Regular price: £19.69

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Basket

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.

Click here to see all the titles in our Radio & TV Book Clubs collection.
©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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    738
  • 4 Stars
    346
  • 3 Stars
    128
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    32

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    657
  • 4 Stars
    256
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    14

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    575
  • 4 Stars
    261
  • 3 Stars
    126
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    24
Sort by:
  • 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!

15 of 15 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.

20 of 21 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
  • 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 16 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 29 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.

2 of 2 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
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • leighton buzzard, BDF, United Kingdom
  • 17-10-07

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

Sort by:
  • Overall
    out of 5 stars
  • Randall
  • 22-07-07

PREDICTABLE

predictable says it all!

71 of 79 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • robert weinstein
  • 17-02-17

I found this one tedious <br /><br /><br />

I felt like they kept telling the same story over and over first Hungry cold and starving then we find food someplace then we eat and we're hungry then we're starving moving on

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Will
  • 31-08-16

Didn't see it like the others I guess

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who don't get into deep characters with intriguing diologue. an example (not directly quoted, but how it left em feeling): "Papa we are the good guys?" "yeah" "because we carry the fire" "yeah" "i'm hungry" "me too" "are you cold" "yeah" "I'm cold too" "yeah" "I'm hungry" "yeah".

What was most disappointing about Cormac McCarthy’s story?

Dry and dull, and as a father I didnt' connect with the father of this story in any way. I didn't feel he prepared the boy well for their circumstance.

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

He did well.

What character would you cut from The Road?

Of the 3 -5 characters in the whole story?? would be hard to cut any.

Any additional comments?

I just didn't find it great... it wasn't terrible... but it was only just good. At one point I even debated finishing it.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Polyhymnia
  • 14-07-16

Yawn

The only benefit here is that it is a short read. Incredibly repetitive, dreary, and disappointing. Perhaps there is a metaphor I missed. The ending seems totally disconnected with the rest of the book. Very odd that it won a Pulitzer.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • MSGirl43
  • 25-03-15

The Road Without End

What disappointed you about The Road?

The concept of these people walking down, or up, a road day after day; of humans and other oxygen breathing creatures EXISTING on this planet where all plants have been destroyed is totally illogical. That annoyed me so badly that I rushed through the last couple of chapters. I just wanted to get it over with.

What was most disappointing about Cormac McCarthy’s story?

The book just kept on and on with so many questions unanswered. What happened? A war? An accident? An experiment gone wrong? What happened to the boy's mother? How could these people live without oxygen? Why didn't the atmospheric gases change as a result of the world-wide fires?

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator's voice was very dull, without expression most of the time.

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

Annoyance as previously explained, and disappointment that I had wasted my time and money on the book.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • peter
  • 20-02-15

Disappointed!!

The authors descriptive talent of painting a visual picture of an apocalyptic world was spot on. But, in a book with only two characters I would of enjoyed better dialogue between them. It was very repetitive and boring with little feeling evoked.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 26-03-14

Disapointed

What would have made The Road better?

Something happening.

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

I hope not.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Script

What character would you cut from The Road?

The Crying Child and the Nannar Daddy. Oh wait yeah that's pretty much everyone.

Any additional comments?

Almost afraid to watch the movie again. I do NOT remember it being this bad.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Danette Stankovich
  • 05-11-13

"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.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • steven
  • 11-10-13

depressing

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

nothing

Would you ever listen to anything by Cormac McCarthy again?

never

What didn’t you like about Tom Stechschulte’s performance?

so slow

Any additional comments?

this book never explains pass never get better I kept waiting for it to get better but no luck'
its depressing from start to finish

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy L. Collins
  • 10-09-12

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.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful