Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Road” as Want to Read:
The Road
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Road

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  505,232 Ratings  ·  35,757 Reviews
A searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Knopf (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Road, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Daniel It's perfect for a fifteen-year-old boy. The post-apocalyptical topic will appeal to him. It's also one of McCarthy's more accessible books with…moreIt's perfect for a fifteen-year-old boy. The post-apocalyptical topic will appeal to him. It's also one of McCarthy's more accessible books with fairly straight-forward language. And, while it's bleak and relentlessly gruesome as most McCarthy novels are, it's also one of the most beautiful portrayals of the love between father and son that I have read. So, he'll stay for the action, and be inspired by the underlying message :)

"No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you." (I just teared up...)(less)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Best Books Ever
76th out of 43,336 books — 162,214 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
11th out of 2,485 books — 20,289 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
J.G. Keely
Oct 21, 2015 J.G. Keely rated it did not like it
Recommended to J.G. Keely by: Mother
The Road is unsteady and repetitive--now aping Melville, now Hemingway--but it is less a seamless blend than a reanimated corpse: sewn together from dead parts into a lumbering, incongruous whole, then jolted to ignoble half-life by McCarthy’s grand reputation with Hollywood Filmmakers and incestuous award committees.

In '96, NYU Professor Alan Sokal submitted a paper for publication to several scientific journals. He made it so complex and full of jargon the average person wouldn't be able to ma
Mar 03, 2009 Pinky rated it liked it
This wasn't nearly as funny as everybody says it is.
Feb 19, 2008 Scott rated it it was amazing
I really feel compelled to write up a review of McCarthy's The Road as this book really worked for me (for those of you who haven't read it, there are no real spoilers below, only random quotes and thematic commentary). I read it last night in one sitting. Hours of almost nonstop reading. I found it to be an excellent book on so many levels that I am at a loss as to where to begin. It was at once gripping, terrifying, utterly heart-wrenching, and completely beautiful. I have read most of McCarth ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Maren rated it did not like it
I'm a terrible person because I didn't really like "The Road" and I'm not sure how I feel about Cormac McCarthy. Honestly, I think there's something wrong with me.

I just finished reading "The Road" today - it only took a couple of hours to get through, because it's not that long a book, and I think it was a good way to read it because I felt really immersed in the story, which is told like one long run-on nightmare of poetic import. The characters don't get quotation marks when they speak, and
He palmed the spartan book with black cover and set out in the gray morning. Grayness, ashen. Ashen in face. Ashen in the sky.
He set out for the road, the book in hand. Bleakness, grayness. Nothing but gray, always.
He was tired and hungry. Coughing. The coughing had gotten worse. He felt like he might die. But he couldn't die. Not yet.
The boy depended on him.
He walked down the road, awaiting the creaking bus. It trundled from somewhere, through the gray fog. The ashen gray fog.
He stepped aboard,
Jan 31, 2009 Robin rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Robin by: Book Club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Sep 13, 2015 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
I finished this novel quite a few days ago. Normally, I would hop right up and start composing my little goodreads ramble, publish whatever nonsense came out, and go about my day. This novel, however, left me feeling like an incubus was on my chest, paralyzing my brain and limiting my mobility. I set it down and stared at the ceiling. I rolled around in bed feeling anxious and nostalgic and terrible and serene. I hid it in my backpack so I wouldn’t continue to be tortured by seeing the spine, an ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
The main point I want to deal with is how I managed to walk away from this book with a trenchant sense of gratitude at the forefront of my mind. I certainly won’t mislead and paint this story as one that directly radiates things to be happy about, but I do think it does so indirectly (and the term "happy" is far too facile for my purposes here).

This is an extremely dark tale of a world passed through a proverbial dissolvent. A world stripped of its major ecological systems. Small pockets of hom
Aug 26, 2015 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-reads

I have nightmares similar to what Cormac McCarthy depicted in his book.

I’m with my family. Sometimes, it’s just my son and I. The dystopia might not be the nuclear winter portrayed here, but it has the same type of vibe. Rampant fear and chaos, breakdown of society, everyone pitted against everyone else and my only thought is to somehow hold my family together and protect them.

Or we’re traveling or holed up somewhere and everything is quiet and we’re suddenly overrun.

