The Road by Cormac MccarthyThe Road by Cormac Mccarthy

The Road

byCormac Mccarthy

Paperback | March 28, 2007

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The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

New York Times Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year
The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Denver Post, The Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, New York, People, Rocky Mountain News, Time, The Village Voice, The Washington Post
Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, screenwriter, and playwright who has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A number of his works have been adapted into films, including All the Pretty Horses, The Road, and the four-time Academy Award–winning No Country for Old Men.
Title:The RoadFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.2 × 0.9 inPublished:March 28, 2007Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307387895

ISBN - 13:9780307387899


Rated 5 out of 5 by from So very good I finished this book a couple of days ago. While I usually write a review shortly after finishing a book, I couldn't with this book. It's so rich, touching, haunting, it says something between the lines. It left me without concrete thoughts to review and required some time to let things settle in my brain. The world in this book is sparse, the writing style is sparse. It works well together. The world comes alive through the sparseness of the words. How would we react in a world that is bleak, bare, dangerous? Cormac McCarthy has a way of writing that brings the bleakness& bareness of this world alive, while somehow keeping a sliver of hope. It's wonderfully done. This is a story that will remain with me.
Date published: 2018-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! I rarely enjoy dystopias, but this book was so well written and so unique I couldn't help falling in love with it
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read! I love this book however it did take me a while to get into. But overall a really good novel.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good book good read although I'm not a fan of the the style in which it is written
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my faves! I highly recommend this book you learn a lot about the 2 main characters and it was just so good that I bought the movie!! YOU MUST READ!!
Date published: 2018-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read, but sad Great bond and relationship between the father and son in the book. Apocalyptic books always have a melancholic feel to them, so you need to be in the right mood to read this book. Overall, would definitely recommend!
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written I really enjoyed this novel. I understand some people can't handle the pace but I felt it fit the story. I couldn't put this book down!
Date published: 2018-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow I am thrown off by the bad reviews on this book...disregard them! I read this book in 1 sitting and fell in love. I have never been brought to tears by a book and this one did it for me the first time. It is a touching bond told about father and son. A must-read.
Date published: 2018-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Return to this again and again One of the great novels of our time. I have read The Road twice in full and have revisited parts of it countless times. Yes, it's dark, but McCarthy's prose and the vision he puts forward through the relationship of the father and son add real beauty to the tale.
Date published: 2018-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good A interesting (but sad) dystopia story. I like this type of novel so would recommend.
Date published: 2018-05-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I can handle sad - but this book didn't really seem to go anywhere. Maybe I'm not literary enough.
Date published: 2018-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my favourite book i read this book for an English lit class last summer and it made me cry. it's been nearly a year and just thinking about the book still makes me feel all types of emotions because it is as beautiful as it is bleak. this book sticks with you for a long time after the first read.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good but depressing A heart wrenching look at humanity. The novel is very bleak and doesn't present much hope for the human race in a world that is decimated. The stream of consciousness writing style is one that draws me in - what is going to happen next. I read this novel for an adaptation to film class. The 2009 film is not faithful to the book as it is offers some hope at the end.
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fathers and Sons This was a deep and philosophical read. The story of a father trying to protect his son during the end of world shows the strength of human endurance the will to survive. Really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2018-03-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dissapointing I had high hopes for this book but it was so bleak.
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from No breaks The lack of punctuation and breaks that you would normally find in print made this an exhausting read. I never felt like I could stop even though I wanted to. This book is very depressing, would not recommend unless it's part of a required reading list. I never felt a connection, or sympathy towards the characters.
Date published: 2018-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Liked It Mind you I have read better dystopian novels but this was good. I watched the movie first and of course it was a tad more exciting.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favorite book of all time It's bleak and heartbreaking, but the way it's written gives you the feeling of how empty the world is. It's wonderful
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from /sadface It's heartbreaking but I enjoyed it still..!
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Horrifyingly depressing This is quite possibly the most depressing book I've ever read. It is relentless. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. It's just horror upon horror upon horror with no respite. The writing style - which is almost train-of-thought with no real speech tagging - just emphasises the dreary monotony of the book. I'd say the book is very well-written, but given the subject matter, I don't think I would recommend it to anyone.
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Road by Cormac McCarthy I have picked up this read over and over again because it is such a beautiful symphony of words strung together to capture every human emotion. It turns an un-relate able event into an every day occurrence and keeps you sucked in every second. Every word is a breath of fresh air and the writing style is very unique.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from difficult but ... worth it - great story and characters
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing really good book, depressing, and good. and nice, well written
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read Easy and quick to read. Overall I enjoyed it, quite suspenseful and paints a bleak dystopian world. Despite how gray the world is, the relationship between this father and son is so strong and hopeful and helped me get through reading it. I found the dialogue at times difficult to read when it was very long because it is simply lines back and forth between the two characters and I had to re-read it a few times to remember who was saying what.
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read Overall enjoyed it, easy to read. At times because of the way dialogue is structured and I often had to re-read it to figure out who was saying what. Very tense, and does its job of painting a bleak dystopian world. I found the ending to be a little abrupt, but otherwise well written.
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It Was Okay So I heard a lot of good stuff about this book. I bought it for my boyfriend and he loved it so I decided to read it. In my opinion it was not worth the hype. The story is very repetitive, the same kind of stuff keeps happening to the father and son. They run out of food and then they find more food. That kind of stuff. I also found that there was almost no emotion to the story. I basically read it in a monotone voice because I really didn't feel anything. The ending was predicable, no surprises there. It was a quick read for me though so that was good.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Mediocre story and really awkward to read with no punctuation a lesson in the importance of grammar I suppose
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth the Hype! I understand why some people were really frustrated with this book, but I loved it! I found the writing style added to the gloomy atmosphere of the book. It is a quick read, but I found it to be just the right length for the topic. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is into reading dystopic fiction.
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sad Rather than the dystopian setting this book is about the relationship of a father and son
Date published: 2017-07-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Pleased Read this book with high expectations, all of which fell short on the third page. Dry and repetitive, which I think was why I had so much trouble getting through it.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from On the road again I think this is the most depressing book i've ever read. It starts mid way through in some post-apocalyptic world. We don't find out what happened to get them there. Its just this kid and his dad walking across the country in search of a warmer climate. And obviously food and stuff. Then it ends the way it started- vague, confusing, just there. Maybe the movie was better?
Date published: 2017-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark and gritty This novel is dark and gritty, but very well written. A fine work.
Date published: 2017-06-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from 2.5 Stars It was okay, but did not live up to all the hype.
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the relationship between father and son that transcends any genre This is the book that made me love reading again. It was the first book where I started reading and listening to the audiobook at the same time. You don't care about how much of the backstory is given or how many names are used. This is all about the story and that is all it needs to be about. If you're a parent or a child, you will be able to relate to the struggles that take place. If you do not cry while reading this book, you're not human. Cormac McCarthy pulls the tears out of places you did not realize exist in your soul. This may take place in a Post-Apocalyptic world but it is the relationship between father and son that transcends any genre you can place it in.
Date published: 2017-05-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Saddening I had to read this book for a university English class. I didn't expect to enjoy it and read it as much as I did. It was an interesting take on life after the end of the world, and the strong bond between a father and son.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from 1/5 This was one of the worst books I have ever read. I had high expectations but they fell short. It was very repetitive I think that is why it was so hard to get through.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking Characters: well thought out Relationships: beautiful Feels: yes Relatable: nope Pace: ok I guess... Boring parts: a few Worth the Read: yeah
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Premise, Too Heavy on Exposition The Road takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting. which is always fascinating to me because it serves as a backdrop for exploring human nature. But while the premise is great, the story itself is largely uneventful and relies too much on exposition. I understand that exposition is used for environmental storytelling, but I felt that there could have been a better balance between exposition and human interaction.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from can't put it down This book was a quick read because I could not put it down. It grabs you and you are part of the story.
Date published: 2017-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My new favourite book. This book was unlike anything I ever read before. Yes, it's not a "feel good" book but it's pages will stick with me for a long time after reading it. Very memorable, which to me means it's a great book.
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not for everyone The book is difficult to get through--not because it's boring but because the context is difficult to stomach at times. Nonetheless, an intriguing read
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book I bought this book around a year ago and it is absolutely incredible. The style and tone McCarthy writes in really allows the readers to imagine what is happening in the novel. McCarthy's version of the post apocalyptic world is terrifying yet the story line is logically realistic.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very hard to read, but worth it While this isn't my favourite book, I am very glad I read it. It's evocative and powerful while simultaneously trying not to be in light of the circumstances. The repression of feeling is part of the story, but there is a wealth of emotion in light of this.
