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The Road by Cormac McCarthy
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The Road (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Cormac McCarthy

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24,821118844 (4.07)1 / 1294
Member:davidw
Title:The Road
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Picador (2007), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Read
Rating:*****
Tags:2009, post-apocalyptic, 2014

Work details

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

Recently added bydmbkel41, dingesa27, thebigidea, dwalker86, MeggyH, dmmuir, private library, Khaworth, escorpius, Keelz09
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English (1,118)  French (19)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (8)  Italian (6)  German (4)  Danish (4)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (3)  Finnish (2)  Norwegian (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  English (1)  Polish (1)  English (1,189)
Showing 1-5 of 1118 (next | show all)
Slow, dull, and simplistic. This post-apocalyptic story of "the power of love" never develops beyond an account of what the unnamed man and his son eat, where they sleep, and how many times they run into "the bad guys." (They, of course, are "the good guys.") There's little character development, no explanation of the apocalypse that left so many people alive but destroyed societies, killed off all animals, and left the oceans gray. McCarthy's prose is simple, but with this failure of a plot it's hardly engaging. He uses strange punctuation that has no clear purpose (such as leaving out apostrophes, but only some of the time), and in fact distracts from the dull plot. The story is depressing, with a mood of apathy, sprinkled with occasional scenes of horror (infants roasting over a fire). It's not clear what the author is trying to achieve with this novel, but it certainly does not succeed as a powerful tale of love, with characters who are neither complex nor interesting. The novel is thankfully short; it leaves the reader bored, slightly appalled, and glad it's over when it ends.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
"The road crossed a dried slough where pipes of ice stood out of the frozen mud like formations in a cave. The remains of an old fire by the side of the road. Beyond that a long concrete causeway. A dead swamp. Dead trees standing out of the gray water trailing gray and relic hagmoss. The silky spills of ash against the curbing. He stood leaning on the gritty concrete rail. Perhaps in the world's destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldy secular. The silence."

This pretty much sums it up. I loved the eerie feeling reading this book gave me. I liked that the exact reason for the way things were was never fully explained. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
The plot line was a bit dull, but I kept reading because I wanted to find out more about the characters and how the world got to be in this state. It was interesting and compelling, but I never really got all the answers I wanted. The strength of the little boy was incredible. I couldn't even imagine surviving the ways he has and is going to have to. ( )
  aurorapaigem | Nov 23, 2016 |
The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel taken to the very extreme, in which anything remotely human or emotive has been stripped away or shrunk to near irrelevance. The effect is to leave the reader an emotional husk, almost as burnt out as the wasteland through which its two characters slog, dogged and machine-like. As a glimpse into what it would be like to really live in such times, McCarthy achieves an almost prescient power. But as a reading experience it's hollow and unsatisfying.

Part of this is a stylistic problem. McCarthy writes in a spare, bare bones style that occasionally works, but too often slips into pedestrian descriptive prose in which minor actions are laid out with all the elegance of a shopping list: "The man opened the box and took out the flare gun and loaded the flares into the flare gun and closed the box and went outside." Simple, sure, but lacking in any sort of concision. Too much of the book is written in this dead, flat manner that it starts to become distracting. The other thing is the fragments. "Burnt out cars by the side of the road. Ash on the trees. A cold wind blowing from the north-east." And so on. Effective in spots, but overused here. Its few moments of stylistic excellence, when they occur, are searing and razor sharp, but they're isolated things, and don't really serve to alleviate the general tedium of the whole.

The other is the characterisation. Simply put, the two main characters, a father and son, are an extremely unlikeable pair, lacking any sort of real chemistry. The son, especially, is an irritating little brat who constantly recoils from danger (both real and imagined) with unerring regularity, yet who lacks in any sort of real human quality. You could replace him with a talking dog and it wouldn't make much difference; they more or less display the same traits and level of intelligence. The man is a little better, but not a strong enough protagonist to carry things on his own. Their dialogue exchanges, whilst realistic to a degree, are inane beyond belief, and give us no insight into their relationship past the most superficial level.

I won't talk about the plot because there isn't one. Nothing concrete anyway. Just a lot of aimless wandering and encounters with various threats along the way. But this is par for the course with most post apocalyptic fiction, where the experience is more the thing. McCarthy paints a very vivid portrait of the sort of hell that this planet may one day become, and for that he deserves kudos, but that's about the most I can say about it.

Disappointing and not nearly as good as advertised. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel taken to the very extreme, in which anything remotely human or emotive has been stripped away or shrunk to near irrelevance. The effect is to leave the reader an emotional husk, almost as burnt out as the wasteland through which its two characters slog, dogged and machine-like. As a glimpse into what it would be like to really live in such times, McCarthy achieves an almost prescient power. But as a reading experience it's hollow and unsatisfying.

Part of this is a stylistic problem. McCarthy writes in a spare, bare bones style that occasionally works, but too often slips into pedestrian descriptive prose in which minor actions are laid out with all the elegance of a shopping list: "The man opened the box and took out the flare gun and loaded the flares into the flare gun and closed the box and went outside." Simple, sure, but lacking in any sort of concision. Too much of the book is written in this dead, flat manner that it starts to become distracting. The other thing is the fragments. "Burnt out cars by the side of the road. Ash on the trees. A cold wind blowing from the north-east." And so on. Effective in spots, but overused here. Its few moments of stylistic excellence, when they occur, are searing and razor sharp, but they're isolated things, and don't really serve to alleviate the general tedium of the whole.

The other is the characterisation. Simply put, the two main characters, a father and son, are an extremely unlikeable pair, lacking any sort of real chemistry. The son, especially, is an irritating little brat who constantly recoils from danger (both real and imagined) with unerring regularity, yet who lacks in any sort of real human quality. You could replace him with a talking dog and it wouldn't make much difference; they more or less display the same traits and level of intelligence. The man is a little better, but not a strong enough protagonist to carry things on his own. Their dialogue exchanges, whilst realistic to a degree, are inane beyond belief, and give us no insight into their relationship past the most superficial level.

I won't talk about the plot because there isn't one. Nothing concrete anyway. Just a lot of aimless wandering and encounters with various threats along the way. But this is par for the course with most post apocalyptic fiction, where the experience is more the thing. McCarthy paints a very vivid portrait of the sort of hell that this planet may one day become, and for that he deserves kudos, but that's about the most I can say about it.

Disappointing and not nearly as good as advertised. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 1118 (next | show all)
But McCarthy’s latest effort, The Road, is a missed opportunity.
 
Like Steinbeck, McCarthy shepherds his protagonists from an apocalypse of man's making into a hell where man himself is the scourge. Like Steinbeck, McCarthy never holds more than a fistful of scavenged victuals between his heroes and death. And like Steinbeck, McCarthy conjures from this pitiless flight the miracle of unswerving humanity. Astonishingly, this is a book about grace.
added by eereed | editThe Telegraph, Chris Cleave (Nov 12, 2006)
 
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)
 

» 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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Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
(miken32)

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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.

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