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Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007


An Oprah Winfrey Book Club Selection

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.

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©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)
"...For all the harrowing hopelessness, the bond between father and son shines through."( The Guardian)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GC
  • 01-11-10

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 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

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
  • Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
  • 23-05-08

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • BathUnited Kingdom
  • 19-02-10

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

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

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

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 14-05-16

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.

99 of 109 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • 25-03-07

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.

107 of 120 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • R. Jones
  • 17-12-17

Least Favorite Audiobook

I enjoyed the movie, so I assumed that I would enjoy the audiobook. I was wrong. It was difficult to follow along and I frequently lost interest. I found myself having to rewind just to better understand what was going on. I would not recommend this audiobook.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-10-17

Will never get this time back

I only finished it so I could discuss it asst my book club. I was so tired of hearing "yes papa".

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Margaret
  • 25-08-17

depressing

so dark and depressing only got through it, because I listened while driving in spurts.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • SARAKAY
  • 13-08-17

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • LA runner
  • 25-07-17

B-O-R-I-N-G

I rarely return a book. This one makes me feel bad about returning ANY other novel. What a waste of time. If it was merely a short story it would have been too long and uneventful. The storyline goes NOWHERE. The narration is ok, but the dialogue is painful! This is 90% of the dialogue in various word-salad combinations; ok, I'm sorry, I'm scared, I'm really scared, I'm hungry, I'm cold, I know, I don't know.
Skip this book and do something more exciting; like watching the grass grow.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • wisconsinclark
  • 22-07-17

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Dave
  • 19-07-17

Not what I expected

What disappointed you about The Road?

Based on the reviews I read I expected a very passionate story that was gripping and well told. Instead I listened to a monotonous series of conversations between Poppa and the boy. The story started no where and led no where.

Would you ever listen to anything by Cormac McCarthy again?

This is the only book that I have read from this author so I will not judges his other works. I would consider another book by this author but I am in no hurry.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Tom Stechschulte?

John Meagher would have provided must more personality to the limited characters.

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

None, the story needed more not less scenes.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Matt Johnson
  • 14-07-17

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful