McCarthy's complex, sometimes arcane descriptive language seems to reference other dark, visionary works in English literature, drawing in some of their power.

    There's not a lot of "plot" to the book. Mostly, the two characters wander, just trying to find enough water, food, and shelter to get through the next day. Even during the stretches where nothing "happens", McCarthy gives each moment a palpable weight: the exhaustion, the fear, the tension of not knowing what's around the next corner, the emptiness of a dead world, the lure of an escape by suicide, and a father's desperate bond with his son, who is young enough to not fully understand the meaning of the reality around him. And there are some truly harrowing scenes, as well.

    This isn't the easiest novel to take in, though, like McCarthy's Blood Meridian, I also found it mesmerizing and hard to put down. There are even strange moments of beauty in the shadow. Like few works in apocalyptic literature, The Road goes all the way to the edge of abyss, extinguishing hope down to the tiniest flickering flame. Yet, as long as that flame remains, there is no looking away. A powerful book, and one that might make you gaze into your own soul.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Mobile Commerce 04-04-07 Member Since 2015
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    "Father and Son"

    I have listened to nearly 200 books. This book is as good as Memories of Running, The Kite Runner, and the Life of Pi. I have two sons, and this book perfectly captures the powerful connection between father and son. The writing is terse and gripping. If your lip doesn't start to quiver at the end of the book, you are made of stone.

    You won't regret using a credit on this book.

    46 of 55 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 03-11-16
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 03-11-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Not very good"

    I was sorely disappointed in "The Road". I have read other Cormac McCarthy books and liked them. However "The Road" is not enjoyable. It is not a good read and it is not a good story.

    It was boring and pointless. I listened to the whole book waiting for some payoff but it never came, which, I should have expected as the entire book was just a rambling dialogue.

    Some people love this book but I did not find anything in it redeeming.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 03-08-14
    David Houston, TX, United States 03-08-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Very sad. Breathtakingly well written."

    I usually do not write reviews of audible books which have already been very well reviewed by other listeners and/or when the press clips are insightful and accurate. I am making an exception with The Road because it occurs to me that there may be some listeners who will read this who might otherwise have missed this book. So I encourage you to check out the lead reviews. No use repeating.

    I would only add two things. First, many reviewers suggest that the center of this book is a meditation on the love between father and son which McCarthy brings to aching life for us. I think the real core of this book is about even deeper matters. If you have no reasonable hope for the future, why continue? This is not a question which is only faced by wanderers on a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape. Why take the next step? Which may, of course, bring us back to the aforementioned love.

    Second, it seemed to me that the author copped out a little in the last five minutes. I will not elaborate, not wanting to risk spoilers. In any event, I am more than willing to forgive him and still stand in awed respect for this extraordinary piece of writing. It is as good as all those excellent reviews suggest. It is also the only book I can remember ever reading which authentically frightened me. Perhaps that is because my first grandchild is on the way.

    23 of 29 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    3/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wonderfully bleak vision of a devastated world"

    wonderful book, saw the film first and wanted to hear that world lifted off the page, beautiful characters, hope and loss in equal measures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eric
    12/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Want to be utterly depressed? Read this book."

    Wow. I thought I was feeling down before starting this book. By the end I want to curl up into the foetus position in bed and cry.
    The story is good and it's narrated really well but the events and what happens throughout just make you want to weep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. J. Johnson
    UK
    11/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "poor payoff for the time"

    Many of the reviews comment on the bleakness of the story, which it is bleak. The story signposts the ending from the off. There are few surprises. The dialogue between characters is sparse with little variety. By the end I was fed up with hearing the boy say "OK" and "I'm scared". I didn't find myself caring about their fate as they just weren't believable as survivors. It doesn't stand out as anything special in apocalyptic literature. No twist or significant message to deliver.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Erin Garvey
    United Kingdom
    9/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Achingly raw and beautiful"

    This is a beautifully written and performed story. It stays with you long after it has ended, and pulls at every fibre of your being.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James N
    9/25/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story but could of been shorter."
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    There were many times during this read I thought "get on with it" the ending becomes obvious about 2/3's into the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sarah
    9/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "nice read defo recommend"

    if you are looking for action this is not the book for you as it is a gentle read but a good read. focus on one man and his son amd their desolate journey. good book. upset with ending as I was desperate to know what happened. but that makes a Good ending I guess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    9/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The road by Cormac McCarthy"

    Very good enjoyed the audible version much more than I enjoyed the film even tho I though the film was very good .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Roshan
    7/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow burner, though gripping throughout"

    Great listen on the tube....powerfully woven tale on a father son partnership amidst a post apocalyptic event

    Recommended for anyone looking for a powerful read, slow but builds to grip the reader!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    5/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The future is... grey"

    Whilst the story never actually tells you exactly what happened it's clear from early on that a nuclear war of sorts has devastated the world and covered it with ash. It's always cold and grey as we follow a man and his son heading south on a road - fighting to survive the conditions, the lack of food and the other survivors.

    The story starts grey and soon gets darker - the 'happy' moments of having food, fire and shelter are few and far between. The man's will to survive and protect his son is gut wrenching and being a father myself it caused moments of - 'what the hell would I do here!'.

    The performance by Tom Stechschulte is good - although I suspect a more 'colourful' book could bring out more from him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ReadingFan
    Swinford , Eire
    4/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Typically excellent fair from Mr Mccarthy "

    Very dark story of parents struggle raising a child in difficult environment. It's gripping story yet very bare and stripped down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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