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A bleak read This is a great book, but bleak. Definitely not for those looking for an easy read, although the pages do turn quickly
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Book! This book came out in 2007. If you haven't yet read it, you are in for a treat! First, the way and style that it is written is so interesting. The story is told in short fragments. It is the incredible story of a father and son walking through America, destroyed and cold. How did it happen? What will happen to them? You won't want to put it down. Five stars!
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible and different An engaging novel. Great story.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh There was the odd scene that was well written, but not so many as to warrant reading the book in its entirety. It took me a while to get used to the way speech is presented is this book, and I still found myself having to reread large swathes of conversation to figure out who was talking. The language and plot felt strained in the most unpleasant of ways. I usually enjoy the genre of post-apocalyptic survival, but I felt like 'the Road' was missing something crucial. Would recommend 'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel instead.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Good ** spoiler alert ** It was good. Starting off slow and I didn't think I would enjoy it that much but then I started to really feel for the world and the story and characters. Some of the writing was a little awkward but I felt like I shared the struggle with the characters. I wanted them to eat and rest and live and it was devastating with how it ended with the Father died. He tried so hard and it was for nothing. I also got emotional when the thief tried to run with the stolen goods. They wanted to live but they didn't know how or why and I can relate to that deeply.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting and Depressing at the same time There are some parts that are interesting, many quotes have stuck in my head till this day. This book is depressing but it also makes you appreciate your life more. Great read
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Equal parts haunting and inspiring This book will haunt you long after the last page is turned. Cormac McCarthy offsets the bleakness and cruelty of a dystopian setting with unconditional love, sacrifice and the optimism of the human soul. A must-have on any shelf, whether you are a fan of post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels alike.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Keep carrying the fire! This is a beautiful book. Yes, it's melancholy, dark and sometimes depressing. But it shows us that it doesn't matter how much the world is crumbling around us--you've got to keep carrying the fire!
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Great The concept was great but the execution was lacking. I found the writing style to be quite childish which was distracting.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular book Easy and quick read for anyone. Overall, fully recommend it.
Date published: 2016-12-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Bailed I tried really, really hard to like this book. I enjoy reading dark books so it wasn't the subject matter that got me. When it came down to it I just couldn't connect with the book as a whole, the characters, the language....anything. I forced myself to read well over half, but then I bailed. I can see that some people would really appreciate this style of writing though, just wish it had been me.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gorgeous Book What would you do if I died? If you died I would want to die too. So you could me with me? Yes. So I could be with you. This is a sentiment that every parent is familiar with – the relentless fear of your child’s mortality. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than the struggle to keep your child alive, other than trying to continue with life after the loss of a child. McCarthy imagines this fear in a post-apocalyptic world, as a man and his son journey together towards a hope they aren’t sure exists. I felt this book so deeply, I could imagine being in this experience with one of my kids. McCarthy’s prose is biting and elegant, and his dialogue is simple and realistic. I finished the final pages with tears streaming down my face. This is one of the most beautiful and haunting books I’ve read in a long time. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossibly Bleak and Beautiful This goes against every typical Post-Apocalyptic trope you've ever read. There is no hope. There is no help coming. And it makes for a beautifully poetic and desperately depressing read.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read it a little while ago. Atmospheric, interesting, depressing. I highly recommend it -- it's one of my favourite dystopian/post-apocolyptic books.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring A lot of people love Cormac McCarthy, but I found 'The Road' boring and depressing... which, in retrospect, might have been the point. I stopped reading about halfway through, but I might revisit it in a couple of years.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Usually not a fan sad stories, however this was done really well and was a quick read! Would recommend!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quick Read This is a good place to start with McCarthy if you haven't read anything else by him. A great balance of a page turner with detailed, masterful prose.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review From Aphonic Sarah I bought this book through a local store that does blind date books - This review is from my book blog. Where to start - The Road was dark, hopeless, and kept me engaged right from the beginning. Because of how much of a hold the book had on me, I finished in quite quickly. 'The Road' is a post-apocalyptic book, based around a father and son who are traveling across the USA. The world is burned, the sky has no color, and the water runs black. Ash and soot cover the land, and all that this father and son have is a cart full of some scavenged supplies, and a pistol with two bullets. Throw in some savage gangs who roam throughout the world, and you have an extremely intense, dark world. 'People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there.' This book, has been the most amazing, powerful, scary and by far the BEST book I have read this year. If I were to give you my top 3 books of 2014 ( That I have personally read this year), this amazing book would be number one. It kept me on the edge of my seat. There were moments and points throughout the book where I had to stop, and put it down. What I read had been emotional, or what I pictured in my mind had been so vivid that I needed to stop. The way this book was written made it very easy to picture what was going on, the world, everything. And sometimes, that was overwhelming. I should add - It's not for the faint of heart, and is extremely grim, depressing, even disheartening at points. It is by far one of the most intriguing books I have read in my life, but these type of books happen to be the type of books I love to read. My love of these dark books may differ from yours. If you are into this sort of thing, I HIGHLY recommend reading it. I give it a 5 stars out of 5. If not, I highly recommend skipping past this one. Now - The process of the 'Blind Date' was on of the best things ever! ( Didn't see my post about this, click here! ) It was an amazingly fun thing to do, and I ended up getting a book I loved! If you ever have the chance to do this at your local library or bookstore, you should 100% try it! You might get something that takes you out of your comfort level, and you might end up liking a different genre of book! Don't have a library near you or bookstore who does it, I highly suggest recommending it for them to try!
Date published: 2016-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quick Quick and easy read
Date published: 2015-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING STORY loved it... wonderful novel about love
Date published: 2015-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a fantastic read. I have not seen the movie yet, but want to see and compare.
Date published: 2015-05-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not a good book at all. I had to read this book in school as part of our "dystopian unit" and although it is a dystopian novel, I wish I had chosen another book. While this book is depressing at times, there is not a lot of emotion in this book. The characters don't have names, and this takes away a lot from the characters and the book itself. As I was reading this book, I realized that for the first half of the book, absolutely NOTHING climatic happens. You can start reading this book at pg. 100 and not miss a thing. Mind you, nothing much more exciting happens in the second half. The climax is at the end of the book and it is not something that is unexpected. Overall, I do not recommend this book because it is such a boring read and not worth your time.
Date published: 2014-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite books This is one of my favorite books of all time. I loved the way the author depicts the father-son relationship. All the psychology behind every choice the father has to make, every difficult choice he has to make to keep his son safe, that was one of my favorite part. Overall it's a great post apocalyptic book. I recommend it to everyone.
Date published: 2014-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A truly compelling read. I think I read this book in 3 sittings. Page to page, chapter to chapter - the story evolved in a way that I couldn't bring myself to stop reading.
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book The words are like poetry with a story that leaves you wondering.
Date published: 2014-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reflective and Insightful An amazing book! Strongly recommend it!
Date published: 2013-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reflective and Insightful Great read!
Date published: 2013-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hope and Hopelessness This book sat on my nightstand for years before I finally picked it up and then couldn't put it down. I can absolutely see why this book won a pulitzer. The writing style is more a series of snap shots, like a beautifully written poem, than it is an actual narrative of events. As a reader, we're given little background on why this man, who remains nameless, and his son, also nameless, are trodding through their own personal post-apocalyptic nightmare. This book was inherently sad, but the boy's innate goodness and his father's will to survive for both their sakes was inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Date published: 2013-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breathtaking Did my ISU on this book and it was a great read. There were parts that were scary, but they were kind of exciting to read. I love the style of how it was written. It can get very depressing and it made me reflect upon human nature and how we will eventually lead ourselves to this pitiful post-apalyptic state, but nonetheless the love between the father and son ultimately prove the book's hidden optimism that goodness can exist despite these devastating conditions.
Date published: 2013-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! A man and his boy set out in a post-apocalyptic world down a road, heading south to warmer climates. The world has been like this for a few years and the father decides they can't stand another winter where they are. Life is getting more and more dangerous because there is less and less food. It seems that plants and most animals haven't been able to survive the disaster, whatever the disaster is. The story paints a picture of a very stressful and weary journey for the two. The father wants nothing more than to protect his son, both from danger and from seeing things a young child shouldn't see, which is incredibly difficult in this time. The conversations between the two is quite brief but is usually filled with hope though at sometime it's forced hope. For such a grim subject, this book is surprisingly easy to read. Looking back on this book, if I were to write a post-apocalyptic book, I'd include all of the elements from this book: a journey, trying to find food, finding bad guys, etc. Yet somehow the book still seemed like it was original. I really enjoyed this read.
Date published: 2012-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Depressing A boy and his father start to travel south in search of warmer climes in a post-apocalyptic world. It has been several years since the disaster and times are hard. The father has to protect his son while trying to find food and shelter and even clothing as they go on their journey. This is the most depressing book I have ever read. But having said that I am glad I read it and it certainly makes one think about the father's and son's situation and how you would cope. Can one 'keep the world at bay' in a situation like this? Will anyone end up surviving? This book was easy to read because of the simplistic prose which was a great tool for the plot in this grey book. I hated the ending but I guess whatever the ending the hope is in the eye of the reader.
