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The Road

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  451,621 ratings  ·  33,384 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)
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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)
Thomas I actually saw the film before I even knew it was a book. I found out it was a book at the end of the film when it said it was based on the book. In a…moreI actually saw the film before I even knew it was a book. I found out it was a book at the end of the film when it said it was based on the book. In a sense it makes it difficult to read it because the film is actually very similar to the book so it ruins any real like surprises or anything. However, I wouldn't say it ruins the enjoyability of the book. There are still details that you miss in the movie and are explained better in the book. I definitely enjoyed the book after I saw the movie, this book actually is what made me a Cormac McCarthy fan, but you probably won't enjoy it as much as someone who has not seen the movie due to the fact that not really anything will surprise you.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J.G. Keely
Apr 24, 2015 J.G. Keely rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to J.G. 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 1996, NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal submitted a paper for publication to several scientific journals. He made sure it was so complex and full of the latest jargon terms that the
This wasn't nearly as funny as everybody says it is.
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
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 1 of 5 stars
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
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
Oct 30, 2008 Chris rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
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?
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
Ian Klappenskoff
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
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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.
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
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
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 Russell
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
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 03, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will Byrnes
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
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 5 of 5 stars
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
Jason Koivu
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
Sometimes I just need to change gears with no notice and no serious analysis. I’ve always had this behavioral tic. I’ll just come home on a Friday after a long week and shave my head, or buy and wear women’s t-shirts or interlocking male symbol earrings (you can borrow, just ask). Or pick up something short and compelling to read while toiling through never-ending (yet very worthwhile) behemoths. I did this a few months ago by racing through The Stranger and The Lover during my earliest foray in ...more
The Herald claims this novel as "a masterpiece that will soon become a classic." I cannot believe they are referring to this novel The Road. Or surely the entire quote is missing the big "NOT" in front of it? For this is perhaps the worst story I have ever read. Overhyped, overly nihilistic, perhaps even overly sentimental in some eyes and appearing to possess depth while lacking it.

I love books and there are few books I don't enjoy in some measure. Most books have something to offer morally, en
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
Kat Kennedy
Sometimes you enjoy a book so immensely, that you give it several stars even though there were some things in the story that you had reservations about. I was like this with the Fever Series. The enjoyment I received from the book far outweighed some small character problems I had.

The Road is different. It is actually brilliantly written. So wonderful in its prose and the thought behind every word that I had to give it four stars despite the immense heartache it gave me.

It would have received fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2007 Kristen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
I bought The Road on a whim from some tiny airport bookstore on Long Island, NY. I was dismayed by the Oprah sticker but I lugged it to the counter, where I was informed by the woman that if I kept the receipt that I could return the book for at least half the price. I decided then that if I didn't like it, I could at least get 8 dollars toward another book.

I left the bookstore, removed the horrible "Oprah" sticker, started reading the book in the terminal and didn't put it down for 8 hours, lit
I feel like, in reading this, I’ve lost a piece of myself. There have been many books that have affected me, but, usually, that is by leaving me with something.

Foolishly, I thought I’d emerge from this experience unscathed. Even after being thoroughly warned by my wife and being told by friends that this book is the literary equivalent to a crowbar in the solar plexus, I arrogantly forged ahead. I don’t have a weak stomach. I thought I could hang.

And, to my credit, I did. I stayed with the man a
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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...
No Country for Old Men Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1) The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2) Child of God

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“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” 1814 likes
“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.” 616 likes
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