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The Road

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  537,246 Ratings  ·  37,815 Reviews
The searing, postapocalyptic 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, await ...more
Audio CD, 7 pages
Published 2006 by Recorded Books
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Melody Kuschnereit Some people, like myself, find beauty in raw, dark writing like this. Others do not, and that's ok. If you don't love the prose and find it too…moreSome people, like myself, find beauty in raw, dark writing like this. Others do not, and that's ok. If you don't love the prose and find it too depressing from the beginning, it might be a waste of your time to keep reading. I wouldn't hold it against you to pick up a different book. (less)
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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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J.G. Keely
Apr 01, 2008 J.G. Keely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jason
Mar 03, 2009 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't nearly as funny as everybody says it is.
Scott
Feb 19, 2008 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Evan
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,
...more
Maren
Jun 18, 2008 Maren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Glenn Russell
Apr 21, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


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
Robin
Oct 14, 2008 Robin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
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
...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
...more
Jeff
Sep 25, 2012 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
...more
Ian
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?
------------------------------------
...more
Chris
Oct 26, 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
Will Byrnes
Oct 05, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lyn
Jul 18, 2011 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Cecily
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).

PLOT

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
...more
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
...more
Frankie
May 23, 2012 Frankie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-movie, 2013, usa
One of my favourite of all time.
Loved that there was no chapters.
Loved everything.
Terrifying.
Matthew Quann
Nov 29, 2016 Matthew Quann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, pulitzers
The Road is a painful, beautiful, horrifying, heartfelt, and compelling novel about a father and his son that astounded me from its opening pages through to its conclusion.

I’ve made known my disparagement for post-apocalyptic stories, which all seem to eventually fall into the same tropes ad museum. You’ve read or watched the stories where one band of survivors tries to survive only to run into another band of survivors who, despite initial appearances, have devolved from society into little mo
...more
Samadrita
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
Nick
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
...more
Richard Derus
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.
Fino
The Road is a moving and terrifying post-apocalyptic novel that deserves its notoriety. The two unnamed characters, a father and a son, set out on a nightmarish, nearly impossible journey. It is hard to stop reading once you start. I felt a bit nauseous at times but as always the spare but beautiful, powerful writing of McCarthy is spellbinding. I definitely understand why this book got a Pulitzer. Now, gotta watch the movie!
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brad
Oct 13, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be the last one on the planet to have read this "Dystopian Masterpiece" destined to go down in history as blah blah blah. :) Yeah, it's good. Simple tale told extremely simply. Poetic in places, very realistic in almost all ways, and it was true to human nature, both in the good and in the bad.

People are scared. It's how we deal with the fear that makes us good people or average or just plain bad.

This is true at all times, of course, not just when the rubber tires on the highway have m
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“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
...more
David
Nov 28, 2007 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jason Koivu
Jan 22, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Maxwell
Jul 18, 2016 Maxwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, 2016
Gorgeously written. Evocative and powerful. The atmosphere is bleak and depressing but so immersive. I definitely teared up a bit at the end.
James
Feb 03, 2017 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in a post apocalypse, post extinction event world – this is the story of a man and his boy, a Father and his son and their attempt to make their way through a destroyed and devastated world.

This is a book about fear, death and utter devastation in every sense; it’s about a very real struggle for survival and about the sometimes shocking cruelty of life, the world and its inhabitants.
Ultimately however it’s the story of life, hope and kindness; it’s about the human spirit and the quest for
...more
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Ambiguity in the ending 181 1906 Feb 18, 2017 05:57AM  
Books that are based on Post-Nuclear settings 2 20 Jan 05, 2017 06:12PM  
Dystopia and The Road 8 267 Jan 04, 2017 06:59AM  
Arters AP Literat...: The Road 30 16 Jan 03, 2017 05:52PM  
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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
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