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Book Name: The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy

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Overall Rating: (4.19/5) View all reviews (total 460 reviews)

Best known for hisBorder Trilogy, hailed in the San Francisco Chronicle as "an American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century," Cormac McCarthy has written ten rich and often brutal novels, including the bestsellingNo Country for Old Men, andThe Road. Profoundly dark, told in spare, searing prose,The Roadis a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, one of the best books we've read this year, but in case you need a second (and expert) opinion, we askedDennis Lehane, author of equally rich, occasionally bleak and brutal novels, to read it and give us his take. Read his glowing review below.--Daphne DurhamGuest Reviewer: Dennis LehaneDennis Lehane, master of the hard-boiled Thrillers, generated a cult following with hisseries about private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, wowed readers with the intense and gut-wrenchingMystic River, blew fans all away with the mind-bendingShutter Island, and switches gears withCoronado, his new collection of gritty short stories (and one play).Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel,The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf inThe Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. InThe Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith.--Dennis LehaneThe Roadis now a major motion picture based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, starring Academy Award-nominee Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.


Gray comes from black and white....

by A. Calabrese "othernj"

I am not much of a fiction reader, but I do like a good apocolyptic novel now and then. This is the first work I have read, written by Cormac McCarthy. The Road (Oprah's Book Club)by Cormac McCarthy (yes, I do own the Oprah edition) is great and readable prose, an interesting story, but an awful morality tale. In this novel about a post-apocolyptic America we are taken along this journey by a man and his 7 or 8 year old son. The landscape on this trip leaves nothing to the imagination, it is bleak, and gray ashen. If not for the contour of the land, the reader may feel as if this journey is going nowhere, and by the end of the book, that is where you morally end up. In McCarthy's world of gray, memories and dreams give us our only color. The real world, especially when it comes to moral choices, is black and white. Everything has a material or utility value, and that is it. The father's only reason for being and moving on, is his son. But, what is never made clear is that as much as the father in this tale feels compelled to protect his son, and do what is right, that is where it ends. Everyone else is a threat and of no value. Compassion ends at his son's eyes. And this is the problem I have with this book. The boy feels for people, the father does not. So here is the dilemma, why does the boy have any compassion at all, when the father exhibits no compassion? The quest is to find the "good guys." But, are there any? At the end of the road, the world is still very gray. To me this story has many weaknesses, but I have made my main point. This being said it is an easy read and will fill in that day at the beach. I reluctantly give it 3 stars.

Death, destruction and annihilation at the end of the road.