Fear is the core. Fear is t
Oct 30, 2008 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Clack....what did I ever do to you!
I’m trying to find solace in the fact that I’m probably not the only one to be humiliatingly hoodwinked into taking the time to read Cormac McCarthy’s much-celebrated yawn-fest “The Road”, although this hardly makes this bamboozling something to boast about. In spite of the fact approximately three-fourths of the world seemed to readily embrace this as worthy fare, I managed to keep my distance for some time, mainly through ignorance of the general plot of the book and my usual stubborn reluctan ...more
Ian Grayjoy
How to Write Like Cormac McCarthy

1. Make sure the first sentence contains a verb.

2. But neither the second.

3. Nor the third.

4. Repeat until finished.

5. Or sooner deterred.

We'll Become Well Eventually

The Boy: Papa?

Papa: Yes?

The Boy: What's this?

Papa: It's an apostrophe.

The Boy: What does it do?

Papa: It takes two words and turns them into a contraction.

The Boy: Is that good?

Papa: Years ago people used to think it was good.

The Boy: What about now?

Papa: Not many people use them now.

The Boy: Does th
I just read some guy's review of The Road that contained the following:

"In the three hours that I read this book I found myself crying, laughing, shouting, and most of the time my lip was trembling. ... As soon as I finished it, I sat there feeling numb, but not in a bad way, actually sort of like I was high."

Wow, dude. I mean, really? Your lip was trembling? And you felt high? And your lip was trembling? Pherphuxake, what do you even say to someone like that?
Feb 18, 2016 Lyn rated it it was amazing
A good friend gave this to me to read. I told him I already had an audiobook working and he said, "you'll want to read this one".

I could barely put it down.

Mesmerizing. McCarthy's prose is simple, fable like, yet also lyrical, like a minamalistic poet. The portrait he has painted is dark and foreboding, difficult and painful, yet he carries "the fire" throughout, a spark of hope and love that must be his central message to the reader.

Having read the book, not sure if I want to see the film, i
Terror. Stark naked, clear as the day and indelible in its intensity. Terror that turns its unflinching gaze on you, commanding you to quake in your boots and disintegrate into pieces. This book is that kind of cold dread that seeps into your blood like insidious venom and drains away your strength in a steady, agonizing trickle as you read along. The horror of being stranded in a world, where the living live on either to become sustenance for other survivors or to hunt and feast on fellow breth ...more
Phew. This is a brilliant, bleak, beautiful book, but an emotionally harrowing one, albeit with uplifting aspects (they always cling to a sliver of hope, however tenuous).


There isn't much. But that's fine by me. In the near future, a man and his son traipse south, across a cold, barren, ash-ridden and abandoned land, pushing all their worldly goods in a wonky shopping trolley. They scavenge to survive and are ever-fearful of attack, especially as some of the few survivors have resorted to ca
Glenn Sumi
Excuse me please while I cover my face with my hands and quietly sob.

In a scorched and dangerous post-apocalyptic America, an unnamed father and son scavenge for food, look for shelter and try to avoid bandits and people who’ve resorted to cannibalism. The two, pushing along their rusty cart, travel the road simply because they must. The alternative is death.

I admire the fact that there’s no explanation about how the end of the world happened and why certain people survived. There are a couple o
I wrestled with a final rating for this. "The Road" definitely has merit. The style is purposefully minimalist. As others have noted there are very few apostrophe's, no commas, no quotation marks. The font is dull. The paragraphs carry extra spacing. The words are clipped. This all works very well for setting the atmosphere.

As others have offered it is also not the job of the author to explain away all questions. Leaving a sense of mystery can be very good for a story. We should expect that in t
Richard Derus
Mar 07, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was ok
This review can now be seen at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

McCarthyites strongly cautioned.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2007 David rated it liked it
The Road is a literary mash up composed of equal parts William Faulkner, Raymond Carver, Samuel Beckett, and pulp sci-fi. This sounds great on paper but works only about 50% of the time.

For the first 25-30 pages of The Road my BS detector rang like a fire alarm. It soon quieted down, but ultimately the things I disliked about the book—it’s egregiously overwritten in places and some of McCarthy’s more “experimental” techniques seem arbitrary --kept me from fully appreciating its virtues. It took
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world.”

This is another one of those “100 books you should read before you go to that big ol’ malt shop in the sky” that I attempt to read a couple of every year. For whatever reason there was a huge waiting list at the library and when it finally became my turn to ease on down The Road I discovered Jeff and The Hufflepuff were getti
Glenn Russell
Aug 11, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing
The view that there are two independent, primal forces in the universe, one good and one evil, is called dualism. According to dualism, the good God does the best he can to promote good and combat evil but he can only do so much since evil is a powerful counterforce in its own right. The ancient Gnostics were dualists with their scriptures emphasizing the mythic rather than the historic and positing our evil world of matter created not by an all-powerful God but by a flawed deity called the Demi ...more
Will Byrnes
Apr 03, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing
A man and his young son are traveling along a highway, hoping to get far enough south to avoid the onslaught of winter. It is a post apocalyptic landscape, heavy with ash, in which you can hear the absence of birds chirping or bugs buzzing. The language is remarkable. I was reminded of Thomas Hardy for beauty of language, but it is a different sort of beauty. McCarthy uses short declaratives, as if even language was short of breath in the devastation, and terrorizes generations of elementary sch ...more
Jason Koivu
Jun 25, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Everyone warned me it was depressing, but I read it anyway. I read it anyway because each and every one of those people also said The Road was really great. They were right. With masterstrokes of economic elegance, McCarthy colors his spartan, post-apocalyptic landscape, bringing a barren world to life in all its misery. The characters are developed only as deeply as necessary, showing admirable restraint by the author. Yet even with the barest of bare essentials a character could possess (they ...more
J. Kent Messum
There are very few authors whose entire works I've personally sought out. Cormac McCarthy is one such gem. One of the world's greatest living writers, his skill is something to behold. His books are dark, understated, well-crafted, and void of the bullshit that stinks up the work of so many other writers. Cormac is compelling through and through, regardless of what story he is telling.

It should be said that McCarthy isn’t the easiest author to read sometimes. He’s an immeasurable talent who pla
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 03, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Angus Miranda
I agree that the story is mind-boggling as McCarthy brought us to the bleak and sad post-apocalyptic cataclysmic America. I agree that the sparse searing prose beautifully mimics the sad and hopelessness of the two unnamed characters: a boy whose age and name were not revealed and the man who he calls as “Papa.” I agree that the book is a good reminder to us of what can happen if we do not take care of our environment. And for these reasons, I understand why this book won the nod of the Pulitzer ...more
Scribble Orca
This isn't the review you think it is.

When she woke in the cave in the light and the warmth of the morning she'd reach out to caress the child sleeping beside her. Nights glowing beyond brightness and the days more colourful each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some warm aurora illuminating the world. Her hand rose and fell softly with each miraculous breath. She pushed away the covering of knitted fabric and raised herself in the crumpled robes and blankets and looked toward th
Sep 17, 2007 Lori rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Ok. I know that nothing I can say can do this book justice.

I will say that it is beautifully written. The characters have no names. The land has no name. Everything is covered in ash from something that happened but that we the reader are not meant to know of.

The author uses simple, straight foward words to pull you into the landscape, to yank you off your couch, or out of your bed, and put you out there in the cold, walking side by side with the father and the son, walking the road.....survivi
Feb 06, 2016 7jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of quiet-end post-apocalyptic, father-son bond, and of strong hope
Music: Boards Of Canada - "Over The Horizon Radar"

Great book, great book. I took the advice from someone who said it would be good read in one day. So I read, taking breaks only to eat. And it was just the right length for that, in my opinion.

So, this is a good story of a father-son relationship, of hope and faith fading and becoming strong like a candle, in a world where luck is now needed to find food and other necessary things. Apocalypse has taken over the world, though what kind is not told
There are large holes in my reading experience—works by acclaimed authors I ought perhaps to have read by now, novels that have created genres, shaped cultures, and incited passions. There are writers I have tried to read—really, I have—but whose styles made me want to engage in self-flagellation as the lesser of two tortures: William Faulkner, John Updike, Gabriel García Márquez; others whose classics I promise to tackle someday, when I'm smarter and less distracted: James Joyce, Nikolai Gogol, ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Starting April 2nd 2016 14 15 Apr 20, 2016 01:30PM  
Reading Life 10 55 Apr 03, 2016 07:48PM  
Is The Road overrated? Any other overrated books? 25 463 Apr 03, 2016 04:16AM  
omg I hated this book! 741 3687 Mar 02, 2016 05:11PM  
  • A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
  • On the Beach
  • Scarlet Sister Mary
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
  • The Store
  • Elbow Room
  • Years of Grace
  • Tree of Smoke
  • Y: The Last Man, Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores (Y: The Last Man, #10)
  • The Stand
  • Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady
  • The Violent Bear it Away
  • Honey in the Horn
  • A Fable
  • Now in November
  • Soft Apocalypse
  • Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres and has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

His earlier Blood M
More about Cormac McCarthy...

Share This Book

“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” 2017 likes
“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.” 682 likes
More quotes…