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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Cormac McCarthy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,183120544 (4.07)1 / 1329
Title:The Road
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Vintage Books (2007), Paperback, 287 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Pulitzer, USA

Work details

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

  1. 293
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (goodiegoodie)
  2. 250
    Blindness by José Saramago (browner56, ateolf, lilisin)
    browner56: Two harrowing, well-written looks at what we can expect when society breaks down
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    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mrstreme)
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    The Children of Men by P. D. James (macktan894)
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    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JD456)
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  9. 102
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (skroz, goodiegoodie)
  10. 103
    No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (dmitriyk)
    dmitriyk: Written simply, with a very similar style and attitude.
  11. 70
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (owen1218)
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    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (2810michael)
  13. 83
    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (psybre)
    psybre: Earth Abides, a classic post-apocalyptic novel published in 1949, is a bit less dark, and as an ecological fable, contains more science than The Road. When pondering to read The Road again, read this book instead.
  14. 40
    The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Kosinski & McCarthy were born 5 weeks apart in 1933 and were ages 6-12 during WWII. Both books are dark violent fables told from a child's view.
  15. 51
    The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (llishman, MarkYoung)
  16. 20
    I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman (Tanglewood, tottman)
    tottman: Both are dystopian novels with engaging and driven main characters. They are bleak but extraordinarily moving and compelling.
  17. 30
    Rivers: A Novel by Michael Farris Smith (GCPLreader)
  18. 30
    Ashes, Ashes by René Barjavel (grimm)
  19. 52
    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: Two post-apocalyptic masterpieces, with much of their power coming from their focus on a couple of characters and the exotic horrors that threaten them.
  20. 20
    In A Perfect World by Laura Kasischke (bdav1818)

(see all 40 recommendations)


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English (1,133)  French (19)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (8)  Italian (6)  German (5)  Danish (4)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (3)  Norwegian (2)  Finnish (2)  Czech (1)  All (1)  Bulgarian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Polish (1)  All (1,206)
Showing 1-5 of 1133 (next | show all)
It's a very rare occasion that a book strengthens my passion for reading, but The Road by Cormac McCarthy reignited my passion when I wasn't even aware it had dimmed. Thanks to the kind sir at Old Man Berkin's Bookstore in Breckenridge, CO for recommending this dark gem of a book ( )
  Derby_Lane | May 24, 2017 |
I am at a loss as to how this one won a Pulitzer. But then, I guess I can imagine visions of new age pseudo-intellectuals swilling Cabernet Sauvignons (never Merlots!), fond of drawling "Yaas..." over a square of BLUE on a blank white canvas, being convinced this is something substantial and pontificating to the world "We have our new Hemingway!" I'm not a fan in any way of Hemingway, but it is clear he actually put thought into what he wrote.

There is little to say about this dull, plodding, uninspiring, simple story. The characters are less than one dimensional...with a too obvious and still weak attempt at an emotional appeal that falls flatter than ...flat. There is essentially no plot, and the dialogue, such as it is, reflects the lack of plot and character development. If McCarthy was going for minimalist, he could have done the reader the favor of something akin to the nonsense of Jonathan Livingston Seagull - fewer words to convey the lack of a vision worth sharing. I expect fans to say I missed everything. I think that nigh impossible as there was no "everything" to miss. I should be kind and give this two stars, but it isn't close to good and I really didn't like it.

I understand there was a movie. Why? Or more to the point, How? ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
I was actually disappointed by this book. The was basically the same story told over and over again, and nothing really that interesting happens, and the ending feels like a cop-out. ( )
  ceh3167 | May 1, 2017 |
WOW, if you have not read this book you absolutely must read it. I read it in three days. I don't think it would have taken me that long except that I had to work and my husband doesn't let me read in bed (per doctor's orders, but I digress).

Yes, this book is sad. Yes, this book has some horrific scenes. BUT the love in this book that the man has for the boy is beautiful and overpowers the rest. But you need the sad and horror (not horror as in Friday the 13th, but real, scary what humans will do to other human kind of horror) to uplift the love of the man for his boy. I don't think you could have a book where everything is fine and still get the same intensity of a father's love for his child and the lengths he will go to to protect that child and keep him alive and safe.

The book is written almost in a minimalistic sense, as if the book's landscape crept into the writing - sparse, dark. If there's nothing to see, what's to write about? However it is still a beautifully written novel.