by A Customer

It's probably fair to call The Road a perfect novel. It goes to the very edge of the precipice: death, destruction, annihilation. The two characters who populate the story are at the very end of the road. The title suggests some kind of Kerouacian journey to fun loving beatnik enlightenment, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Road is neither fun loving, nor beatnik. There is possibly enlightenment, but the tiny candle of hope the book holds out is dim indeed. McCarthy goes as far as it is possible to go in literature - stripping the characters' world bare until there's nothing left but metaphor. The result is as beautiful as it is painful.It takes about ten pages to reveal, in patches of bleak discovery for the reader, that the landscape that the two characters of this novel inhabit is a post-apocalyptic one. Everything is burnt, ash covered, with corpses everywhere. The two main characters of this novel, a father and his son, are on the run, hiding from gangs of vicious `bloodcult' cannibals looking to capture, enslave and eat anyone left alive. They are also in search of something, but it's never quite clear what: someplace to stay; some group which is overtly good and safe. They follow a broken "tattered oilcompany roadmap" towards the southern ocean. But the landscape is unforgiving. Starvation is always at hand. Their lives are only safe in the temporary serendipity of what they might happen upon with their wrecked shopping trolley, protected by no more than a single bullet. There are overtones of Mad Max--the black humour of wild, comically dressed road gangs--but the relationship between the nameless father and son is so tender, so sad, and so full of the longing of the world that no longer exists, that every word of the book is wrought. And at no point does the reader laugh. Even looking away from the continual horror is difficult.In this environment, McCarthy allows himself no spare words, but what he does use is a testimony to his craftsmanship. The novel is as sparse and clean as anything Hemingway or Carver has produced, and yet, in the pristine bone cracking cold of its prose is so much linguistic lushness. Every word is heavy with poetic richness. The book is full of metaphor, and the metaphors are used wonderfully, but so perfectly integrated is the language with plot and characterisation, that it's possible to read this and not notice the metaphors. Instead the reader gets straight to the heart of what the metaphor is conveying.Throughout the novel, the work takes its momentum from the pain of encroaching nothingness and hope simultaneously pressing against each other. The man loves the boy, but knows his own death is coming as he spits blood onto the ashy snow. The father and son spend the entire book seeking the good, and safe, struggling for life, with death and extinction everywhere. And yet it's almost unbearably beautiful, almost intensely rich and the reader absorbs the desperate love between the boy and his father, or the boys own desperation to be one of the "good guys." This is a book that hits the reader between the eyebrows with the ache of an ice cream headache.Although the story centres myopically on the father and his son, there are other characters in the periphery. There is the mother, who isn't in this story--having already coldly committed suicide before the story opens - but who populates the story through the father's memory. She is part of the life and world he can only dream about, but can't construct, in words for his son, or in reality. The boy was born in the early days of the tragedy, and therefore has no memory of his mother, and yet he is the embodiment of her - of a place his father once inhabited. There are also characters they meet on the road; brief glimpses of an almost extinct species (and most others are already extinct), reduced to survival instinct. There is the old nameless man they meet and help on the road. There is the baby they don't save who later might be the same one they find on a spit. There is the little boy's face the boy sees in a window, who later might be the same one he joins up with: "Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again." (300). There are the chained people in a house they run from. There is the man they kill, and the one they may as well have killed.The dialogue between the man and his son is sharp in its contrast to the long sentences which seem to originate in the man's head. These two sentences for example, comma-less and metaphor rich draw the reader away from the action into the biblical intensity of the landscape.Then the story pulls the reader out of reverie into the stark survival dialogue of the pair as they struggle for food, for warmth, and to move towards a place - an ocean no longer blue -- where the man's consumption won't kill him.The tenderness between the father and son is a masterly example of showing rather than telling. The father's desperation not to die or allow his son to be taken by the "bloodcults" is something that McCarthy makes clear without spelling it out. He never tells us that the man is dying, but we watch his decline as his cough worsens, along with the boys progression as he stops playing with the broken toys and items he finds, and becomes ever more skeletal: "Knobby spine bones. The razorous shoulder blades sawing under the pale skin." (233) But never for a moment, however bleak, and this is possibly the bleakest book ever written, does the book descend into nihilism or become maudlin. The father and son do indeed "carry the flame", and it's this Pater styled "hard gem-like flame" that underpins the novel, leaving us with the "uncanny taste of a peach from some phantom orchard" (17). Though McCarthy resists the urge to give the reader too much hope--things can never be made right again--the memories of the boy, of trout that smell of moss in your hand; the "vermiculate patterns" of a world that once was, of the enduring conversations between a boy and his father, remain beautiful. And for his readers, these are things we still have now.Magdalena Ball is the author of Sleep Before Evening"There is so much beautiful writing here, soaring passages."

