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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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    116
  • 2 Stars
    38
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Performance

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Story

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  • 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.

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
  • 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 28 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
    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

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • K. Gallagher
  • 02-07-16

Disappointed.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I'd like to know more about why the country was scorched and how it became that way. I suppose not knowing the full story keeps you guessing.

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

I story line or plot didn't keep me 'wanting more'. Half way through I was just looking forward to the end where maybe something interesting would happen or I could move on to the next book. I was hapy to know as I went through that it was a short story of just 6+ hours.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Tom Stechschulte?

The narrator did a good job but honestly, the voices never fit persons image I had in my head and there were only three voices to play so probably a routine job for Tom.

Did The Road inspire you to do anything?

Ah, start burying cans of food for the apocalypse?

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jensen
  • 12-04-14

Highly overrated

Would you try another book from Cormac McCarthy and/or Tom Stechschulte?

No to Cormac McCarthy
Yes to Tom Stechschulte

What could Cormac McCarthy have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not written it I guess

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Despite the lack of grammar, quite good narration, I'm impressed

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

Mostly WTF?

Any additional comments?

A world like this is not possible, without insects and flowers/trees, the world would be empty of all life in 2 years, ALL LIFE

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 18-05-17

Hmm

I read this book as a requirement for an AP English course, but I would not read it if it were up to me. If you are into apocalypse themed stuff then it is excellently crafted and slightly weird. Kind of hard to read dialogue without the audiobook so if you must read the book then you should get this too.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-01-17

A distopian road to nowhere

As dry and pedantic a novel as I have experienced. Try one of his other books, Blood Meridian was much more interesting

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • T F
  • 16-01-17

miserable, depressing story,

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

10 of 10 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.

9 of 9 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

9 of 9 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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Michael G.
  • 15-06-18

Opportunity Lost

Did I miss something? The writing was interesting and the reading/performance was very good. But I came close to putting this book down several times and didn't only because I kept thinking "something really interesting is about to happen". It never did.

The author has a great imagination and a compelling way of writing. This could have been a very good, if not great book, if there was more story. Other than being occasionally horrified at depths to which humanity could fall in a crisis (as imagined by the author), I was bored. It was an opportunity lost.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 03-03-17

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful