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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road (original 2006; edition 2010)

by Cormac McCarthy (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
31,418135273 (4.06)1 / 1499
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 (Author)
Info:Picador (2010), Edition: Reprints, 306 pages
Collections:Kindle Books

Work Information

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

  1. 315
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mrstreme)
  2. 304
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (goodiegoodie)
  3. 251
    Blindness 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. 70
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (owen1218)
  13. 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.
  14. 51
    The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (llishman, MarkYoung)
  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. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 30
    Rivers by Michael Farris Smith (GCPLreader)
  19. 42
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (Boohradley)
    Boohradley: There are a lot of similarities between the plot of this book and The Road. In Parable of the Sower an adolescent girl, who suffers from hyper-empathy, makes a long journey in hope of survival in a hostile, post-apocalyptic world.
  20. 20
    The Reapers Are the Angels: A Novel by Alden Bell (infiniteletters)

(see all 43 recommendations)


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Showing 1-5 of 1273 (next | show all)

2017: the issues I had with this book on first reading still stand, but this time I realized that I had assumed that they had been living somewhere for years until they started walking some time right before the start of the novel. However, evidence in the text points to them having been on the move the whole time, or at least for a while, and definitely when the woman was still alive. I am still annoyed that we don't get to see what that life was like. Also, her dialogue is the hackiest thing ever. Speaking of death: "You can think of me as a faithless slut if you like. I've taken a new lover. He can give me what you cannot." Ugh.

2009: i love me some apocalyptic fiction, and this has been on my list since i read the blurb on the new york times bestseller list forever ago, which ran something like "father and son traverse a post-apocalyptic america." simple and to the point, which fits the book. i finally sat down with it after talking to cat in seattle, who told me you could read it in an afternoon. though work got in the way of all-in-one-sitting reading, i probably could have read it in an afternoon and then started again and read it again by evening.

in fact, i wish i hadn't just given it to my co-worker, as i would like to read it again and see where it was taking me with experienced eyes. as it was, i spent most of the book waiting for one of many horrible things that might happen to happen and therefore rushed a little faster than i would have liked through the absolutely beautiful descriptions of dust, decay and desolation.

there are two things i would have liked to see more of, and here is where the possible spoilers in this review come out. one, i would like to know more of what their lives were like between the disaster, which appears to be nuclear in nature, and the time they started walking. there are some flashbacks, and some dreams of things that were, but how did they live? why, suddenly were they unable to withstand another winter where they were, as the man states in the beginning? how old was the boy when his mother went? i think it said he was ten in the story, and he was born days after whatever killed everything, so what was it that they did in between?

two, when the man makes the thief who took their cart hand over everything he had, thereby condemning him to certain death, i would have liked more rumination on whether or not they had crossed the line from good guys to bad guys. the son is obsessed with being good, and the constant clash that obsession has with the need to survive was one of the most interesting aspects of the book for me. as it was, the boy cried and didn't talk much, and then they went on.

the end was actually a little happier than i would have liked/expected, but i guess that is some small relief after such unrelenting sadness.

so, all in all, good book. good post-apocalyptic book. good. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world. Query: How does the never to be differ from what never was?

Whenever I read good dystopian literature, I am always convinced that I would rather be at ground zero and gone immediately than to deal with what comes after. In Cormac McCarthy’s depiction of what would occur after the ultimate world destruction, a man and his son are survivors trying to find their way back to something that might resemble civilization.

Although the father tells the boy there are other “good guys” out there, the further into this story I wandered, the more I doubted the truth of that statement. Perhaps the most harrowing thought was that this did not seem improbable as an end of the world scenario. After all, he who is ruthless will most likely survive he who is not.

I can’t really say this is an enjoyable book, but it is thought provoking and makes you hope that man will be wiser in the end than our imagination forebodes. I wonder if there is the kind of strength in people today that would allow them to deal with this kind of hardship. I know there would not be that kind of strength in me.

He walked out in the grey light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in the their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.

I know there are those who do not care for this book. It is bleak, sad and scary. However, forewarned is forearmed and lightness in a book on this subject would be misplaced.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Who doesn't like a good post-apocalyptic story? The hard part about picking out a good one is that so many of them have the same archetype. The lonesame stranger who is super cool and seems to be able to get himself out of any jam. The love interest he has to save. The ending that leads either to another story in the universe or somehow the hero is able to inspire a new society to form. The book...ya, it's a little bit different than that. The tone right from the beginning is best described as "grey" and "dreary" and "cold". The outlook is pesimistic and the overall story doesn't really have a clear cut motive other than "to the sea and then south". It has a great father and son story arc which I always have a soft spot for. The story is gripping and quick paced without relying on action spots to satisfy you. In fact, I found myself hoping that nothing would happen to the father/son when they searched for food or camped out or saw people. That to me, is proof that the book was great. The writing style, lack of chapters, unknowing just how much time has gone by from one paragraph to the next gives you an uneasy sense that fits in great with the subject matter at hand. Very little is known about how the world got the way it is or what exactly if happening in the bigger picture of things which is perfect because all you care about is the father and son. Such a fun read. I finished it (about 300 pages) in about three hours. I had to stop to get a snack because I felt really bad about the characters not having anything to eat for most of the book. Final Grade - A ( )
  agentx216 | Aug 1, 2022 |
Stark and horrifying. A must read. ( )
  vpor1222 | Jul 21, 2022 |
Extremely bleak, very disturbing, beautifully written and absolutely riveting. ( )
  Luziadovalongo | Jul 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 1273 (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 (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCarthy, Cormacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chabon, MichaelAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DuBois, GérardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hirsch, FrançoisTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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