An unsettling, profound tale of love and survival

by Adam Craig

This is the first Cormac McCarthy book I've ever read. And wow, I must say that this book is a must-read for every person who has ever picked up a book to read.The two nameless main characters of the novel, a father and his son, are on a desperate journey to the coast of burned out America. They don't know what awaits them at the coast, they just know that there is nothing left for them where they are coming from. As they make their journey along the road, their love for each other is continually tested as many hard choices must be made along the way. As encounters are made with other survivors, including bad guys and good guys, the father and son slowly make their way toward their destination, stopping only for rest and safety.The thing that made this novel so great for me was the lack of knowledge given to the reader. We are introduced to father and son after their journey has already started. We don't know what caused the world to be this way, although we have our suspicions. There are a few flashbacks throughout, but they do not serve to inform the reader in that way, only to give us a preciously small amount of background info on the characters.The Road features some of the most haunting imagery that I have ever read. With cannibals roaming the lands, atrocities are present everywhere, and while McCarthy does not try to overwhelm the reader with brutality, the few incidents involving the marauders are frightening and unforgettable. The whole book is focused on atmosphere and imagery. I think the word "gray" is mentioned hundreds of times, because that is the one word that can now describe the entire world: gray. At every moment throughout the book, the reader is given a possibly unwanted, detailed description of the surroundings, and all the despair and destruction that is evident in those surroundings; and evident in every sentence of the novel.But possibly the most profound part of the novel is the relationship between father and son. Conversations are sparse in the book, and when there is a conversation, it is normally spoken quickly in a way that almost makes it seem like speaking is an unwanted stressor. The love between the two is evident throughout, with the father always trying to rationalize or explain the boy's naivety. In the world of this novel, true love is not shown through spoken word anymore, its shown through your actions toward those you love, and in those terms, the father and son love each other more than anything else in the universe.I would not change anything about this novel. Everything about it is put together in the perfect way to speak to the reader in a way that not many other novels can accomplish these days.

A Bleak and Powerful Novel

by A. Hay

The Road is an extremely dark story about a boy and his father traveling to the coast after the planet has gone through a devastating event that has poisoned the air, killed most living things, and laid down a layer of ash across the countryside. For the remaining survivors, staying alive has become the focus of their existence. Although the story is a bleak one, once I began reading, I could hardly put the book down, finishing it in two days.The Road

"...being from a planet that no longer existed..."

by Akethan

This is a beautiful and surprising account of a father and son - a journey of absolute endings. There are no wasted words or efforts. The language and the story are concise. The world has been destroyed; nature is burned to a crisp; the few humans that are left are scattered and not to be trusted. This father and his son are moving away from winter's coming trying to find a warmer place - nothing is considered safe - and finding food is chancy at best. I started this book and read through it in two days - not wanting to stop or put it down. I was heart broken several times in the book as the little boy becomes older and wiser than typical for his age just by observing the world. Random moments: When the two enter a house and draw a gun on their own reflections in the mirror not knowing themselves anymore. "It's us, Papa, the boy whispered It's us." Later - the father observes that to his son he is "... an alien. A being from a planet that no longer existed." Taking place in a destroyed world - the story is allowed to examine deeply the relationship between these two - trust, belief, love and questioning one another - and growing together and apart along the way.

I would give it 6 stars if I could.

by akhjd

A nameless man looks out the window and sees a blinding streak of light flash across the sky. The earth shakes. Silence follows. The man fills the bathtub with water, knowing that something terrible has just happened and that he and his pregnant wife will need to deplete the last of the city's water supply in order to survive in the weeks ahead."The Road," by Cormac McCarthy, is not for the faint of heart or the shallow of mind. Rather, it is for the reader who is both intrigued and horrified by the potential that humanity has to destroy itself. This book takes on special meaning to adults who grew up during the Cold War; those of us who, as young children, had nightmares of Russia bombing America; who knew that there was no such thing as a "survivable" nuclear war; who grew up learning that Nagasaki and Hiroshima could happen again, on a much larger scale, if international politics got out of control.Set in a barren landscape of nuclear winter, the protagonists, a nameless American and his young son, are depicted as the last gods to walk to the earth. The man is God the Father and the child is Christ the Son. The two cling to one another in a cold, hate-filled land where cannibals lurk and there is no new vegetation or plant life, only a few remaining rusted cans of beans and pears to be plundered, and guns with bullets to be protected.You will change your weekend plans in order to find out the final outcome of the man and the boy. They are travelling to the coast, as if somehow a dead, black ocean will offer them life. The reader hopes that the sea will provide something for these hopeless beings- please, let the sea bring them food, health- community.It does, and it doesn't. The ending is tragic and real. Yes, love survives, but for how long? Will the evil cannibals win in the very, very end? It depends on whether the reader believes in the power of human intelligence and integrity, or whether the reader believes that brute strength is the strongest force. This is left for the reader to decide. As for me, I thought, "That poor child. His days are numbered..."The prose is disconcerting at times. I would have to stop in the middle of a paragraph and reread a long sentence without punctuation, just to get the full meaning. However, the reader does accommodate to the style. Also, this stream of consciousness approach is quite appropriate to a post-apocalyptic universe. If society's infrastructure is gone, then so is traditional punctuation and structured thought as we know it.