Date published: 2012-02-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Regret Reading This I know I'm going against the majority on this one, but I hated this book. Some of the images/situations were horrific and I could not get them out of my head for days - I really regretted reading it.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" We all have a very good idea of how the world is going to end: amid torrents of sulfur and brimstone, tidal waves of flame, an armageddon of carnage. Apocalypse might come in the form of an incurable pandemic, a cataclysmic meteor hitting the Earth, or some destructive variant of Mother Nature’s wrath that will cauterize the terrain and wipe out most of humankind. This will usher in the collapse of governments and societies as we know it, and the unfortunate few who will be left behind will be forced to take up arms and relapse into a primitive and pernicious brutality in order to survive. Even these, however, will come to pass as the inevitable destruction of everything and anything becomes more and more imminent. Cormac McCarthy’s tenth novel, The Road, undertakes the difficult and ultimately bleak task of contemplating the end of, well, the world. In this novel, McCarthy presents to us a dying Father and his Son, and their heartbreaking struggles in the irrevocably damaged landscape of a post-apocalyptic, unnamed country that has succumbed to an abominable nuclear winter. Armed with a pistol that has only two bullets and chased by degenerate marauders, other survivors who have turned to thievery and cannibalism, the Father and Son plod together desperately to the coast on the far side of the country, on the blind and perhaps foolish hope that they will be able to glimpse something—anything—other than gray snow, melted stumps of buildings, mummified corpses on the road, and ashes of what was once civilization. The Road, like McCarthy’s other works such as Blind Meridian or No Country for Old Men, is a challenging read. Rivaling the hand of even the foremost master of apocalyptic writing, Samuel Beckett, McCarthy’s minimalist style, influenced greatly by Hemingway, shines brightly and consistently throughout the novel, but which in turn makes it deceptively simple. He paints the calamitous state of things in stark, unflinching language that is terrifyingly beautiful and endurable only because of its integrity, as when he describes the overcast days and nights as “sightless and impenetrable. A blackness to hurt your ears with listening…. No sound but the wind in the bare and blackened trees.” Underneath his lucid, lilting prose, his spartan paragraphs, and his short, seemingly innocuous episodes lies perhaps the greatest truth of the book: that life, especially a dying life, is hardly neat or simple. On the contrary, the closer one stands to the face of death, the more morally complex one’s thoughts and decisions become. Indeed, as the Father comes to realize that his bloody coughing fits will soon take him, he begins to seriously reconsider if his moral obligation to protect his son extends to killing him instead of letting him be eaten by the cannibals around them. In the end, a father’s got to do what a father’s got to do. Perhaps it is on this unabashedly moral point that The Road succeeds immensely. It is not merely some Camusian commentary on the bleakness and futility of human existence. Evil exists, and in this context, evil is triumphant. In this make-believe but thoroughly believable world, visions of a society and its people reduced to rubble and moral bankruptcy are absurd. What is even more absurd, however, is how two people’s love for each other can see them through even the most nightmarish things the world throws at them, and how it can sustain them enough to believe that their years-long journey will end in anything but despair and defeat. As one reads the book, one begins to wonder where the long and difficult journey in the novel will end. At the end of the road, one realizes that it only leads to one place: hope.
Date published: 2011-08-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Can't Shake it off. This book haunts me and I cannot say this book is about a fathers love to his son. The whole time I am reading I am wondering why on earth they go on and then to leave his son at the end alone is not love.its weakness on the fathers part.
Date published: 2011-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting This is the story of a father and a son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. McCarthy is at the absolute top of his game here. Although not a long book page-wise, it is probably the most haunting story I've ever read. McCarthy doesn't give you one unnecessary word, but still manages to knock the wind out of his reader with their power. I will never forget this story.
Date published: 2011-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book I read this a while back but I have to say this one stays with you while. Great story, great writing, great atmosphere. I reccomend this book.
Date published: 2011-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Though The Road is set on a post-apocaliptical stage, it's not really a science fiction novel, but the story about a father and his son, and how they both struggle to survive in a world where though the human race still exists, all sign of civilization is over. It is a story about humans, about love, compassion and about never losing focus, never forget who we really are, even in the most desesperate times. The novel is writen in a third person that describes this devastated world in which the story takes place and digs into the Father's mind, showing the reader how is he the one that learns about his young son, who is always trying to keep ethic, "the good guy", and is described as to be "God's voice". The Story is amazing, and though a little bit slow to read at times, absolutely worth it, a master piece by Cormac McCarthy, really moving. The reader gets to get so close to the two main characters that it will unduobtlessly make you cry. The movie adaptation featuring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee stays very true to the original plot and the acting of both is really spectacular, touching every single heart. Absolutely recommended.
Date published: 2010-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible. I just finished the book this morning. My co-worker lent it to me knowing how much I enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction. I absolutely loved it! It's beautiful yet creepy. Horrifying yet exciting. The father and son are so deeply connected, it's heartbreaking. The minimal dialogue adds to each descriptive scene without overwhelming the details and feelings. I need to get my own copy so I can read it again!! Also, I just found out there's a movie, so I'll rent it, but in doing that I'm sure I'll need to read it once more after that to maintain my own images that I've created while reading. Whoever reads this will enjoy it, guaranteed!
Date published: 2010-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've never read I never read the book but i watched the movie truley a good plot it was kindov slow at times some action but not much and it was really disturbing becasuse the surviving humans ate the other surviving humans and killed inocent people for their own needs and the husband and sone are trying to get by without eating other people and on food that isn't there anymore because the food and vegetation is gon but i can't remember why. this movie was really good and i would recomend that people who enjoy survival movies or books to watch or probobly read this
Date published: 2010-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyone should read this book This is the most disturbing book I've ever read. It is engrossing and terrifying. I couldn't put it down, and finished it in one day. While it was definitely not an enjoyable read, I think everyone should read it. If you put yourself in the man's shoes and your child in the boy's shoes, you will change the way you live on this planet. This book changed me. That's the mark of a great book. It's not pretty, it's not fun, but it can change you.
Date published: 2010-04-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's a Long Road MacCarthy paints a very beautiful picture in a post apocolyptic world. The scenery described in the book seems so life like and i received it very well. As for the writing style i found it very boring and hard to follow. In many cases it trails off the father said are you ok? ok. ok. found i had to re-read some of the dialogue a few times to figure out who was speaking. I am looking forward to seeing the movie though, i think they might be able to do a good job with this story.
Date published: 2010-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An enjoyable session If you are someone who loves to read, and does so on regular basis then this is a fine piece of literature. very smooth reading and great flow. I enjoyed the character's very much and polished it off in just a couple days. when you really pay attention to the authors words you quickly get lost in the story. Meant for the patient reader.
Date published: 2010-02-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Strong on words, poor on plot I have a rather ambiguous opinion of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. On one hand, it’s a beautifully phrased novel, full of powerful images and rich language. On the other hand, the plot is rather pedestrian, and the author’s defiance of writing conventions is tiresome. There’s no doubt that McCarthy is a gifted writer. Many passages are profoundly beautiful and show McCarthy’s daunting command of language. He is a fabulous painter of words, utilizing an impressive lexicon. For example, the boy is described in a wonderfully figurative manner: “Knobby spine-bones. The razarous shoulder blades sawing under the pale skin” (p. 218). Quite often, individual words surprise and enrich: “rasping”, “viscera”, “dentil”, “macadam”, and so on. In an age of anti-intellectualism, where so-called “big words” expose a person to abuse like glasses do in a Khmer Rouge nightmare, McCarthy’s breadth of vocabulary is impressive, perhaps even inspiring. Finally, the relationship between man and boy seems genuine and real, and moves beyond the easy nihilism for which McCarthy is often accused. Nevertheless, many aspects disappoint. The plot is predictable and surprisingly repetitive: look down at a town or house; search town or house for food; discover amazingly well-preserved food stores just in time to avoid starvation; avoid cannibals where necessary; climb to the top of the next hill and consider the depravity of man (or at least flat caricatures of depraved beasts); repeat sequence at least four times. Indeed, the plot seems awfully amenable to a screen play, almost as if The Road was written as a novelization of a movie. McCarthy’s well-known aversion to grammar rules also grates, and I personally think it overwhelms the linguistic and emotional side of the book. I don’t really care about the lack of apostrophes or quotation marks; I get the rather bludgeoned symbolism about the artificiality (and thus fragility) of society. But the apparently random use of sentence fragments borders on the unbearable. I spent much of my time filling in the subject or the predicate, or both. Such undue effort eventually led me to skip-read much of the novel, only occasionally slowing down to savour an occasional passage. Are such rules of writing really so imposing? McCarthy seems to be saying yes, but it’s a bit like arguing that the colour scheme of traffic lights is fascistic, when such conventionality is really about moving on to more important things. In the end, the fragments and other broken rules seem like gimmicks, and convince me that McCarthy should have spent more time on plot development than the arbitrary rules of grammar. So The Road leaves me perplexed: maybe it’s his Pulitzer Prize for the novel, and maybe it’s because other people lavish such praise on his book. If Oprah loves the novel, it must be good, no? Yet for me, it has the whiff of pretentiousness. McCarthy is a great writer, no doubt, but beating up sentences and punctuation does not replace good old fashioned story telling.
