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The Road

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13,509 ratings)
Regular price: $20.99
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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.

©2006 M-71, Ltd. (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    6,803
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    3,955
  • 3 Stars
    1,775
  • 2 Stars
    609
  • 1 Stars
    367

Performance

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    2,382
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    850
  • 2 Stars
    197
  • 1 Stars
    121

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    5,138
  • 4 Stars
    2,509
  • 3 Stars
    1,208
  • 2 Stars
    419
  • 1 Stars
    289
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Hated the story.

Just on and on and on and never change. Definitely not for me. Realized to late that it would suck the whole way through so I listened to the end. Terrible.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Awful book

What disappointed you about The Road?

The plot! Why in the world this book received so much acclaim is beyond me. Only the clinically depressed could enjoy such depravity, darkness and dreadful despair.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I don't know yet.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, it made me more careful in choosing books for my next listen

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Didn't make it for me.

Any additional comments?

I listened until the end, but this book didn't make it for me. I did not connect with the characters. I was waiting for things to happen, but there were only 2 or 3 occasions that the father and son met up with others. It was long and drawn out. Yes, there was love between father and son, but I did not grow to care about them in a meaningful way. I was excited to buy this book and was sorely disappointed. Others may enjoy this title. I am not one of them.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

So Disappointed

I couldn't even listen beyond about 20% of this book. I was not impressed with the reading but worse than that, the story was repetitive and it never caused me to care about either of the two primary characters. It's hard to believe this is the same author who wrote "All The Pretty Horses:"!

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

"The Road" leads nowhere!

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.

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars

PREDICTABLE

predictable says it all!

85 of 98 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Okay. Okay. Okay.

Okay. This is the man’s favorite word. He says “okay” on every page. So does the son. The dialogue is quite repetitive.

The son often asks interesting questions about the past but the father usually shoots him down with an, “Oh, I don’t know.” The whole book, I was waiting for character development that didn’t come. The characters are one-dimensional and don’t even have names. The Road has a promising plot but leaves much to be desired.

The narration was great. Had I purchased the hard copy instead, I would not have finished it.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

What was I supposed to get from this?

I really don't understand what I was supposed to get from this. It felt like a writing exercise to see if you could create a whole story with nothing but setting. The setting was indeed infinitely believable and viscerally relateable.

BUT.

There was no background. No questions asked about nature or humanity. There were only 2 real characters, neither of which had names. There was no action, no plot, and almost no character development. In fact, the author seemed allergic to anything interesting. About 1/2 dozen times throughout the entire book, something of interest would start to happen. And in absolutely no time flat, the scenario was over and we were back to the trudging setting and starvation. It would all feel quite bleak if I weren't left so bored by the monotony.

The dialog structure was annoying and repetitive. Boy: 'Dad, I have a question unrelated to anything so that you can tell the reader what you want to say.' Dad: 'Here's what I want the reader to know.' Boy: 'That's what you want the reader to know?' Dad: 'That's what I want the reader to know.' Seriously, this was a large percentage of the dialog.

Props to the narrator. This book was all about tone and his was perfect in every way.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Bleak but so dull with it!

What disappointed you about The Road?

After 4 hours nothing really has happened. You haven't learnt about the main characters of a father and his soft whining child. In the end you dont care about them for why they are walking or were they're walking too.

Would you ever listen to anything by Cormac McCarthy again?

Probably not

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes slow and dull

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

diappoinment

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Nothing happens.

Good narrator. Terrible story. The walking dead without zombies. The ending was even more disappointing.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SKA
  • 09-20-09

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!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Suzanne Martin
  • 08-23-11

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.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ellepeapatz
  • 07-18-08

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.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GC
  • 11-01-10

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 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jo Franklin
  • 08-09-15

Heartbreaking and amazing

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

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ian Garstang
  • 07-07-14

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gregory
  • 05-23-08

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

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • 02-21-18

I cried....

Enjoyed, but the encounters in the book got a little same same. I cried, so that's always a good indicator of an author who has really pulled me into the book and characters. would recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 02-19-10

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • 10-17-07

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'.

37 of 54 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shayne Jackson
  • 01-26-18

An amazing read

Brilliant story, brilliantly read. A disturbing, violent picture of a world in chaos, balanced with a story of a father's love for his child. Absolutely beautiful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • emmoff
  • 11-17-16

The high bar of dystopian fiction

The sparse, minimal prose add greatly to the haunting effect of this novel. Loved the narration. Did I mention bleak?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-02-19

The Road

Excellent story, loved it! A beautiful tale of love and survival. Want to read more by this author!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-20-19

You won't regret walking down The Road

The Road perfectly captures the strength of the human spirit while silmultaneously showcasing how malicious that spirit can be when pushed to the limit. An absolute must read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dennis Atkins
  • 01-01-19

A gripping and compelling story. Hard to turn away

This is a stunning narrative by McCarthy. He takes into what’s essentially a two hander - a man and his son. They share their desolate journey through the badlands of a post apocalyptic America with a road that is as unforgiving as it is mysterious. The story line is spell binding and the dialogue is classic McCarthy. It doesn’t get much better than this.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • CQ
  • 12-02-18

It was OK

Too much of the story is just about their chronological day to day actions. I’ve read many better books that didn’t win any awards.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jared A. Looman
  • 11-29-18

Phenom

Phenom narrator, even better book. definitely recommend to anyone that's into cryptic post apocalyptic stories.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • TIMOTHY
  • 09-27-18

Narrator was perfect for this book

Loved the book and the narrator really added to the telling of the story. Highly recommended!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Obaidullah
  • 06-23-18

So comfortably aimless

The writer projects the hopelessness and meaninglessness of a post apocalyptic world so beautifully. This is at times a very easy read and at others a very heart wrenching one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-23-18

Amazing

I loved this book, and Stechschulte's narration is gorgeous. 100% recommend for any lover of McCarthy, or lover of truly great literature