Moving and heart breaking

by Alejandro Contreras

The Road is a moving and heart-breaking story of a man, trying to take his son to what he believes might be a safe location in a post-apolyptic world. In a world in which there is little food, just a few people (survivors from an unexplained catastrophe), and no laws, a man walks with his son for days, trying to get to the coast, where we believes there might be a chance for survival. This is not a sci-fi book, but a book about a place without hope, and the infinite loving efforts of a man to create a future for his son. I strongly recommend it.

A great read filled with desolation and hope

by Alex Dawson

Very moving, very well written. Substantially depressing in some ways, exceedingly hopeful in others. I would highly recommend it.Sole complaint, maybe spoiler-ish:I know his intent was to have the boy and father as the sole sources of hope in the world, but part of me found it too unbelievable that nothing else survived. Maybe it was the recurring descriptions of just how desolate and hopeless everything was, but if humans could survive and food underground could survive, there would be many other organisms still able to live. That was my only complaint really, otherwise a beautiful and haunting story.

End of the World is as Depressing as it Sounds

by A. Luciano

The basic plot of "The Road" is a classic--the world has ended. Something catastrophic and, in this story, unexplained, has happened, resulting in mass animal extinction, total destruction of the Earth's ecosystem, and complete breakdown of human civilization. This book takes place several years after that event. A man and his young son journey south on foot, scavenging for food and desperately searching for a place where life will be better. As their trek drags on and on, it becomes less a question of whether they will survive, and more a question of what will kill them first--starvation, the bitter cold, or the roaming gangs of cannibals who now make up the majority of the surviving human race.Although we spend the entire story exclusively with the father and son, we never really get to know them, and their back story is never made clear. What happened in the decade or so since the catastrophic event? Didn't anyone on Earth foresee problems when their supply of canned goods ran out and there was still no sun to grow food and no animals to eat? Why did the man wait until the brink of starvation to head south, if he thought salvation lay in that direction? And, of course, besides killing each other and using up all of their supplies, what was everyone DOING for those years and years? These questions, which may have clarified why there is absolutely no hope in this story, are never addressed.The human drive to survive is a strong one. In light of that fact and in light of the nightmare of a situation in which McCarthy places his father and son, I didn't find their behavior all that extraordinary. Many have touted this book as an example of love causing a father to go to extremes. In my mind, he just acted normally. This father and son may well have been the only two "good guys" left in the world. Even if they were not related, they would be expected to cling to each other for safety and human contact. The fact that they are father and son just makes this connection more natural.Perhaps it is cynical of me, but I was struck by the father's selfishness. Sure, he loves his son as all parents should. However, he also largely is concerned with his son staying alive because he knows that his son stands between himself and death. Without a purpose, it is clear to him that he will allow himself to die. His survival instinct is strong enough that he doesn't want that to happen. At the end of the story, he is too selfish to keep the one promise he made to his son, because it would cause him pain to do so.The resolution of this story was incredibly implausible and seemed to me a weak attempt to validate the man's selfish choice.

Read it again recently, still just as powerful

by Amanda

The first time I read this a couple years ago I did it in one sitting. One, very long, very tense sitting. It's very difficult to put down. I've always been keen on the post-apocalyptic genre (mad max...fallout...etc) and it's great to have a respected author treat the subject seriously. This book also introduced me to Cormac McCarthy and for that it's worth all the stars in the world.