Date published: 2010-01-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from long and boring long and boring
Date published: 2010-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the appeal of a train wreck you know how people respond to horrible events - they want to tear their eyes away from it, but at the same time, are compelled to look. Thats the feeling I had reading this book. I couldnt put it down, and finished it in about four hours. I was exhausted at the end, but felt so much richer for the experience. It is an entirely visceral reaction - you either get it or you dont. One thing I will definitely NOT do is see the movie. The images that reading the book puts into your head are things that I would not want to experience visually - it would be too raw, too painful and too explicit.
Date published: 2010-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure. A man and his child's journey in a besieged world. You know, I've read a lot of books in my life. I've witnessed a lot of characters who expose real emotions. But I have yet to encounter "love" as tangible as the one between father and son in Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". I could go on and on about the subtle unique things McCarthy does in the book, but they all come second to the raw emotion you feel in the relationship between these two characters. You feel love when the man stares at his son sleeping in the night. You feel love when he protects his son against the elements, enemies, and the harsh reality of this forsaken world. It's as if you are on this epic journey too. McCarthy spares no detail. Even if it is describing how the man is fixing their cart, you experience every moment to the fullest description in this work. You feel the cold, you taste the ash, you see the desolation. I finished this book in four days, and could have easily finished it in one. McCarthy's writing style encourages you to continue the journey with the characters. To feel like you are a part of the quest. "The Road" is a fresh reminder of what pure love and emotion is. How even in a world like today, we can get caught up in the drudgery and the awfulness, but can overcome it with just believing and caring in things that matter the most. I encourage everyone to make this journey.
Date published: 2010-01-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Terrible I thought this was a terrible book; so bad, in fact, I actually took it back to the book store and got my money back! Terrible! Boring story with no beginning or end and poorly written. I could hardly muddle through the poor grammar and syntax. I have NEVER returned a book before, but the thought of someone getting paid for this tripe was too much.
Date published: 2010-01-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Awful! This was one of the worst books I've ever read. It was boring from cover to cover. Would not recommend to my friends, in fact, would swear them against it.
Date published: 2009-12-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from "The long, tedious Road" a film script masquerading as a novel - the message is, "first you suffer, then you die", but for 287 unrelenting pages - bleak, boring
Date published: 2009-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not too bad!! I liked It Ok....The Road was a very good book i have to say..... in the beginning i was like omg this is sooo boring... because this novel is basically about a post-apocalyptic world and the man and the boy have to survive. In the beginning it was basically eat sleep survive which made it sort of slow. But as i read on to the middle of the book i was like hey this is not too bad....once i finished the book i was like omg this was good. There is fighting survival and alot more going on in then you think. If you are a person that likes survival and fighting this is a book for you but i should warn u some parts are disturbing and there is some fighting not alot. So get this book now it was pretty good.
Date published: 2009-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awe-struck Set in a post-apocalyptic time, this story is about a father and son and their willingness to survive, and essentially a love story in itself. I loved this book, eventhough it did start out a little slow, it is a novel I will remember for the rest of my life. What a relevant setting also, a world, detroyed by who knows what. Maybe a victim of global warming accompanied by a severe pandemic. Either way this father and son remain hopeful and their bond is inspiring. THsi novel is filled with fantastic quotes, for example: "Nobody wants to be here and Nobody wants to leave." This book will leave you will a greater sense of the world.
Date published: 2009-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! I really liked this book. It didn't have one main climax, but a few smaller ones. It kept your hopeful, and wanting to continue reading to find out what happens next.
Date published: 2009-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Both disturbing and touching. A recommended read! This novel was an exceptional read; both intimate and horrifying. Any book that is difficult to put down automatically get’s the thumbs up. It grabbed and held my attention in the first 10 pages, something even good books fail to do in the first 100. It is the first McCarthy novel that I have read and I enjoyed it more than I expected. It is the ominous and somewhat perilous journey of a father and son clinging to the hope that there is some good left in a raped and ravaged world. The story is about their continued journey down “the road” to find some sort of salvation in what used to be the United States but is now a cannibalistic, violent, and desperate, society of outlaws, nomads, rapists, murderers, and thieves. At times, The Road’s disturbing imagery is difficult to stomach, although McCarthy never goes as far as it seems he will. This probably works in his favour since at several points in the book I almost put it down because I became so afraid of what would happen next. An author who can inject a reader emotionally like that is certainly not lacking in his craft. A tool that McCarthy uses throughout the book to do this is false foreshadowing; planting seeds for things the reader assumes will happen, but never do. This adds to the suspense and fear that McCarthy creates for his audience. It also contributes to the fear of the unknown, which is a major consideration of this story. The plot doesn’t really thicken, which adds to the simplicity and nothingness that the book is supposed to make the reader feel. This book conveys more emotion than any other book I have ever read. McCarthy forces the reader to experience fear, sadness, and desperation alongside the main characters. There are a few things I didn’t like. The dialogue is difficult to follow at times and can be repetitive. Also, the use of proper names is nearly non-existent, but this seems to serve a purpose. For example, the father and son (as well as the few other characters that come along in the story) have descriptive terms to identify them rather than names; i.e. the man and the boy. The few proper names that are found are mostly brand names. One example of this is Coca Cola, when they find one last can of Coke inside a beaten vending machine in a long abandoned and pillaged grocery store. Much of the book is description as McCarthy isn’t just telling a story of loss, but also painting a picture about what post-apocalyptic America may look like. My interpretation of this book, aside from the message that the world is consuming itself to the point of complete extermination, is the true terror in the unknown. It is about the terror of being alone. It is also about the necessary attachment to god and faith when there is nothing else left to believe in. The Road is also an interpretation of raw human nature at the most desperate and destitute of times. The Road is definitely a new addition to some old favourites in post-apocalyptic literature. I look forward to reading more of McCarthy’s work down the road.
Date published: 2009-10-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from depressing I found this book to be totally depressing. An easy read but by the end of it, I felt depleted of all hope for the son's future. I won't give the ending away but to me, it wasn't worth the time to read it.
Date published: 2009-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read There are a lot of books I love, but this one tops those. What happened to the world? So easy to read, so interesting, what a journey. If anyone knows of any other stories along this line, please let me know.
Date published: 2009-08-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I didn't understand it To be honest, I don't understand this book. Their was no point to any of it. So meaningless. So insignificant. I never felt attached to any characters. Maybe it was because of the grammar and writing style. It's written in an unorthodox fashion and was a little difficult to follow. The author really used rare (and made up?) words to describe almost everything. Maybe this book was just over my head. Was still interesting enough to finish. Definately wont be for everyone.
Date published: 2009-06-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from undecided In the middle of reading this book, so far I'm not terribly impressed. I can see why many people think the author is brilliant and the book incredibly moving, however, I think it's the style of writing that gives that impression. I agree with those who have said that they found it repetitive, and full of errors. I will definitely finish the book just to say that I did, but it will not make my list of favorites!
Date published: 2009-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Unbelievable Read! Absolutely astounding and amazing...the tenderness of survival...the act of love when that love is all that there is to give. I dove into this book and it simply took over. Information that is crucial in other books, such as names and cities and reasons why the world is filled with ash, isn't needed here and in fact would take away from the intense emotional bond between father and son, parent and child. The fire that is good, that burns brightly in us, keeps the man and the boy from stopping, from giving up... The ending is gentle, expected...and pulls the tears.
Date published: 2009-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Thought Provoking Tale of the Fight to Survive Much like Oryx and Crake, this novel takes place after a disaster that wipes out most of humanity. Now it is every person for themselves. In this bone chilling tale of a father and son forced to wander the desolate earth in search of other "carriers of the fire", they are forced to face down cannibals, starvation and the elements. You cannot help but wonder what you would do if in the same position. Is it in every person to protect their child, or their loved ones? Could you do it if forced to? The author's treatment of the man's wife suggests not. There seems to be three types of people in this new world; those who did not survive, those who did but chose not to continue, and those who chose to continue to fight to survive. After reading about this horrible new world and the trials of one man and boy, it becomes more difficult to choose which group you would fall into. Thought-provoking and frighteningly prevalent, The Road is an amazing tale of survival.
