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The Road

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
4 out of 5 stars (14,046 ratings)

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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)

Editorial Review

I hadn't cried in years before I heard this book. Cormac McCarthy's vocabulary is truly unparalleled, but you can tell he spends even more time crafting his characters and their stories than he does with words—which is really saying something.Michael D., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    7,143
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  • 2 Stars
    633
  • 1 Stars
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Performance

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    201
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I just wasn't a fan of this one.

I was really excited to listen to this book but I was very much disappointed. The story itself just seem to meander and go nowhere. I did not find the two main characters to be very likeable, although I did have some compassion for their predicament. Without giving away any spoilers, I will just say that this story simply went from one thing to the next disconnected and unrelated scene after another. They're called. They're hungry. They need food. They find food. Yawn. to make matters worse comma the narrator was not the greatest. to further my disdain , the boy was excessively whiny , and it wore on my nerves fairly quickly. I'm not familiar with this author and this was the first book by him that I've listened to. This is any indication to his other works, count me out

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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

Predictable. Slow.

I had to read this book for a book club. I try to only contribute positive things to the group, so I think I'll remain pretty quiet on this one.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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

miserable, depressing story,

depressing, didn't finish, didn't want to hear any more, so sad, awful, terrible, gross, foul

25 of 29 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

Just No

There was so much potential for an interesting story in here and it just never happened. What happened to get the world to the point the story takes up at is only described in the most vague words. The opportunity for development of the 2 main characters was there and not taken advantage of. Same with the opportunity for more than vague references to 'others'. Overall I found the story quite dull, the main characters annoying at best and the narration lent nothing to making it seem more interesting. Just nothing at all to make me want to recommend this or read it again.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

The Road to Whatever

Any additional comments?

I kept waiting for answers that never came. What happened to everyone in the first place? Never knew the man's or boy's name. The boy was continually whining. I would've hoped he would develop to be more like "Carl" on The Walking Dead. I didn't like any of the characters. The end just kinda happened and was tied up with a little optimistic bow.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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

This won the Pulitzer? You're kidding.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was so-so. The story is silly. It's so over-the-top dark that it's ridiculous at times. Yes, people can be horrible, but the level of horrible in this book is totally overdone. It was not believable, at least to me. And the story becomes highly predictable. The prose is also over the top. It's adjective soup. I'm stunned that this overwrought piece won the Pulitzer. I must be missing something here.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Least interesting was its predictability. I'm trying to think of what I thought was most interesting, but can't.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending, albeit predictable. Can't tell whether I liked it because I was glad the story finally came to an end and I could buy a different book, or because I enjoyed the exchange between the good guy stranger and the boy. Probably a bit of both.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No.

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for a good Pulitzer winner, I'd suggest The True Story of Ned Kelly or Olive Kitteridge, but not this. Either I'm off my nut (entirely possible) or the Pulitzer committee was off its.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Could not finish the book

I really wanted to get into this book, but just couldn't. The rhythm was just off for me. I just could not develop any interest or empathy for the protagonists. I ended up giving up 1/3 the way. Maybe it was about to get better? I just couldn't stand it anymore.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • sgtbuk1
  • Knoxville, TN United States
  • 07-08-07

Depressing

I really don't get all the hooplah. Stock up on the Prozac if you want to listen to this miserable thing.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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"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 35 people found this review helpful

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

Underwhelming

This is an instance where I actually liked the movie over the book. I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters. It didn’t really “drag on” but it was just plain boring. The movie is far superior in this case.

14 of 16 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.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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

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    4 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
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jamie G
  • 04-24-18

Great book, narrator a bit hokey.

Really enjoyed this but felt the narrator was a little hokey and plaintive at times.

1 of 1 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

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    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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  • Jennifer
  • 07-05-19

Excellent

This was a beautiful story to listen to. I don’t usually listen to fiction, but this was on the book club list so I had to give it a go! It was excellent and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. The voices were done very well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-17-19

Powerful. Pitiful. Full of hope but also despair.

A dark story of a man's love for his son pitted against the backdrop of Armageddon. Surviving unspeakable encounters with the dead and the living on their journey to nowhere. Good against evil with no winners. Powerfully narrated. Hard to use the word enjoyable for such a tale but enjoy it I did. Not a book for the faint of heart.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 04-07-19

Ouch! My aching feels.

Cormac McCarthy writes with such eloquence. This book moved me. There is a potency here of almost immeasurable beauty. I loved this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

  • Overall
    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.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.