Torn between two viewpoints

by Amanda Richards

As Mary MacGregor sang on "Torn Between Two Lovers":"There are times when a woman has to say what's on her mindEven though she knows how much it's gonna hurtBefore I say another word let me tell you, I love youLet me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can"There are some aspects of this book that just didn't inspire me to run through the streets shouting "Pulitzer! Pulitzer!" This doesn't mean that I didn't like the book, just that it didn't possess me, and I know it never will, and there's still an empty space inside of me, that this book didn't fill.Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):Father & son walkingWalkingWalkingHidingSleepingEatingScavengingWalking through ash, through snow, through rainWalkingScavengingAvoiding other survivorsSurvivingStarvingScavengingWalkingWalking(Repeat as often as necessary)That said, I found the imagery to be breathtakingly brilliant - stark, barren post-apocalyptic American landscapes, devoid of virtually all plant and animal life, the road itself a desolate stretch of sometimes steaming asphalt, stretching on from sea to turbid sea.The language is simple yet eloquent, but I was put off by the intentional omissions of apostrophes in certain words and not in others. The writing style reflects the theme of things not being as they should, and the author's bleak visions for our future leave the reader with much too chew on.In the absence of a plot, I think the author did a magnificent job of vividly communicating his vision, horrid as it may be.Amanda Richards, December 16, 2007


by Amazon Customer "Dar"

I must admit that for once, I liked the movie better than the book. I think the movie captured more of the depth of the personalities and situations than did the book. So I say congratulations to the movie makers and actors. It is interesting.I listened to the OverDrive version borrowed from the library while reading it. Rupert Degas's voice was dull and quiet as the narration of a dulled world. His character voices were also quite appropriate.It's the kind of book to make you think, "what if?"

Post-apocalyptic America

by Amazon Customer

The Road was my second adventure with Cormac McCarthy's writing. A father and son journey across ashen, post-apocalyptic America where food, warmth, and medicine are scarce. Gangs of club-wielding survivors adopt cannibalism and enslavement. The twosome "carries the light" of decency and personifies persistence and ingenuity. McCarthy's descriptiveness grows like living tendrils in that world of fire and ice.

What a downer

by Amazon Customer

This was not an enjoyable book to read. Rather, it was like being forced down a garbage disposal, slowly.Not that the book wasn't well-written; it was very well-written. Not that the author didn't accomplish his goal; he did all too well. But this was an extremely depressing statement about humanity, our essentially Darwinian nature, and that civilization is a very thin veneer. You can't call "The Road" a tragedy, or even a Tragedy. It's a nightmare. This post-apocalyptic view of Hell is depressing to the point of being tear-inducing.I guess you could say the ending had some redeeming value, but not for me. This is the second Cormac McCarthy book I've read ("No Country For Old Men" was the first), and there is a constant theme, that of humanity as being a spec of goodness in a sea of evil. I don't buy it; humanity is objectively more humane today than ever before despite the inhumanity that is out there.Not a book for young children, and definitely not a book for people with young children. If you like being strapped into a seat of a car that is then pushed over a cliff, you might like this book. Otherwise, it's too painful.

Carrying the Torch

by Amazon Customer "Jonathan Stephens"

THE ROAD is by far the best book I've read in 2007. This post-apocalyptic tale of a father and son's journey to find some kind of hope when they reach the coast fits its all black book cover. Dark, ashen, and hopeless, the landscape McCarthy paints is so vividly painful, the reader can't help but read on. I've always been amazed at his ability to capture me by the first few chapters, to the point that I'm willing to follow him, the literary Pied Piper that he is, wherever he wishes to take me.Scrounging for life-sustaining food, hiding from the bad guys, and doing their best to carry the torch, this father/son combo is painted with such clarity and control. The son known for his all-to-frequent "Okay" responses that show a fear-wrapped trust in his father. The father, for his patient undertstanding of a young boy's first encounter with the evil that overwhelms the hearts of desperate men doing anything they can to survive.Questions of God, death, survival, good, evil, Humanity, purpose, and fatherhood ripen on this novel's pages like fruit for the picking.-- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens

Very disappointing

by Amazon Customer "Lincolnpark"

I have to put myself in the "hate it" camp for this book. I read more than half of it, always hoping that it would develop, or the characters would develop or that SOMETHING would happen. I finally gave up when I read so many reviews that said nothing ever really happens even at the end. It was a relief to escape the unrelenting misery of the characters, as well my unrelenting misery reading it. For the people who find the spare prose and obscure language poetic or majestic or some such--I can only shake my head in disbelief.