Date published: 2009-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hit the Road, Jack, and.... I certainly did not hate this book, but by the end of it, I was ready for something a bit more exciting to happen. There was a lot of repetition, and the narrative between the boy and his father rarely exceeded twenty words besides "Yes" and "Okay". That being said, the book's pessimism and bleak portrayal of our future weighed on me, and compelled me to read on. Enjoy it, but I won't be surprised if this isn't everyone's cup of tea.
Date published: 2009-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting The Road is a post-apocalyptic tale about a nameless father and young son in a world after an unexplained catastrophe (possibly a nuclear war). This world is smothered by thick ash, blanketed by dark skies, roamed by bands of marauding cannibals and traveled through by survivors desperate to find survival. "He was half asleep when he heard a crashing in the woods. Then another. He sat up. The fire was down to scattered flames among the embers. He listened. The long dry crack of shearing limbs. Then another crash. He reached and shook the boy. Wake up, he said. We have to go." The writing style is very much like that of Jose Saramago's wherein the dialogues are written without quotes. Once you get the hang of it, however, the story just simply flows. The Road is a tale about savagery, despair and survival; but most importantly, it is a story about hope, the human spirit and a father's love for his son. It is hauntingly beautiful and profoundly moving. One of those books that stays with you long after you've put it down.
Date published: 2009-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Complex in its simplicity A haunting and desolate tale about a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, whilst hiding amongst dwindling numbers of “good guys” and “bad guys” in their travels south. Although the prose is choppy, the imagery is vivid as McCarthy tells the story in the third person, whereby not naming the characters they become any father and son clinging to life in this barren and colourless existence. The Road is complex in its simplicity as it conjures up thoughts of what constitutes “good” or “evil” in the face of desperation, the necessity of hope and faith in goodness, and the effectiveness of child rearing and instilled morals versus the nature of ones true, independent self. A thought provoking read.
Date published: 2008-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A dark road indeed There is no beating around the bush - this is one of the darkest, most pessimistic books ever written. In an America shattered by an unnamed apocalypse, a man leads his son along a road with no hopes other than survival. The book is propelled by McCarthy's crisp, economic writing (he's no fan of punctuation, slamming together words without hyphens and totally eschewing quotations), but there's no denying the grimness of the story. McCarthy is crying out for a dying world here, and I'm not sure he believes it can be saved.
Date published: 2008-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC Absolutely fantastic and a must for lovers of the written word. It only took 2 days to read about a man's love for his son. POWERFUL and EMOTIONAL.
Date published: 2008-10-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Talk about suspense... This book is crazy....set in an apocolypic time where the characters, with little dialogue between them, have to try to survive amongst a world filled with cannibals. I thought this book was very suspensful and disturbing at times. I'm interested to see how the movie turns out!
Date published: 2008-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written! Wow, for a story where most of the time the characters are either walking, starving or looking for food over and over and over again, it was never boring. The story kept me riveted to the pages because I kept anticipating something different was about to happen. The mood of the book was dark but somehow drew me in. I think if this same story was told by a different author's point of view it wouldn't have succeeded but Cormac McCarthy wrote this book perfectly. This journey had the undertones and atmosphere of a 'heart of darkness' type feel to me. Hope you feel the same when you read it!
Date published: 2008-09-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review of The Road The Road was quite good, but not exactly what I had expected. I would have liked to have gotten to know the father better - what had his life been like before the destruction of the earth? I was also hoping to find out what happened ... why was the earth in such a sad state? Not knowing didn't ruin the story, but it would have been interesting to find out. The style of writing didn't bother me quite as much as it bothered some people, but I did find myself rereading certain sections - it wasn't always clear whether it was the father or the son talking. Ultimately, the ending can make or break any story. McCarthy's book was quite powerful (though certainly not without flaws), but I was so dissatisfied with the conclusion that my opinion of the book changed significantly. It just seemed too convenient ...
Date published: 2008-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible read I just read this book and I have to say that it was likely one of the most disturbing books that I have ever read. Maybe disturbing is not the best way to describe it but that is how it left me feeling. I did not know what to expect, but it was nothing like I had ever read before. Is this the way it will be for us some day? Will we find ourselves like the Man and the Boy? If you havent read this book, please do. You will see why it is so acclaimed.
Date published: 2008-09-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok read I can't say I understand why Oprah chose this as one of her bookclub selections. Completly descriptive. Doesn't have a big story line. But with all of that said I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next . This book didn't leave me satisfied when it was finished. I was looking for a solid ending.
Date published: 2008-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My Gut Says The Road is Amazing. We'll See if That Lasts There is little plot in The Road, and that is good; the story is tedious, repetitious and slow, and that, too, is good; the story is about two characters and the way they love each other, and this is very good; all the information you need about McCarthy's future world is there if you want to do the work, and doing the work is also good; when it comes down to it The Road is very good no matter the complaints you may read or hear to the contrary. That is all I can wrap my head around for now. I need to let The Road settle in my consciousness to see where it will land in my pantheon of books. What I can say, though, is that it moved me deeply, the prose was a wonder, and I think it is one of the best father/son relationships I have ever encountered. If my strong feelings deepen this book will rise in my estimation; if my feelings weaken it may wound this book terminally for me. Only time will tell. But I must make one final comment: anyone who compares The Road to Blindness -- or worse, states that the latter is greater than the former -- is one whose opinions are necessarily suspect. The former is genuine, realistic, stark, unwavering; the latter is an unimaginative debacle posing as deep allegory. Read the former and steer clear of the latter.
Date published: 2008-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Dark Hope This is my first Cormac McCarthy novel and it probably won't be my last. "The Road" is a stark narrative about a man and his son navigating their way south on an unnamed interstate enroute to the coast after some unknown catastrophic event which has grayed the skies, scorched the earth and left very little life. The only people alive are scavengers who pillage, steal and eat children. Now, the uplifting part. McCarthy builds up the relationship between the man and his son providing a glimmer of hope in humanity amidst the destruction around them. The dialogue between the two is absolutely remarkable. The humanism is striking. McCarthy's writing is raw and uncompromising. He likes to contrast extremes: "Human bodies. Sprawled in every attitude. Dried and shrunken in their rotten clothes. The small wad of burning paper drew down into a wisp of flame ... in the incandescence like the shape of a flower, a molten rose. Then all was dark again" (p 47). Though the prose is short and choppy at times, it is effective in showing the simplicity between father and son: "I want to be with you. You cant. Please. You cant. You have to carry the fire. I dont know how to. Yes you do. Is it real? The fire? Yes it is" (p278). Two symbolic themes that appear throughout include "fire" and "the good people". The fire represents determination and sheer will. To have the fire is to survive at all costs. The good people represents the humanity. All humans are capable of good and evil deeds, especially when survival is at stake, but there is a sense of morality in humans, the desire to do good (but doesn't always win out). What I got out of the book was that if you are a pessimistic person by nature, you'll only see darkness. If you are optimist, you'll see light. I'd like to think of myself as "seeing the light". Overall, I think McCarthy has written a terrific book, worthy of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Date published: 2008-08-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Bad A good read... BUT for a more exciting adventure in the same setting try "Swan Song" by Robert McCammon or "The Stand" by Stephen King.
Date published: 2008-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from well.... I beleive that this book COULD have been done better, but i still think that it was pretty good. Some of the gore was unessasary but never the less it was part of the whole experience. I would still recommend this book, but i was take caution recommeneding it to age groups younger than 13.
Date published: 2008-04-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's been done better About twenty (or so) years ago I read Stephen King's "The Stand." I loved it. I have mixed feelings about Cormac's books: loved "All the Pretty Horses;" however, gave up on the trilogy while reading "The Crossing." His love of the repetitive narration can become annoying. I was interested to see how he did with this story and my verdict was...not great. Buy "The Stand" instead for an INTERESTING post-apocalyptic read. It has stood the test of time and is far the superior of these two novels.
Date published: 2008-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the greatest This has to be without a doubt the best book i have ever read. I couldn't put it down. When you are reading the book its like you are there with them watching first hand. The more you read the more you wanted to know what happened next. One of the greast books i have ever read.
Date published: 2008-03-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from a bad book in its "entirety" Eloquently writen?? it is a monolgue between two people and it is written on a 10th grade level, maybe because one of the characters is a kid or to have a broader audience. The book is monotonous, I agree with Scott Wigland, leave the imagination about futuristic world to another author. Constant rain...why does the ash not wash away? Looking for deep despair, read a book about some of the real tragedies going on if you feel like being depressed. The book is boring, has errors in it, and is a waste of time. I could not believe the positive critic he got from the news. Are those people afraid to say something negative. To compare him to Faulkner (Boston Globe) is a slap in the face to truly good authors. Gutsy and powerful storyteller (Chicago Sun) come on what was gutsy about that, read "Infidel" that is gutsy. The boys spirit is nothing unusual, he is an average kid trying to survive. Nothing extrodinary about the characters, just average people pushed due to circumstances.
