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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Cormac McCarthy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
32,355137073 (4.06)1 / 1520
America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst the destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world that is utterly devastated.… (more)
Title:The Road
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Vintage, Kindle Edition, 324 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Author) (2006)

  1. 304
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (goodiegoodie)
  2. 315
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mrstreme)
  3. 251
    Blindness (Harvest Book) by José Saramago (browner56, ateolf, lilisin)
    browner56: Two harrowing, well-written looks at what we can expect when society breaks down
  4. 181
    I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (PDcastello)
    PDcastello: Same type of small and silent epic
  5. 150
    The Children of Men by P. D. James (macktan894)
  6. 130
    Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  7. 142
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JD456)
  8. 121
    On the Beach by Nevil Shute (Navarone)
  9. 122
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (skroz, goodiegoodie)
  10. 123
    No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (dmitriyk)
    dmitriyk: Written simply, with a very similar style and attitude.
  11. 169
    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (2810michael)
  12. 103
    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.
  13. 70
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (owen1218)
  14. 73
    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.
  15. 30
    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.
  16. 51
    The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (llishman, MarkYoung)
  17. 30
    Rivers by Michael Farris Smith (GCPLreader)
  18. 41
    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.
  19. 20
    The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel by Alden Bell (infiniteletters)
  20. 20
    Far North by Marcel Theroux (klarusu)
    klarusu: Far North is less harrowing than The Road but equally thought provoking

(see all 44 recommendations)


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» See also 1520 mentions

English (1,294)  French (20)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (8)  Italian (6)  German (5)  Swedish (5)  Danish (4)  Catalan (3)  Norwegian (2)  Finnish (2)  Czech (1)  Bulgarian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Polish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (1,369)
Showing 1-5 of 1294 (next | show all)
A man and a boy are travelling along a road. They are trying to avoid other people, while trying to stay alive. It turns out something has happened and most of the human population has been wiped out. The man and boy are trying to reach the coast, while trying to survive.

This was surprisingly good. It’s an award-winner (usually a bad sign for me), and I didn’t like the other book I’ve read by this author. I found it interesting that neither of the characters had a name. It was slow-moving, and often not much happened (though there were a few things that happened along the way that got the blood pumping!), but I really liked it. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 14, 2023 |
A thoroughly engrossing story of precise and spare prose. McCarthy wastes not a single word, nor wanders down extraneous tangents. He tells the brutal story of the love of a father for his son in a blasted world bereft of hope and compassion. The power of the sentences will move to you terror, despair, and longing.

At times I wanted to hide from its starkness, but being unable to put it down, I could not.
( )
  qaphsiel | Feb 20, 2023 |
Not at all what I'd hoped for, the story is akin to a broken record, lacks depth and is depressing. Adding nameless characters to the mess and no chapter breaks makes for a lackluster, ordinary tale. Can't recommend it at all in spite of not spending the time to finish it. ( )
  Jonathan5 | Feb 20, 2023 |
It’s been a while since I actually sat down and read this book. I did so the first (and last) time for a University class, and I wasn’t too disappointed, but it didn’t do much in way of impressing me either.

The novel is an early 2000s imagining of what the end of the world would look like, if the end of the world were full of soot, darkness, and cannibals. The entire narrative shifts around a father and son who, with a shopping trolley full of supplies, are trying to make it to the sea; they seem to be under the impression that getting to the sea would solve all their problems. Or at least, keep them safe.

The father and son serve as an exploration of the relationship and love between family members in times of crisis. Father will do anything to keep his son safe and as innocent as possible; son will do whatever his father asks, because he knows it’s for the best. Through their journey across what used to be America to get to the coast, they find themselves encountering death, relics of a time long gone (such as Coca Cola), death, a human race who has succumbed to the purest sense of ‘survival of the fittest’, and more death.

What I found particularly interesting about the novel isn’t the plot itself, but rather what seems to have happened before the plot. The apocalypse that has hit the world seems to be one caused by humanity’s selfishness, a selfishness that has destroyed the environment and created the desolate wasteland they inhabit now. The entire world is sooty and dark, due to either some for of chemical warfare, or humanity damaging the environment beyond repair. What’s especially interesting about the apocalypse is that it seems to have been around for a much longer time than we initially think. The son was born during the apocalypse, presumably at a time when it hadn’t escalated to the state it reached during the plot. His mother abandoned the the family when he was just a baby, presumably committing suicide because the thought of living in a world so dark and grim drove her mad. The boy has never heard of Coca Cola, despite being no older than years old, and his father talks about the stuff as if it were gold. But it all leads to one simple conclusion: this is something that has been happening for years, possible decades, and what we’re seeing now is the culmination of everything that happened into one, very desolate landscape.

Ultimately, this book served as a very crystal clear reminder of the road we could possibly be heading down. Speculative fiction is a very powerful tool – from Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to Orwell’s 1984, we’ve seen authors’ ways of imagining our future, and how bad it could possibly get. But every speculative future in fiction comes from a place that we all know we could actually get to some day. There is some truth in the speculation; otherwise, authors wouldn’t be warning us about it like this.

Final rating: 3/5. I think the fact I had to read it for a class put a bit of a damper on me, but it’s still pretty good, if only for the message it gives.

Buy it here! ( )
  viiemzee | Feb 20, 2023 |
  archivomorero | Feb 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 1294 (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 (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCarthy, CormacAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borràs, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chabon, MichaelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DuBois, GérardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hirsch, FrançoisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo Fort, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preis, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stechschulte, TomNarratorsecondary 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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Wikipedia in English (1)

America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst the destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world that is utterly devastated.

No library descriptions found.

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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