Brillant Piece of Literature

by amwilla

Extraordinary piece of art. McCarthy's style and dialect is so raw and flawless you forget you're reading this man's words instead of experiencing it first hand.

A simple idea, an amazing book.


What makes the Road a five star book isn't the plot or the premise of the book. Those aspects are very good, but i feel the true five star moment's come when the man and the boy are speaking to each other. At times, the dialogue is remarkabley brilliant and equally as creepy while remaining frighteningly realistic. There are certain spots in the book that just completely blew my mind, not to mention broke my heart. Around page 50ish, the man and the woman have a conversation-this is the first time (but not the last) that i actually said "WOW" to myself.The road is a masterpiece, plain and simple, and a book that deserve's all of the credit and rewards it has been given.It amazes me how prolific McCarthy is, as he also wrote "Blood Meridian" and "No Country for Old Men",the latter being made into my favorite movie of all time, bar none. It's a rather short book-under 300 pages long, with big fine print, yet McCarthy manages to amaze his readers long enough before letting them go and leaving them with the experience of a lifetime. Scariest aspect? This could happen, you just never know for sure.5 out of 5 stars all the way.

Haunting to the core, McCarthy cuts into my mind with the sharpest knife he can find...

by Andrew Ellington

In McCarthy's harrowing vision of the future the world in general is bleak and dark, covered in ash and completely void of any real hope for survival. It's amidst these circumstances that we're introduced to the man and the boy, a father and son who are trying their hardest to prolong their life as the prospect of death grows stronger with each breath. They are alone in a world full of savages, other survivors of the apocalypse who satisfy their insatiable urges of survival by ravaging others, raping and eating those whom they come across. It's in this environment that Cormac McCarthy spins one of the most visually and emotionally gripping novels I've had the privilege and the pleasure to read.As Cormac paints this disturbing picture the reader is taken to another world, a world dark and dense yet truly captivating to the core. The man and the boy (how they are referred to in the novel) travel alone through this world, pushing along a grocery cart filled with their belongings as they scavenge for food and try to avoid `the bad guys' as the man calls them. The man is haunted by the realization that they may not have many more days ahead of them. His wife committed suicide herself in order to spare herself the torture of rape, murder or starving to death but the man is unwilling to willfully take his life or the life of his son. As the novel progresses you can see how the air of death glooming overhead slowly picks away at the man's sanity, not to mention his sons confidence and determination.Visually this novel is brilliant. Cormac masterfully puts the reader in the shoes of his characters. Every scene, every new discovery is effortlessly painted with the most spectacular imagery that the reader feels as if he's there alongside this man and this boy. The ship sequence to me is one in particular that stands out as fantastic. I remember reading it and just visualizing everything to clear. Cormac outdid himself; I mean really...I have yet to read something this engrossing.This has been heralded as the best book of 2006. It's been labeled a tour de force and in my eyes that pretty much sums up this book. It truly is deserving of all its praise. It proves that sometimes simplicity goes further than exaggeration. Cormac's account isn't heavy on detail but it's heavy on soul. It beats forth with the heart of a survivor and it pumps blood through its ashy veins. There are actually moments in this novel that brought tears to my eyes, the ending in particular, but there is one scene where the father gives his son their gun, their only weapon against `the bad guys', a weapon with just two bullets left, and he instructs his son of what to do with that gun if he were to encounter the cannibals. The scene alone is heartbreaking and one that I will remember always.A note to readers, this is a quick read. I blew through it in just a few days (I took it with me on vacation so it was much easier for me to just read with no work involved). Cormac's writing style here, as I mentioned, is simple enough so as not to be tiring or exhausting. It's the perfect compliment to cool summer day, parked outside in the sun with a drink in one hand and this masterclass of a novel in the other. I highly recommend this read to anyone for I haven't had this much enjoyment from a novel in quite a long time, maybe ever. Cormac has won me over and I'm sure he will do the same with you as well!