Date published: 2008-03-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from One of the worst books I've read! I hated this book, there was no story to it, very disapointed since it was on oprah's list! I just finished it to see what would happen at the end and nothing happended!!!! Very boring and badly written book! DO NOT RECOMMEND AT ALL
Date published: 2008-03-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wasn't impressed I think the book was written in a barren style in order to evoke a barren mood. Well my impression was that it was a bit barren and repetitive...after awhile I got what he was doing (coulda been a short story)....didn't take long...but had to struggle to finish the book.
Date published: 2008-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from INSPIRING READ, VERY MOVING!! This novel is about two characters. A child and a father that remain nameless. This is significant and symbolic because America is hit with some apocalyptic event. They do not have any names because that was the identity of them in their past life. This is a new life that the two have to overcome and start over. They travel throughout America looking for a new spark of life and any survivors. There are zombie like cannabals out there and other obstacles thrown their way which leads to a shocking ending. Is America the only place hit? In a dark and pessimistic world, McCarthy creates a powerful bond between the father and son in a world that seems dark and bleak. Once when you get through the first 50 or so pages it flies through and it is impossible to put down. Go get this book, it is well worth the money and time to get inspired!
Date published: 2008-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from INSPIRING READ, VERY MOVING!! This novel is about two characters. A child and a father that remain nameless. This is significant and symbolic because America is hit with some apocalyptic event. They do not have any names because that was the identity of them in their past life. This is a new life that the two have to overcome and start over. They travel throughout America looking for a new spark of life and any survivors. There are zombie like cannabals out there and other obstacles thrown their way which leads to a shocking ending. Is America the only place hit? In a dark and pessimistic world, McCarthy creates a powerful bond between the father and son in a world that seems dark and bleak. Once when you get through the first 50 or so pages it flies through and it is impossible to put down. Go get this book, it is well worth the money and time to get inspired!
Date published: 2008-02-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Depressing narrative I loved McCarthy's sparse understated style, and his unflinching descriptions, but the book just made me feel sad. I absolutely ached for the boy, as a representative of a child in a world filled with terror, hunger, cold and dread. I felt the journey personally, as it dragged from one harrowing experience to the next. It left me exhausted, sad, and questioning myself "Did I miss the point?"
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing First book I read by this author, was beautiful, haunting and touching.
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply...powerful First off, I realize that I am probably one of the last people on the planet to read this book and everything that can be said likely has been said. However, in spite of this, I feel compelled to comment on this absolutely amazing and devastating book. Using a post-apocalyptic setting that has been used and abused many times over the years (most recently in the movie, "I am Legend"), the author portrays the best and worst of human nature. This novel is stark and spare; much like the landscape described in the book. However, this brings the juxtaposition of the good and evil within all of us into such sharp focus, it cannot be overlooked. Which prevails in the end? Those of you who have read "The Road" know. If there is anyone left who has not yet read it, I recommend it for its simple, yet powerful depiction of a father and son and their journey, down "The Road".
Date published: 2007-12-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Great in parts, not in whole I decided to dive into another Cormac McCarthy novel in the wake of having finished his "No Country For Old Men" and seeing how masterfully it was adapted to film by the Coen brothers. With this in mind, and seeing that his new book, "The Road" won the Pulitzer prize in fiction, I thought I was in for a treat. I was wrong. "The Road" is set in post-apocalyptic America. The world is in tatters. The days are grey with ashen haziness and the nights are bitter cold. Nothing lives with the exception of a few straggling human survivors of the fallout. In what used to be Tennessee, a father and son are making their way southeast towards the coast like desert-worn Israelites trying to find the promised land. They hope to find some sort of rescue in the form of a stable community, food on a daily basis, or even a reason to go on living. Along the way they encounter the relentless devastation of the earth and the abject depravity of mankind gone mad in a world without reason or morality. The novel is noteworthy as a grand exercise in descriptive narrative. McCarthy is a wordsmith. He paints vivid literary pictures without density or overstatement. In fact, the novel is often understated in a powerful way, especially in the dialogue which is reminiscent of Hemingway or Faulkner. His unremitting depictions of the fall of the earth and of carnal humanity are utterly dark and unflinching and help to set a brooding atmosphere that pervades the story and burdens the soul of the reader. Unfortunately the novel is as full of limitations as it is of stunning narrative. Structural problems abound, much like they did in "No Country For Old Men." There is simply no direction to be found here. The novel is a catalogue of happenings in the journey of the father and son that are interesting in themselves but that lead nowhere. This is not to mention that these occurrences are tiresomely repetitive. Father and son travel south on road. People are coming. Father and son hide. Father and son are hungry and cold. Father and son search old house. Father and son find food in the nick of time. Father and son travel south on road. Repeat five times. This is McCarthy's ludicrous formula for the entire novel. There is little suspense and no build up to any sort of interesting culmination, with a conclusion that seems entirely contrived based on what has gone on before it. The reader wonders why McCarthy does not spare us some repetition and invest some time in his characters. We get a few misplaced flashbacks into the father's past near the beginning, but McCarthy does not pursue them any further and so the reader is never really able to connect with the characters in any meaningful way. This should have been a larger concern of the author given the fact that the characters inhabit a world that is so far removed from our own. If the reader does not find any analogy in the characters, where is it supposed to be found? And what about this post-apocalyptic world? McCarthy does give us depressing descriptions of dead trees, polluted rivers and dilapidated houses, but nothing else. The reader is interested in all the things that McCarthy passes by. A caravan of marauders pass by in a diesel truck but nothing (or almost nothing) comes of it. A makeshift troop from some kind of cobbled army marches by on the road going north and are not heard from again. A child appears to them one night when they stay in an abandoned town, but they ignore it and move on. All of these occurrences inspire questions about this world, questions that go unaddressed. Finally, McCarthy cares nothing for grammatic conventions, choosing to omit apostrophes and quotation marks. He also chocks his story full of incomplete sentences (although I understand what he is trying to do with them). He also inexplicably spaces out his paragraphs like a high-schooler trying to extend a sparse essay to the required length. Whatever else "The Road" may be, I can hardly believe it is a pulitzer prize-winning novel. It is a decent story, even a prophetic commentary on where we are headed. But it is far too deficient in overall composition to be called a great novel. It is certainly profound in its parts, but not in the whole.
Date published: 2007-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant in the Extreme This book is beautifully brilliant. It was by far the best book I've ever read. It was simple and yet so profound it changed the way I see the world and my very existence. The writing is like nothing I've seen before and the fact that the pace and the style is part of the story, not just telling it, is pure genius.
Date published: 2007-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Walk The Road There is no point avoiding the fact that this is an apocalyptic story - and in keeping with other books and movies of that genre, it can be more than just a downer. Despite that, the writing provides for a fast, concise, vivid description of the experience of the main characters and I found it impossible to wrench myself away from the palpable sense of danger and despair that always looms down the road. The simplicity of the dialogue mirrors the spare world in which they now live and really lends well to the overall impact of the book. There are some disturbing scenes, but throughout I found myself wondering what it would be like should the earth come to its livable end - and so the book provides a real punch. I read it in about 3 hours so it's kind of like a bandaid - painful but fast to end. The doom awaiting us in our near future due to environmental issues makes a book like this seem even more thought provoking - let's scare ourselves into action! You should read it and see what thoughts it brings to your mind.
Date published: 2007-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from interesting This book was meant to be depressing. The bleakness, the rain, the cold, the hopelessness all converge as McCarthy wanted them to. A purgatory on earth where the dead are better off than the living. It was hard not to keep thinking this may be our world some day. The mind kept wandering off to picture myself in McCarthy's desolation and ruin.
Date published: 2007-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Story This was my first Cormac Mccarthy book, and I must say he knows how to write and keep the reader engaged. I could hardly put the book down. Great, story wish it was a bit longer.
Date published: 2007-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting This book was amazing. I was captivated from the moment I started reading until the very end. I found it extremely haunting and unsettling in his bleak and blackened descriptions. Although unnerving I think the book could not have been written any other way.
Date published: 2007-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Gripping Read A book that exposes all the visceral ugliness of humans along with a sprinkling of our beautiful qualities. All this set to the backdrop of future apocalypse from an unknown cause. No plants live and food is scarce. The relationship between man and son is put to an emotional and physical test. A must read for people who are concerned about the direction our current society is headed. This book contains a horrific possible future.
Date published: 2007-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rivetting and compelling!! The book was written in the tone the setting created: depressing, dark, stripped of all superfluous life. As naked as the trees Cormac described. A short read, but kept me engaged to the end. A faint hope that serpentined throughout the travels of the characters. On the verge of death, the starving father resourcefully finds food and shelter for him and his son, when you thought there was no hope. A true story of survival and the grotesque consequences of world destruction.
Date published: 2007-08-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Another wasted day This was the most unrelentingly depressing book I've ever read. It was monotonous and the author's writing style was dull. It might make a so-so short story but as a novel it was a waste of time.
Date published: 2007-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting The Road begins with the man dreaming of a horror that sets the other worldly tone: “And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders.” // The main characters are a man and his boy. They have no names. We know little about them. You crawl into their skin and – especially if you’re a parent – the man is you and the child your own. // Their story is full of hopelessness. It’s the scariest thing I’ve read. They wander, starving, through an ashen wasteland toward the coast, trying to keep ahead of winter. They have nowhere to go, nothing to do but survive. Everything he does is to keep the boy alive. The world is dead – the animals, the plants. The “bad guys” have resorted to cannibalism. There are some graphic passages and, as the man says to his son, once you put it in your head, you can’t take it out. // The writing style is interesting, minimal. Most sentences are short. There are no commas unless it’s absolutely necessary. There are no quotation marks. There are even contractions without apostrophes like “cant” and “dont”. // It’s the best thing I’ve read. The exchanges between the man and his boy are heartbreaking, the horrors are sickening and the situation is crushingly bleak – but they are carrying the fire.
Date published: 2007-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mesmerizing... I had never read McCarthy Before but Picked up the road because of all the hype surrounding the selection of The Road to Oprahs book club. For once the hype was worthy of the product. The road is a visionary work of art, not a masterpiece, but very well done. McCarthy's style is sharp, dry, brittle, and panoramic and pulses with human emotion. More importantly "The Road" led me to McCarthy's true masterpiece "Blood Meridian." I cannot recommend this book highly enough! On a lighter note I also recommend "Across the High Lonesome," a book set in the modern American West I picked up after seeing Larry McMurtry give it props.
Date published: 2007-06-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wasted Day I usually like this type of book, but I found reading The Road was a day wasted. There's no explanation as to what happened (no lesson learned) and no ending. This story would have been better left to Stephen King.
Date published: 2007-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A stunning read! One of the most profoundly moving books I've read in a long, long time. Riveting in it's detail and insight into the human condition.
Date published: 2007-05-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What's all the hype about???? Sorry but i do not get what the big deal is about this book. It was recommended by a few people and I was really looking forward to reading it. But I totally struggled to finish it (which rarely happens to me), I found it depressing, and dull, and incredibly repetitive. The lack of explanation about the circumstances the father and son were in annoyed me to no end. The only good thing about's an easy read and quite short!
Date published: 2007-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engrossing How many books have you read in which the main characters have no names yet you care about what happens to them? This book includes beautifully written passages, glimpses at the horror humans can impose on others, and many moments of perseverence and tenderness between a father and his son. I lent my copy to one friend after another. Worth reading again!
Date published: 2007-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "I was spellbound" I hadn't, until reading "The Road", ever read this genre of book. It was unusual for me to pick a book of this nature. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. It really made me stop and think what would happen to me or my loved ones in this similar circumstance. I found his style of writing a little hard to get used to at first but after reading a few chapters there was no doubt in my mind I was reading something really special! The relationship that father and son had was real and amazingly beautiful. With all the talk about our environment and also the threat always of nuclear war.................there but by the grace of God go I. Amen
Date published: 2007-04-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Completely impartial Although another post-apocalyptic story of good amidst lawless chaos, this book does nothing to distinguish itself from all similar novels or movies. Although effort seems to have been placed on emphasizing a father's willingness to sacrifice everything in order to ensure his son's survival, that's as far as the book goes. Their journey across barren land and criminal gangs occupies the entire book with no decisive climax, plot or conclusion.
Date published: 2007-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant View of a Possible Future... I've read a lot of post-apocalpytic books, and none of them have painted such a bleak picture. This one is set years after whatever happened (the writer does not say), and humans have turned into savages to stay alive. Everything is dead, people kill themselves rather than face the horror that is likely to occur, but then there are those like the father and son that have the will to survive. It sends shivers down your spine and really makes you think about what you would do in the same situation. Would you turn savage? Would you eat human flesh - or would you rather die of starvation? Or, would you end it all while you still had the means to do so? It's simply stunning. I cried at the end (it's a good ending - quite satisfying without being unrealistic). The writers style is unusual and hard to get used to (it's confusing at times who is speaking and if it's a flashback or not). Other than that, it's a fast and interesting read.
Date published: 2007-04-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Intriguing concept, poorly executed Cormac McCarthy’s newest book, The Road, has an extremely interesting concept. It follows the trials and tribulations of a father and son as they make their way through a post apocalyptic America. They way in which he carried out the tale, however, was not done in a way that keeps the reader interested or captivated. The main problem that I had with the book was the characters themselves. I simply did not feel anything for them. They were nameless, faceless people who showed little to no real emotion. This may have been an artistic method for McCarthy, reflecting the state of the world, but he failed to take into consideration how his audience would respond. I could have cared less if the main characters lived or died since I never really had a chance to connect with them. Another aspect that I found disturbing was the fact that there wasn’t really a solid plot to the story, and that each page was just like the one before it. I felt like ninety percent of the book was dedicated to rehashing just how ashy and broken the world was. I encourage McCarthy to write another book with a similar post apocalyptic theme, but I also encourage him to make the characters more relatable and create a solid plot, rather than miles and miles of aimless wandering.
Date published: 2007-04-13

Read from the Book

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. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he'd wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease. Until they stood in a great stone room where lay a black and ancient lake. And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swung its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark.With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent, godless. He thought the month was October but he wasnt sure. He hadnt kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There'd be no surviving another winter here.When it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below. Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. He lowered the glasses and pulled down the cotton mask from his face and wiped his nose on the back of his wrist and then glassed the country again. Then he just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke. When he got back the boy was still asleep. He pulled the blue plastic tarp off of him and folded it and carried it out to the grocery cart and packed it and came back with their plates and some cornmeal cakes in a plastic bag and a plastic bottle of syrup. He spread the small tarp they used for a table on the ground and laid everything out and he took the pistol from his belt and laid it on the cloth and then he just sat watching the boy sleep. He'd pulled away his mask in the night and it was buried somewhere in the blankets. He watched the boy and he looked out through the trees toward the road. This was not a safe place. They could be seen from the road now it was day. The boy turned in the blankets. Then he opened his eyes. Hi, Papa, he said.I'm right here.I know.An hour later they were on the road. He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things. In case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them. He shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still gray serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? he said. The boy nodded. Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other's world entire.They crossed the river by an old concrete bridge and a few miles on they came upon a roadside gas station. They stood in the road and studied it. I think we should check it out, the man said. Take a look. The weeds they forded fell to dust about them. They crossed the broken asphalt apron and found the tank for the pumps. The cap was gone and the man dropped to his elbows to smell the pipe but the odor of gas was only a rumor, faint and stale. He stood and looked over the building. The pumps standing with their hoses oddly still in place. The windows intact. The door to the service bay was open and he went in. A standing metal toolbox against one wall. He went through the drawers but there was nothing there that he could use. Good half-inch drive sockets. A ratchet. He stood looking around the garage. A metal barrel full of trash. He went into the office. Dust and ash everywhere. The boy stood in the door. A metal desk, a cashregister. Some old automotive manuals, swollen and sodden. The linoleum was stained and curling from the leaking roof. He crossed to the desk and stood there. Then he picked up the phone and dialed the number of his father's house in that long ago. The boy watched him. What are you doing? he said.A quarter mile down the road he stopped and looked back. We're not thinking, he said. We have to go back. He pushed the cart off the road and tilted it over where it could not be seen and they left their packs and went back to the station. In the service bay he dragged out the steel trashdrum and tipped it over and pawed out all the quart plastic oilbottles. Then they sat in the floor decanting them of their dregs one by one, leaving the bottles to stand upside down draining into a pan until at the end they had almost a half quart of motor oil. He screwed down the plastic cap and wiped the bottle off with a rag and hefted it in his hand. Oil for their little slutlamp to light the long gray dusks, the long gray dawns. You can read me a story, the boy said. Cant you, Papa? Yes, he said. I can.. . .On the far side of the river valley the road passed through a stark black burn. Charred and limbless trunks of trees stretching away on every side. Ash moving over the road and the sagging hands of blind wire strung from the blackened lightpoles whining thinly in the wind. A burned house in a clearing and beyond that a reach of meadowlands stark and gray and a raw red mudbank where a roadworks lay abandoned. Farther along were billboards advertising motels. Everything as it once had been save faded and