The Road The Road discussion

Feelings about this book

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message 51: by William1 (last edited Aug 01, 2011 12:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

William1 Andy wrote: "I'm with Nick. The plot goes nowhere, the characters go nowhere, and the miracle at the end is simply deus ex machina.

And I get the metaphors, OK? I just don't like an _entire freaking book_ ..."

Let me respectfully add that the book is character driven. There is not much plot to speak of. You can't damn a book for a lack of plot when the author hasn't pursued one. The entire book is voice, tone, nuance, not plot. The characters go nowhere because there is nowhere to go. It being the end of the world as we know it.

Felonious I thought I was going to love this book but I ended up only giving it 3 stars. I did like the writing style but as for the story I thought it was mostly a waste, I felt that if I had read the first 50 pages and the last 5 I really wouldn't have missed anything.

Nicole Marcia wrote: "I read all kinds of books. This book just affected me so much. No hope, a grim unbearable view of humanity after a horrible event unnamed but probably nuclear war. I kept on reading because I cou..."


Noneya Can somebody explain to me why they didn't stay in the bunker? Or near the waterfall? Maybe the entire reason that I didn't like this book was because I didn't agree with any of the decisions that 'The Man' made. I understand his internal drive to live and keep going, but if you find a bunker full of food, water, blankets and clothes--STAY. -end rant-.

Alondra I enjoyed this book; it's like a somber Mad max. You know something like nuclear war happened, why does the aurthor have to tell you?? I think it is like burritos; either you like it or you don't. I did not agree with all the choices made, but would that make the book better, by being predictable??
Gonna read No country for old men and All the pretty horses. I like his writing style. :)

Andrea Grosso The aim of the book, I think, is to show that, after a global disaster, probably a nuclear war, also in a so difficult situation can exist something good in the world... in this case, the relationship between father and son, the father's love for his little son, till the end.
The book is misterious and cruel, specially in some parts, and, in this new terrific world (because is a changed world), the writer shows all the things that have now value: one gun, a shopping cart, a plastic sheet and, most important, as I said before, the mutual love of the two protagonists, the love that always exist between father and son.
At the end I can say that I like this book, maybe not the best one that I red but for sure a beautiful book, although in some parts difficult to read for its bloody scene.

Jewel Andrea wrote: "The aim of the book, I think, is to show that, after a global disaster, probably a nuclear war, also in a so difficult situation can exist something good in the world... in this case, the relations..."

You've described my feelings exactly. I haven't read his others, but I came away from the story with some lessons learned. In the beginning of the book, I had a hard time with his style of writing, but once I got into the story, it won me over:-)

message 58: by Joe (new) - rated it 1 star

Joe Did I miss something here? Sure The Road is well written, but I don't see how it garnered such high praise. The story line is nothing new to science fiction fans. It reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode. This book could have easily been written as a short story. Do we really need page after page description of this bleak scavenger hunt by this father and son team? Love of a father for his son? Love of a son for his father? Could suicide or murder ever be justified? Is that why Oprah loved this book so much? Pulitzer Prize! I don't know.
Maybe I was not in the right frame of mind when I read this.
The Road gets no recommendation from me.
If you want a good father/son story, go watch Finding Nemo.

message 59: by Eric (last edited Oct 06, 2011 04:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Why didn't they stop at the bunker or waterfall? Simple.

The waterfall is easy--winter was coming and the waterfall didn't offer shelter. And it was in the mountains where things will get coldest.

The bunker requires more explanation, but it's obvious if you think about it. The man was dying and he knew it. He was on borrowed time and felt he had to find a safe place for his son before he died. One that didn't involve leaving his child stranded and alone. The bunker provided shelter and supplies, but there wasn't anyone else around. That last part goes for the waterfall as well.

message 60: by Andy (last edited Feb 11, 2012 08:23PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Andy S Robert wrote: "What was the deux ex machina at the end? I might have missed something. "

Where the boy is rescued.

