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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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    6,252
  • 4 Stars
    3,745
  • 3 Stars
    1,708
  • 2 Stars
    586
  • 1 Stars
    356

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    5,393
  • 4 Stars
    2,226
  • 3 Stars
    804
  • 2 Stars
    183
  • 1 Stars
    114

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,613
  • 4 Stars
    2,335
  • 3 Stars
    1,130
  • 2 Stars
    393
  • 1 Stars
    277
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

107 of 127 people found this review helpful

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

meh...

maybe I didn’t like it because it was so hyped and was expecting so much more. or, maybe I didn’t like the narrator. I’d started to read this book many times and always put it down because it failed to keep my attention; but even on audible it didn’t work for me.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

eloquent, but nothing happened.

Maybe I'm just simple, but I could not find a story arc nor could I bring myself to care about the characters. kept waiting for something to happen, and then it ended.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

Did not live up to reviews

I did not enjoy this book, purchased it during a sale for a reasonable price I do not understand all the five star reviews. This theme has been dealt with many times with far more interesting dialog

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

Overhyped, monotonous, uneventful.

This is a short, uneventful story. I found it mildly interesting, and so stuck with it to the end. I was left feeling unrewarded and wondering what all the hype was about. Other reviews describe the book "very moving", but that is an exaggeration. While it is certainly a sad story, it is not a very imaginative and all in all it's rather boring. The dialogue and scene descriptions are very repetative. The author's prose attempts to come across as poetic and profound, but I found it at times garbled and clumsy.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

VERY TEDIOUS

What disappointed you about The Road?

HAD NO BEGINNING, NO END. WAY TOO METAPHORS, SIMILES AND ADJECTIVES. GRAMMATICAL PROBLEMS WITH PROPER USE OF "ON" AND "IN" VERY DISTRACTING.I THINK THE AUTHOR DID NOT USE AN EDITOR.

What do you think your next listen will be?

THE SNOW GOOSE. CAN'T GO WRONG WITH PAUL GALLICO.

What aspect of Tom Stechschulte’s performance would you have changed?

NOTHING. THE POOR MAN HAD SO LITTLE TO WORK WITH. I CAN RECOMMEND TOM, GOOD VOICE AND MODULATION.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Road?

THE TREK OVER THE PASS, JUMPING IN THE WATER TO SWIM WHEN THE WEATHER { METAPHORS, SIMILES, AND ADJECTIVES .... OH MY} WAS FREEZING. THE LITTLE BOY WAS BLUE AND SHAKING BEFORE THE SWIM. THERE WERE MANY MORE. NOT ENOUGH SPACE TO WRITE ALL.

Any additional comments?

DON'T WASTE YOUR CREDIT.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

This child in the story is so annoying

Every time the main characters encounter any new situation the child whines that he's so scared.
"Papa" has to tell this child "ahm sorry" every time the child whines he's so scared.
I was hoping for the child to die or Papa to die so the story ends.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

Competent performance can't save bad writing

I really wanted to like this. Tom Stechschulte did as well as he could with the writing.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

Let me save you some time.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If anything at all happened.

Has The Road turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Which character – as performed by Tom Stechschulte – was your favorite?

Tome Stechschulte is a great reader. I have listened to, and enjoyed many other books that he has performed. This book is simply not good.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Road?

I wouldn't have cut anything... I would have added something, anything.

Any additional comments?

The entire narrative consists of the words, "Im scared", "Stay here", "Yes". and "OK". There is little to no character building.There is no crescendo.Nothing happens.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

13 of 15 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.

19 of 20 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
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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 28 people found this review helpful

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

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Maracai
  • 10-12-17

A well narrated exodus

Cormac McCarthy's control over language and imagery is incredulously satisfying. His affinity for implication and depiction of character and scenery alike feel vividly and deliciously authentic. A well crafted apocalyptic tale of a father and his son rich with realism and plot points that will have you unnerved at some points, and genuinely smiling at what entails.
Tom Stechschulte performs incredibly, breathing life into Cormac McCarthy's characters with a well rounded performance and perfect pacing. This is an audiobook that will have you immersed in every word.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert Stockton
  • 06-25-17

Bleak and poetic supported with just enoigh Hope!

So incredible! You won't be disappointed... or romanced. I loved the contrast of the sumptuous descriptive language against the desolate landscapes, plots and dialogue.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andy Crawford
  • 04-25-17

Fantastic. Brutal, bleak, painful. But fantastic

Finished in 2 sittings. Could not turn this off. Incredible book. Most realistic dialogue I've ever read. And the most brutal, bleak, uncompromising narrative as well. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Attila
  • 07-01-16

Soul destroyingly good

You don't exactly consume this book punching the air. However the fact this book creates such strong feelings is how you know the author succeeded to bring to you something special beyond the Harry Potters of the world.
It doesn't have much plot, however the book is like a long poem that all the time states something true and will strike a cord with most people..
Also its post apocalyptic however you don't need to be a fan of this genre to enjoy the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cassandra
  • 05-31-16

A Moving, Thought Provoking Story

I had to listen to this book for a literature class, but I am so glad I did.

Beautifully and honestly narrated, this novel is captivating and thought provoking. The narrator really did an amazing job. I thoroughly recommend this book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Rich
  • 12-04-17

Better post-apocalyptic stories are out there.

Not a bad book, but in my opinion the lack of focus on developing the characters and the tedius dialogue wore away at my desire to keep reading. The video game The Last of Us is similar in many ways to this story, but done far better in crucial areas. If it doesn't grab you in the first hour, this probably isn't the book for you.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful