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

by Cormac McCarthy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
27,975127469 (4.07)1 / 1416
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)
Member:krranky
Title:The Road
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Recorded Books (2006), Audio CD
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

  1. 304
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (goodiegoodie)
  2. 305
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mrstreme)
  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. 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. 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. 113
    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. 93
    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. 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.
  16. 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.
  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. 31
    Ashes, Ashes by René Barjavel (grimm)
  20. 20
    Far North: A Novel by Marcel Theroux (klarusu)
    klarusu: Far North is less harrowing than The Road but equally thought provoking

(see all 43 recommendations)

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English (1,203)  French (20)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (8)  Italian (6)  German (5)  Danish (4)  Swedish (4)  Catalan (3)  Norwegian (2)  Finnish (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  Bulgarian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (1,275)
Showing 1-5 of 1203 (next | show all)
Cormac McCarthy earned the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for this novel. It is a calm, measured, and thoughtful story about surviving, isolated and alone, on an earth that's no longer nurturing. Unrelentingly bleak. An apocalyptic event of some kind—just what is never revealed— has devastated the earth, killing plants and animals alike, clouding the atmosphere to hide the sun, blanketing the land with ash. Two characters—identified only as "the man" and "the boy", though clearly they are father and son—are walking on a road, pushing a grocery cart packed with blankets, basic tools, and supplies, passing through barren terrain. Nothing living. They're accompanied by fear, loneliness, hunger, and cold. Their destination is the southern coast, which the man thinks is the likeliest place for survivors to gather.

Superficially, the story is about keeping as warm as possible, finding food, spending nights in safe, hidden, dry spots. Occasionally, they cross paths with other survivors, but the man wants to avoid them at all costs. Because others, like them, are driven to find food and water, newer shoes and clothes, anything. Survival is a powerful force. Kill or be killed.

The true heart of the story is the relationship between father and son, the concern displayed by each for the other. Each having flashes of anger or fear, momentary urges to just run away, conflicts about the next step in any situation. Should we enter this seemingly abandoned house to look for useable stuff—food, water, blankets...anything overlooked by previous scavengers? Should we briefly separate...the man searching the house, the boy staying outside, alone, and thus vulnerable? Should we just move on? More than anything else, the man is focused on the boy: Keeping the boy safe, as well clothed as possible (under the circumstances), warm and dry. Keeping the boy fed. Keeping the boy as healthy as possible, allowing enough rest and sleep. Giving the boy "space" to sort out his worries and fears, his disagreements with his father. Persuading him to try, to keep going.

The telling is low key. No histrionics. No fireworks. Just spare sentences.

Two thumbs up from me.
  weird_O | Feb 28, 2020 |
This was so incredibly hard for me to read. I didn't like the format very much and it didn't grab my attention enough. It was an alright storyline but there was no real ups or downs that kept me interested. ( )
  vickimarie2002 | Feb 19, 2020 |
The story of a father and son in a post apocalyptic world covered with ash. They are walking south to an unidentified ocean in the winter in search of others who "carry the fire." The time line of this story was difficult to follow with intermittent flashbacks. While they found canned food (including butter?!) the book led one to believe that it was years past the apocalypse itself. Fallen leaves on trees that were dead, and other things drew me away from the love they shared and their determination to survive. Also the author used the word "in" for "on" eg "in the floor" vs "on the floor" and I was bothered. Short, choppy style. McCarthy fans loved this book, and it won a Pulitzer prize, but it wouldn't have had my vote. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
Is this the best dystopian story ever written...?!? Could be! A man and his son travel the wastelands of America, trying to stay alive and up against the worst that has become of mankind since the occurrence. It's warm and human at times, and at other times truly and terrifyingly believable. It's the best and worst of humanity presented in raw and uncompromising prose. Already a classic.
  DevilStateDan | Feb 11, 2020 |
By God this is bleak. But beautiful. I'd decided early on that [spoilers], so in a way, it's almost optimistic.

As a post-script, after finishing it, it seemed to crop up across media, all focusing on _that_ scene, so I'm glad I had the chance to read it first.

As a second post-script it's come up again in comparison to John Lanchester's The Wall and described as dystopia for middle-aged dads. Apt.
  thenumeraltwo | Feb 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 1203 (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 (15 possible)

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