Kenny Chaffin I think that is the "amazingly fortunate event" of running into "good" people after all the troubles. Not overcoming the problem as a result of the man/boys own efforts.

message 62: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gee, it's really strange how this "Ashley" person ran all over the GR site recommending a book by one Peter Drake.

Author promotions like this turn me off completely. How about the rest of you?

Hannah I loved this book! I think the writing style adds to the story by emphasising the barren wasteland they are travelling through. Also, McCarthy uses really interesting and clever imagery and symbolism, my favorite being the 'carrying the fire'. When the man doesn't help the people in the cellar he drops the lighter so he no longer carries the fire, unlike the boy, who wanted to help and therefore carries the fire of humanity

message 64: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed Amazing book, among the century's best so far in my view. I'm fascinated by people's reactions: apparently you either love it or hate it. Here's a link to a blog post that may help even those who hate The Road appreciate McCarthy's effectiveness as a wordsmith:

Kenny Chaffin Link doesn't seem to work... :(

message 66: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed Sorry about that. This one should go:

Kenny Chaffin Tim wrote: "Sorry about that. This one should go:"

Yes. I think your analysis is right on.

message 68: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed Thanks! Glad you agree. Literary taste is subjective, but we ought to give a true master his due.

message 69: by [deleted user] (new)

For me "The Road" really is a modern masterpiece!


Marta Joe wrote: "Did I miss something here? Sure The Road is well written, but I don't see how it garnered such high praise. The story line is nothing new to science fiction fans. It reminded me of a Twilight Zone ..."

This is exactly how I felt about the book and strangely also exactly how I felt about 'No Country for Old Men'. They're both just average stories with average characters and with themes I've seen plenty of times before in other books. All of this is fine and in no way makes these two books bad reads.

But when people started praising both books as these works of brilliance, I became confused. I honestly began thinking that maybe these rave reviews were coming from people who simply don't read a lot and have no comparisons.

Kimberly Marcia wrote: "I read all kinds of books. This book just affected me so much. No hope, a grim unbearable view of humanity after a horrible event unnamed but probably nuclear war. I kept on reading because I cou..."

YES I felt exactly the same way! I thought the book was well written but a little depressing. Probably close to what would be reality though as they are only one generation into whatever disaster happened. I almost wish there could be a sequel as it felt unfinished to me, then again maybe I'm just too used to endings that leave you with hope for a future and maybe in this authors mind the earth never will regenerate.

Kimberly William wrote: "Loved it. I have always liked stories in which humans are pushed beyond the so called normal world, where their courage, morality, and love are put to the test. I should add that I think all good n..."

I totally agree. I thought the language was brilliant. The writing style with it's lack of punctuation and inflection was a little odd at first but it really drove home the hopelessness and distrust of others they feel. Without it I think the story would've lacked the bleakness it has which was really part of the beauty of it. I got a sense of a world that has no color left in it just from the words themselves.

Gretchen For me, this book was oddly refreshing. Incredibly and deeply disturbing, but refreshing nonetheless. It is very rare for modern literature, film, or any scripted work to not have a happy ending. I loved it. It was so real.
If the world did come to an end, this scenario seemed the most likely out of all the zombie/apocalyptic books I have read. It takes very little for humans to revert to their most primal, selfish states when societal norms fall apart.

I think the reason people have such a hard time stomaching this book is because you can't help but wonder which side you would be on if this really did happen. Most of us would like to think we'd be like the father and son, fighting to retain our humanity and goodness. Wondering about the alternative, and more likely path, gets to be too disturbing for most.

Stephen Lindow McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian' is far better in gorgeous-gruesome prose.

Julie Jewel wrote: "Once I got past the shock of the author's writing style (no quotes for the dialog-the boy and the man both speaking in the same paragraph) I quite liked the story. It was sad and depressing, but I ..."

The lack of quotation and paragraph breaks made it virtually impossible to read, for me. Yes, I get the reasons behind it. What I don't enjoy is feeling like I read the entire book twice because I had to do so much re-reading just to figure out who was speaking.

Julie Let's just say I felt like knocking back an entire bottle of Prozac after reading this depressing piece of junk.

M. Patrick Do not give this book to anyone with suicidal tendencies. It would be an act of depraved indifference.

Kenny Chaffin You guys.....come on.... The Road is chock full of hope! Just like humanity and all life for that matter.

Stephen Lindow McCarthy's 'Child of God' is also disturbing. I haven't seen the James Franco film, but bless his heart for bringing all these literary stories to film: Faulkner, Hart Crane, Ginsberg, et al. If you like disturbing try Iain Banks's 'The Wasp Factory'.

Kenny Chaffin Yeah, I'm actually afraid to read 'Child of God' -- I'm not much for horror stuff and No Country for Old Men (as well as The Road) were plenty graphic enough for me. :)

Stephen Lindow I hear you Kenny. I might suggest a gorgeous little novel by Italo Calvino called 'Mr. Palomar'.

Hereabouts Honey Responding to Nick; I thought the road quite interesting. In the end, human beings in this possible atmosphere, could become quite beast like. It's in insight into behavioural methods and capabilities; whether good or bad. The plot is about keeping to the road and the father and son hoping to find something which is good and safe. It's very sad, but their are some bits that open your heart with relief during their terrible situation.

William Dean Like many of you, I did not enjoy reading this bleak narrative. And, as a writer, I thought the prose was uninspired... at first. But, the story would not leave me and I kept hearing how everyone else adored the book.

Of course, I've heard this before... check out a movie called Gerry (2002-Casey Affleck)—it's got to be the biggest piece of cinematic garbage ever put to screen... then check out the reviews. It will make you realize that there is always someone willing to like something... especially if they are afraid they didn't understand it.

Anyway, as a father and now that I am older, I especially hate unjustified sad endings that involve children, but I think this novel uses that to make a point.

The Road is mainly 2 things: 1) a relationship story and 2) a modern fairy tale with a moral.

The father is trying to protect his kid, but that makes him paranoid and causes more grief. (analogy to the USA, perhaps?) He always sees the worst in a situation and so the worst comes to pass, for him. His son sees the world through more innocent eyes. He could easily become a victim, however, his trust also helps him to see the positive things in life. His father takes him as far as he can with his point of view, the child must carry on alone, after that. Analogously, parents in general, help their children to the limits of their abilities and understanding of the world, but ultimately the kids have to form their own opinions because their parents' view is never 100% accurate for the world that their kids are born into.

Anyway, that was my take-away. In the end,I appreciate the book, but would never want to read it again.

message 84: by Kevin (new) - added it

Kevin Anderson I just re-read the ending and in the "they're going to eat the kid" and "they're going to take care of him" debate I'm on the "take care of him" side.
But I don't think that means this is a Deus ex Machina happily ever after ending which undermines the whole book. Sure the kid found new people to be with, but the world is still broken and they're going to struggle and suffer even more. That's what I get from it, that even in the best circumstances sometimes things are so bad that everything still isn't going to be ok.

message 85: by Hereabouts (last edited Dec 08, 2014 07:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hereabouts Honey That's interesting, William. Wow, we can get so much from books.

message 86: by Nick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick G Originally I did not think that I liked this book. When I finished it up I put it down and was happy that it was over. However, I found myself still thinking about the book for the next week or so. Just contemplating some of the situations that the father and son ran into and analyzing the human nature of the book as a whole. Imagining myself in those same situation, how would I react? What if I even had a son??

After thinking about the book for a while, I had to change my opinion. If a book had me thinking for a for so long (I finished the dayum thing a few months ago) it must be pretty impactful. Isn't that the point of reading? To read and analyze... Or at least that's what my English teachers always said...

Mayor McCheese Loved it. Contrary to what many commenters say, I don't think this is a book about violence or end-of-the-world or death, that's just a mechanism to illustrate the love of the parent and boy and the sacrifices they make. The setting just makes this more acute and immediate. Like Pearl or Day In Life of Ivan Denisovich, no words can be taken away or added. Pure beautiful poetic storytelling. Urgent dialogue. True to life.

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The Road (other topics)
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