Definitely not a knockout like No Country for Old Men

by Andrew

First of all I just want to say that I have become a Cormac McCarthy fan. I love how he breaks the rules and writes the way he wants to, regardless of what critics say. I do have to say though, that The Road is a book that would have never been published if it weren't written by a well established author. It's boring and would have definitely gone in the rejection pile if anyone else had submitted it. Why The Road is getting a tone of praise and awards is beyond me.If you read No County for Old Men and are thinking about reading The Road, be forewarned. The Road is nothing like the exciting roller coaster that is No Country for Old Men. There are passages in The Road that are quite shocking in regards to humans that have become barbarians and partake in behavior that reminiscent of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre's cannibalism. If I knew what I know now, I would have skipped The Road.No Country for Old Men is the first McCarthy book I read and it blew me away. I could not put it down for two seconds. The movie was great too, probably since it closely follows McCarthy's book and it was directed by the Coen Brothers. I'm about to start the Orchard Keeper and I hope it turns out to be another knockout like No Country for Old Men and not a miss like The Road.

Oppresively disheartening

by Andrew J. Rodriguez

After witnessing our country's present path to moral self destruction, "The Road" is the last novel I want to read. Fifty years ago I might have considered this book another apocalyptic story--no big deal--Today it all sounds so plausible that I stored the book back on the shelf--never to open it again.Andrew J. RodriguezAward-winning author: "Adios, Havana," a Memoir

Grim yet beautiful

by Andrij W. Zip

Grim, disturbing, bleak, haunting, poetic, spellbinding and ultimately uplifting - The Road is an amazing read. It took me about fifty pages or so to get into the novel - the diction, sparse language, lack of punctuation and the grimness of it took some getting used to. However, once I surrendered myself to the story, I could not stop turning the pages. Cormac McCarthy's ability to use language is extraordinary. By using stripped down, simple prose, McCarthy creates lucid imagery that will burn in your mind's eye long after you finish the book. As well, the rhythm of the story as it unfolds is mesmerizing. The Road certainly isn't for everyone but if you appreciate the beauty of language, consider this a must-read.

Richly imagined vision of the hell of a nuclear winter

by Andy Orrock

Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" was terse and sparse, but it's positively fluffy chick lit compared to his Pulitzer Prize-winning post-apocalyptic work, "The Road." Despite McCarthy's stark, unadorned prose, it's a richly imagined vision of the hell of a nuclear winter and its fallout, with the constant threat of starvation and cannibalism stalking the book's two protagonists on every page.

A stunning piece of work

by Ang

I tried to read `The Road' about three years ago but was unable to get into it. At that time I had not heard much about the book and was expecting a Dan Brown type of novel with lots of chills, thrills and actions. This is definitely not that type of book.I decided on a round two and this time, I was unable to put it down. As I started reading, I realized it is not the plot that makes `The Road' so great. Rather, it is stunning because of its beautifully simple prose: each and every word is carefully chosen and simply used; each sentence conveys more meaning than most writers can communicate with three times the text.Cormac McCarthy tells a tale of post-apocalyptic world where all signs of civilization is gone, the skies is forever gray, and the roads are bleak and ravaged. It is winter: cold and bitter. A father and his son walk southbound. They have no idea what is in store for them, but they do know that it will be warmer. And along with the unknown also comes a tiny bit of hope. They carry very little possession: a few blankets, a tarp and a pistol with only two bullets to protect themselves from marauding groups of bandits that have turned cannibalistic.On a daily basis, they fight for survival, facing starvation, bitter cold, hiding from the cannibals. They see things so harrowing that the images would sear in their minds forever. Yet throughout the book, there is a faint glimmer of hope. The father and son, "each the other's world entire", clings to the one thing that cannot be taken away: their love for each other.It was especially striking when, at certain points in the book, the story is punctuated by the ordinary. For example, the father hears his son utter a phrase that seems foreign and asks, "where did you get that from?"; the son passing time by drawing in the sand; the father and son playing a game of chess in an abandoned bunker.This is not a fast-moving story about the apocalypse. Rather, it is about one thing that matters the most: the love between a parent and a child. It reminds us of the awesome responsibility that we have as parents: to protect them and to instill in our children hope and courage. And when we are no longer around, we hope they continue to carry on what we have taught them.