I had said to my husband the other day, after reading World War Z for the second time that I wanted a dystopian novel to read (not that WWZ was dystopian...I just couldn't find the right word for moody, dark, end of the world...). I was sick and grabbed the first book from a bin of books in my room. This was it. I'm so glad I got sick otherwise I think i might have shied away from reading this amazing novel.

I don't care for the end. Mostly because I didn't want it to end. Not because of anything that happened, just that I wanted this sad little adventure to go on, for the boy and man to find some blue water and other people and some sort of paradise and safety. But I know that if that is how the book ended I would have said, "WHAT?! That's ridiculous!!"

This book was so real. I won't be seeing the movie. I think Viggo probably did a good job, but this book is just to brilliant for me to watch how the movie will mess it up.

From Goodreads.com: Profoundly dark, told in spare, searing prose, The Road is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, one of the best books we've read this year, but in case you need a second (and expert) opinion, we asked Dennis Lehane, author of equally rich, occasionally bleak and brutal novels, to read it and give us his take. Read his glowing review below. --Daphne Durham

Guest Reviewer: Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane, master of the hard-boiled thriller, generated a cult following with his series about private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, wowed readers with the intense and gut-wrenching Mystic River, blew fans away with the mind-bending Shutter Island, and switches gears with Coronado, his new collection of gritty short stories (and one play).

Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. --Dennis Lehane
(less) ( )
  wendithegray | May 1, 2017 |
The man and boy travel a dark and dismal road.

It can be confusing since no one has names. Had to pay attention to know which "he" was being spoken of. ( )
  nx74defiant | Apr 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 1133 (next | show all)
But McCarthy’s latest effort, The Road, is a missed opportunity.
With only the corpse of a natural world to grapple with, McCarthy's father and son exist in a realm rarely seen in the ur-masculine literary tradition: the domestic. And from this unlikely vantage McCarthy makes a big, shockingly successful grab at the universal.
added by eereed | editSlate, Jennifer Egan (Oct 10, 2006)
“The Road” is a dynamic tale, offered in the often exalted prose that is McCarthy’s signature, but this time in restrained doses — short, vivid sentences, episodes only a few paragraphs or a few lines long, which is yet another departure for him.
Post-apocalyptic fiction isn't automatically better when written by Cormac McCarthy, but he does have a way of investing genre clichés with fine gray tones and morose poetry.
added by eereed | editA.V. Club, Noel Murray (Oct 5, 2006)
But even with its flaws, there's just no getting around it: The Road is a frightening, profound tale that drags us into places we don't want to go, forces us to think about questions we don't want to ask. Readers who sneer at McCarthy's mythic and biblical grandiosity will cringe at the ambition of The Road . At first I kept trying to scoff at it, too, but I was just whistling past the graveyard. Ultimately, my cynicism was overwhelmed by the visceral power of McCarthy's prose and the simple beauty of this hero's love for his son.
added by eereed | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Oct 1, 2006)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCarthy, Cormacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Preis, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stechschulte, TomReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Testa, MartinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This book is dedicated to John Francis McCarthy
First words
When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.
He'd not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come. It surprised him. That the space which these things occupied was itself an expectation (149).
From daydreams on the road there was no waking. He plodded on. He could remember everything of her save her scent. Seated in a theatre with her beside him leaning forward listening to the music. Gold scrollwork and sconces and the tall columnar folds of the drapes at either side of the stage. She held his hand in her lap and he could feel the tops of her stockings through the thin stuff of her summer dress. Freeze this frame. Now call down your dark and your cold and be damned.
He pulled the boy closer. Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.

You forget some things, don't you?

Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.
It took two days to cross that ashen scabland. The road beyond fell away on every side. It's snowing, the boy said. He looked at the sky. A single gray flake sifting down. He caught it in his hand and watched it expire there like the last host of christendom.
He thought if he lived long enough the world at last would be lost. Like the dying world the newly blind inhabit, all of it slowly fading from memory.
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Book description
The Road follows a man and a boy, father and son, journeying together for many months across a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape, some years – the period of time almost the same as the age of the boy – after a great, unexplained cataclysm.
Haiku summary
His world burned away,
A man walks seaward;
Tries to save the son.

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In a novel set in an indefinite, futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, a father and his young son make their way through the ruins of a devastated American landscape, struggling to survive and preserve the last remnants of their own humanity.

(summary from another edition)

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