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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Cormac McCarthy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,618122044 (4.07)1 / 1341
Title:The Road
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Picador (2007), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:novel general American prizewinner fiction

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
  3. 284
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mrstreme)
  4. 171
    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. 132
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (JD456)
  8. 111
    On the Beach by Nevil Shute (Navarone)
  9. 112
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (skroz, goodiegoodie)
  10. 70
    Into the Forest by Jean Hegland (owen1218)
  11. 103
    No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (dmitriyk)
    dmitriyk: Written simply, with a very similar style and attitude.
  12. 169
    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. 72
    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. 51
    The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (llishman, MarkYoung)
  16. 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.
  17. 30
    Ashes, Ashes by René Barjavel (grimm)
  18. 30
    Rivers: A Novel by Michael Farris Smith (GCPLreader)
  19. 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.
  20. 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.

(see all 41 recommendations)


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Showing 1-5 of 1149 (next | show all)
I was expecting something a little .... more. In many ways beautifully written but too low on plot for my taste. ( )
  Janellreads | Oct 18, 2017 |
The Road by Cormac McCarthy; (4 1/2*)

When I took this book to bed with me early last night I thought I would begin it. Three hours later I had finished it. I fell into the story when I began the book.
We don't know exactly what took place but the earth as we knew it was gone and remaining in it's place was a veritable wasteland, few people, no power or communication of any kind. Of those who remained all were scrambling or hobbling along 'the road' in search of food, clean water, anything that they could find that would help them to survive. 'The man and the boy' are part of them. Trusting no one, for evil abounds in the godless territory, and ever moving Southward, the man and the boy journey along each day. The boy's childhood has been ripped from him though his father is devoted to him and loving with him. Living through one more day on 'the road' is all they have to look forward to.
When they hear others coming near them, they quickly hide until all danger is passed. The man tells the boy that there are good people out there somewhere and they will find them but until then, they can trust no one.
The man develops a chronic cough with bloody spittle that never completely leaves him. At one point the boy comes down with a fever and the man nurses him for several days before the boy rallies. When the boy regains his strength they once again take to 'the road'.
This is not really a story with a beginning and an end. It is written in a style simplistic to this reader. The way the book ended is my only critique of this one. Had it not been so pat I would have given 'The Road' a 5 star rec rather than the 4 1/2 stars that I did give it. I highly recommend it and only wish that I had read it much earlier. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Oct 12, 2017 |
Listen up, people. The author of this book has sent his story to us back through time to help us prepare for the coming apocalypse. His message is this: After the apocalypse there will be no more quotation marks. Commas and apostrophes will be in short supply. Periods will outlast them all. Please use punctuation sparingly and recycle when possible.

Ok, I’m joking. Sort of. The above paragraph was triggered by the odd punctuation choices the author made. More on that later. This is a post-apocalyptic survival story in which “the man” and “the boy” travel, more or less, down a road toward the southeast part of the U.S. Some sort of major catastrophe, the source of which is only hinted at, has blocked the sun, destroyed most life, and left ash coating everywhere. The story is basically about their travel down the road, the dangers they face, and their relationship with each other.

This book doles everything out sparingly – prose, dialogue, world-building, and even punctuation. I guess that was the purpose to the missing punctuation; it was an attempt to fit with the style of the writing itself. I couldn’t find any deeper message to it, anyway. It was a little distracting at first, but it wasn’t usually too difficult to follow, especially since there were usually only two characters.

The dialogue sometimes consisted of several short lines of one to five words each running down the page, alternating between the boy and the man. It’s one reason the book was such a fast read; there just weren’t that many words on a page, especially not during the sections of dialogue. I kind of liked the dialogue, though. I felt like there was a lot being said with those few words, that they knew each other so well that they didn’t have to express themselves verbosely to get a point across.

The spare world-building bugged me a little, though. We don’t even know the boy’s age, or how long it’s been since the apocalypse, or what exactly happened, although we do get some hints on the latter. We don’t know how widespread it is. We don’t know how people survived the initial event, or why so few did. The book seemed to be about conveying an experience, and a relationship, and it did so in a very impactful way, but the story itself wasn’t very satisfying to me. It was a quick read that held my attention, but I wanted more meat.

The world itself, however is painted very vividly. I read about half of this book on my deck where I could enjoy the fresh air, sunlight, and green things as an offset to the bleak, dim, ash-filled setting my head was filled with. Future readers may also want to have fresh water and fruit handy… ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Sep 25, 2017 |
Good, but maybe not worth all the hype that it's been getting. Not (at least for me) the powerful, life-changing story that I expected from a Pulitzer Prize winner. ( )
  writertomg | Sep 6, 2017 |
desolante, criptico, angosciante, inquietante,.... ma da leggere ( )
  SirJo | Sep 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 1149 (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.

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