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The Road

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  763,193 ratings  ·  47,796 reviews
A 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, awaits t
Hardcover, First U.S. Edition, 241 pages
Published October 2nd 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published September 26th 2006)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  763,193 ratings  ·  47,796 reviews

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J.G. Keely
Apr 01, 2008 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
Feb 19, 2008 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
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,
Mar 03, 2009 rated it liked it
This wasn't nearly as funny as everybody says it is. ...more
(A-) 84% | Very Good
Notes: Dreamlike and deeply moving, it's thin on plot, with dialogue that's often genius, but also inauthentic and repetitive.
Glenn Russell
Apr 21, 2014 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
Sean Barrs
The Road is a truly disturbing book; it is absorbing, mystifying and completely harrowing. Simply because it shows us how man could act given the right circumstances; it’s a terrifying concept because it could also be a true one.

It isn’t a book that gives you any answers, you have to put the pieces together and presume. For whatever reason, be it nuclear war or environmental collapse, the world has gone to hell. It is a wasteland of perpetual greyness and ash. Very little grows anymore, and th
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
Oct 14, 2008 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.
Leonard Gaya
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Road is a dismal and poignant novel. A man and his son are trying to survive on a devastated (possibly post-nuclear) land, covered by ashes. They trudge through on a deserted road that doesn't seem to lead anywhere. They are starving. Occasionally, they either find some food or come up with a group of man-eating panhandlers.

Not much of a plot to speak of in this book, and everything sounds like a pointless and painful attempt at surviving in a world that is already charred and dead — in a wa
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ladies and gentlemen of Goodreads, I present to you my first five star review of 2018- The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

And, ladies and gentlemen of Goodreads, here is the crazy thing. This is my THIRD time reading the book! My THIRD time! And y’all wanna know how many stars I rated this book last time? TWO! TWO WHOLE STARS! I didn’t even write a review. I just gave it two stars and moved on with my life. And now here I am with a five star review, and, folks, I can’t even explain what’s happened to
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.


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
This book is shocking, loving, groundbreakingly impressive, beautifully written. I read through it without breathing, I mean I just had to know what was coming on the next page, and cried several times. Without a doubt one of the best books, if not the best, I read, ever...
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?
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-movie, 2013, usa
One of my favourite of all time.

Loved everything.
Dave Schaafsma
“What would you do if I died?
If you died I would want to die too.
So you could be with me?
Yes. So I could be with you.

4/25/21 Had easily our most intense family viewing of a film ever in watching the film adaptation of this book and because I am a teacher I pulled it off the shelf and share passages from the book with those interested, and I left it out to see if anyone would read it--nope, too soon after the viewing, they thought--and so I went through it again fairly quickly, as
May 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
What a great and disturbing read. You'll follow father and son walking cross country to the sea in an post apocalyptic world. Fellow human beings are hostile (there is a distinction between good and bad guys but you'll only find the bad or indifferent ones). God is gone. Our two characters live day by day trying to survive. No positive outlook, rain and cold block their progress. Human race is almost extinct. The dialogues between father and son are short, like their daily portions of food. How ...more
Henry Avila
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two lonely figures appear out in the sparse, dark landscape walking by in the gloom going forward to oblivion probably, never resting until they find the nebulous nirvana; which may not be. A man and his boy both remain nameless throughout the book, hungry, tired dispirited wearing rags living if this is the proper word trying to survive a world changed forever ... a bleak atmosphere where the strong kill the weak looking for any food...animal, vegetable or human, nothing is more paramount than ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Road tells the story of a father and son warily travelling across post-apocalyptic America, hoping to reach a place of sanctuary. The atmosphere drapes the reader in a throbbing dread for the character's lives and the acute fear of a father to keep his son safe. In a very unique and unexpected way, Cormac McCarthy creates a mesmeric story out of pure gloom and hopelessness. Everything is stripped away including the names of the man and his son. The writing style is concise and t
Will Byrnes
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Richard (on hiatus)
A man and his son trudge wearily through a barren post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s bitterly cold and desolate, everything grey under a thin patina of dirty ash. We don’t know what’s happened to the world but we know it’s been catastrophic.
We don’t know who the man and boy are, but we do know that the man is terrified for his son’s future, and that their bond is the only good thing left.
The feeling of creeping unease and fear is palpable.
Shadowy, misshapen towns occasionally appear in the distanc
Sep 25, 2012 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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

This is one of the saddest books about a father and child that I have ever read in my life . . yet.

There were a couple of happy times. Not so much though =(

Mel ♥
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
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Just beyond the high gap in the mountains they stood and looked out over the great gulf to the south where the country as far as they could see was burned away, the blackened shapes of rock standing out of the shoals of ash and billows of ash rising up and blowing downcountry through the waste. The track of the dull sun moving unseen beyond the murk.”

Written with such sublime prose, The Road is completely different from anything I have read before. It is tragic yet somehow simple and lovely. Th
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 26, 2008 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
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Five Stars For Brilliant Story Telling: It really doesn’t get any better than this. The story is a journey, an epic journey, a hero’s journey. The prose is sparse and real in its immediacy. We not only read it but feel it, smell it, taste it. That is a rare treat for any reader.

Five Stars For Best Father and Son Relationship: The father and his son in this book have such a strong bond, it is both heart wrenching and inspiring to share it. On their long journey, they teach each other, mostly by
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Road, Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a 2006 post-apocalyptic novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy.

A father and his young son journey across post-apocalyptic America some years after an extinction event. Their names are never revealed in the story; they are simply called “the man” and “the boy.” The land is covered with ash and devoid of life. The boy's mother, pregnant with him at the time of the disaster, is revealed to have committed suicide at some point before the story begins.

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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 ...more

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