weathered. At the top of the hill they stood in the cold and the wind, getting their breath. He looked at the boy. I'm all right, the boy said. The man put his hand on his shoulder and nodded toward the open country below them. He got the binoculars out of the cart and stood in the road and glassed the plain down there where the shape of a city stood in the grayness like a charcoal drawing sketched across the waste. Nothing to see. No smoke. Can I see? the boy said. Yes. Of course you can. The boy leaned on the cart and adjusted the wheel. What do you see? the man said. Nothing. He lowered the glasses. It's raining. Yes, the man said. I know.They left the cart in a gully covered with the tarp and made their way up the slope through the dark poles of the standing trees to where he'd seen a running ledge of rock and they sat under the rock overhang and watched the gray sheets of rain blow across the valley. It was very cold. They sat huddled together wrapped each in a blanket over their coats and after a while the rain stopped and there was just the dripping in the woods.When it had cleared they went down to the cart and pulled away the tarp and got their blankets and the things they would need for the night. They went back up the hill and made their camp in the dry dirt under the rocks and the man sat with his arms around the boy trying to warm him. Wrapped in the blankets, watching the nameless dark come to enshroud them. The gray shape of the city vanished in the night's onset like an apparition and he lit the little lamp and set it back out of the wind. Then they walked out to the road and he took the boy's hand and they went to the top of the hill where the road crested and where they could see out over the darkening country to the south, standing there in the wind, wrapped in their blankets, watching for any sign of a fire or a lamp. There was nothing. The lamp in the rocks on the side of the hill was little more than a mote of light and after a while they walked back. Everything too wet to make a fire. They ate their poor meal cold and lay down in their bedding with the lamp between them. He'd brought the boy's book but the boy was too tired for reading. Can we leave the lamp on till I'm asleep? he said. Yes. Of course we can.He was a long time going to sleep. After a while he turned and looked at the man. His face in the small light streaked with black from the rain like some old world thespian. Can I ask you something? he said.Yes. Of course.Are we going to die?Sometime. Not now.And we're still going south.Yes.So we'll be warm.Yes.Okay.Okay what?Nothing. Just okay.Go to sleep.Okay.I'm going to blow out the lamp. Is that okay?Yes. That's okay.And then later in the darkness: Can I ask you something?Yes. Of course you can.What would you do if I died?If you died I would want to die too.So you could be with me?Yes. So I could be with you.Okay.He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone.He woke before dawn and watched the gray day break. Slow and half opaque. He rose while the boy slept and pulled on his shoes and wrapped in his blanket he walked out through the trees. He descended into a gryke in the stone and there he crouched coughing and he coughed for a long time. Then he just knelt in the ashes. He raised his face to the paling day. Are you there? he whispered. Will I see you at the last? Have you a neck by which to throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered. Oh God.They passed through the city at noon of the day following. He kept the pistol to hand on the folded tarp on top of the cart. He kept the boy close to his side. The city was mostly burned. No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust. Fossil tracks in the dried sludge. A corpse in a doorway dried to leather. Grimacing at the day. 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, dont you?Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.There was a lake a mile from his uncle's farm where he and his uncle used to go in the fall for firewood. He sat in the back of the rowboat trailing his hand in the cold wake while his uncle bent to the oars. The old man's feet in their black kid shoes braced against the uprights. His straw hat. His cob pipe in his teeth and a thin drool swinging from the pipebowl. He turned to take a sight on the far shore, cradling the oarhandles, taking the pipe from his mouth to wipe his chin with the back of his hand. The shore was lined with birchtrees that stood bone pale against the dark of the evergreens beyond. The edge of the lake a riprap of twisted stumps, gray and weathered, the windfall trees of a hurricane years past. The trees themselves had long been sawed for firewood and carried away. His uncle turned the boat and shipped the oars and they drifted over the sandy shallows until the transom grated in the sand. A dead perch lolling belly up in the clear water. Yellow leaves. They left their shoes on the warm painted boards and dragged the boat up onto the beach and set out the anchor at the end of its rope. A lardcan poured with concrete with an eyebolt in the center. They walked along the shore while his uncle studied the treestumps, puffing at his pipe, a manila rope coiled over his shoulder. He picked one out and they turned it over, using the roots for leverage, until they got it half floating in the water. Trousers rolled to the knee but still they got wet. They tied the rope to a cleat at the rear of the boat and rowed back across the lake, jerking the stump slowly behind them. By then it was already evening. Just the slow periodic rack and shuffle of the oarlocks. The lake dark glass and windowlights coming on along the shore. A radio somewhere. Neither of them had spoken a word. This was the perfect day of his childhood. This the day to shape the days upon.

Bookclub Guide

NATIONAL BESTSELLERWINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZEThe searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.A New York Times Notable BookOne of the Best Books of the YearThe Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Denver Post, The Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, New York, People, Rocky Mountain News, Time, The Village Voice, The Washington Post1. Cormac McCarthy has an unmistakable prose style. What do you see as the most distinctive features of that style? How is the writing in The Road in some ways more like poetry than narrative prose?2. Why do you think McCarthy has chosen not to give his characters names? How do the generic labels of "the man" and "the boy" affect the way in which readers relate to them?3. How is McCarthy able to make the postapocalyptic world of The Road seem so real and utterly terrifying? Which descriptive passages are especially vivid and visceral in their depiction of this blasted landscape? What do you find to be the most horrifying features of this world and the survivors who inhabit it?4. McCarthy doesn't make explicit what kind of catastrophe has ruined the earth and destroyed human civilization, but what might be suggested by the many descriptions of a scorched landscape covered in ash? What is implied by the father's statement that "On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world" [p. 32]?5. As the father is dying, he tells his son he must go on in order to "carry the fire." When the boy asks if the fire is real, the father says, "It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it" [p. 279]. What is this fire? Why is it so crucial that they not let it die?6. McCarthy envisions a postapocalyptic world in which "murder was everywhere upon the land" and the earth would soon be "largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes" [p. 181]. How difficult or easy is it to imagine McCarthy's nightmare vision actually happening? Do you think people would likely behave as they do in the novel, under the same circumstances? Does it now seem that human civilization is headed toward such an end?7. The man and the boy think of themselves as the "good guys." In what ways are they like and unlike the "bad guys" they encounter? What do you think McCarthy is suggesting in the scenes in which the boy begs his father to be merciful to the strangers they encounter on the road? How is the boy able to retain his compassion--to be, as one reviewer put it, "compassion incarnate"?8. The sardonic blind man named Ely who the man and boy encounter on the road tells the father that "There is no God and we are his prophets" [p. 170]. What does he mean by this? Why does the father say about his son, later in the same conversation, "What if I said that he's a god?" [p. 172] Are we meant to see the son as a savior?9. The Road takes the form of a classic journey story, a form that dates back to Homer's Odyssey. To what destination are the man and the boy journeying? In what sense are they "pilgrims"? What, if any, is the symbolic significance of their journey?10. McCarthy's work often dramatizes the opposition between good and evil, with evil sometimes emerging triumphant. What does The Road ultimately suggest about good and evil? Which force seems to have greater power in the novel?11. What makes the relationship between the boy and his father so powerful and poignant? What do they feel for each other? How do they maintain their affection for and faith in each other in such brutal conditions?12. Why do you think McCarthy ends the novel with the image of trout in mountain streams before the end of the world: "In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery" [p. 287]. What is surprising about this ending? Does it provide closure, or does it prompt a rethinking of all that has come before? What does it suggest about what lies ahead?

Editorial Reviews

"His tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful. It might very well be the best book of the year, period." —San Francisco Chronicle "Vivid, eloquent . . . The Road is the most readable of [McCarthy's] works, and consistently brilliant in its imagining of the posthumous condition of nature and civilization." —The New York Times Book Review "One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal." —Los Angeles Times Book Review "Illuminated by extraordinary tenderness. . . . Simple yet mysterious, simultaneously cryptic and crystal clear. The Road offers nothing in the way of escape or comfort. But its fearless wisdom is more indelible than reassurance could ever be." —The New York Times "No American writer since Faulkner has wandered so willingly into the swamp waters of deviltry and redemption. . . . [McCarthy] has written this last waltz with enough elegant reserve to capture what matters most." —The Boston Globe "There is an urgency to each page, and a raw emotional pull . . . making [The Road] easily one of the most harrowing books you'll ever encounter. . . . Once opened, [it is] nearly impossible to put down; it is as if you must keep reading in order for the characters to stay alive. . . . The Road is a deeply imagined work and harrowing no matter what your politics." —Bookforum "We find this violent, grotesque world rendered in gorgeous, melancholic, even biblical cadences. . . . Few books can do more; few have done better. Read this book." —Rocky Mountain News "A dark book that glows with the intensity of [McCarthy's] huge gift for language. . . . Why read this? . . . Because in its lapidary transcription of the deepest despair short of total annihilation we may ever know, this book announces the triumph of language over nothingness." —Chicago Tribune "The love between the father and the son is one of the most profound relationships McCarthy has ever written."—The Christian Science Monitor "The Road is a wildly powerful and disturbing book that exposes whatever black bedrock lies beneath grief and horror. Disaster has never felt more physically and spiritually real." —Time "The Road is the logical culmination of everything [McCarthy]'s written." —Newsweek