A stunner!

by Ann Ahnemann

You're tired of apocalypic literature. Then you pick up this book. Reviewers say you won't find comfort here, but they're wrong. It's a painful nightmare in so many places, but this book is ultimately about miracles. I'm reminded that the road has forks, and that the choice between love and evil is always an option.

Love will endure

by Antonio

Picture the worst possible dystopia. A dead world, where all life has misteriously been extinguished. A new ice age has dawned. The nights are so dark that the moon and the stars are invisible. Hold it. Not all life is gone. A few people still crawl on the dry and bitter land. Two of these are a man and his son, who are following a road from the North of the US to the South East, looking for food and bearable weather. It's not an easy journey. There is virtually no food to speak of, and also no shelter from the bitter cold. While all people have become scavengers, quite a few are also cannibals and brutes. A new dark age has come, and this one may possibly last until the end of life. The man and the boy can trust no one. They cannot share with anyone. They must always be alert, always on guard, against the horrors of the never-ending night (for even day has become as dark and cold as night). What makes the book so compelling is not this grim, majestic setting, but the love between the father and the son. The moments of tenderness as he warms the boy with his own body, as he washes him with hot water (an unexpected treat) and keeps watch over him as he sleeps in the desolate wasteland, as he feeds him the last scrap of food or gives him the last can of Coke on earth. The man struggles to remain decent, and he and his son are part of the very few "good guys" left. Good guys don't eat other people. Good guys don't kill and eat dogs or steal from those weaker than themselves. Good guys keep hope alive even when there's no reason to expect anything but death and oblivion. Hence, love may endure, and so may beauty, and honor, and truth. The book is not long, but it is so moving that one hesitates to read too quickly, one needs to savor the rich cadences of a language both ancient and modern, in this timeless tale that might have come out of some forgotten epic poem of yore. The book does not say how old the boy is, but it seemed to me that he must have been about 8 or 9. Having been born around the time of the catastrophe, he has known no other world than that in which he lives. Yet he is happy, wise and good, in harrowing circumstances. Even the harshest of worlds does not have to be "dog eat dog". Having read the story of the boy and his father I don't think I will ever forget them.

Dark and moving

by A. Paxman

Wow. The moment I started reading this book I couldn't put it down, not necessarily always in a good way. Sometime it was like when you see a catastrophe on the news and can't pull yourself away. The Road is a simple, but moving story of a man and son living in a grey, post-apocalyptic world just trying to survive. The book was dark, suspenseful, frightening, and heart-wrenching. McCarthy writes it in such a simple but poetic prose; you can't help but be drawn into this dark and horrific world. But even in through it all, a father's love for his son cannot be altered.

the new post-apoc poster child, the 1984 of now

by apocalypse blonde

amazing book, simply written but you get used to it. some of the scenes are scarier because of it. there are some creepy images so this book is definately not for the weak stomached just warning you. EXTREMELY GOREY and CANNIBALS. amazing post-apocolyptic though. it has become the new poster child for post-apocs and people are raving about it like they do 1984. i don't know, it's very good but i wouldn't call it the best post-apoc ever - same with 1984.

Read this book!

by April Wiley "April"

Loved this book. The writing style is different and takes some getting used to, but the story is awesome. Any story where you can get attached to the characters who don't even have names has gotta be a good one. I will have to try out some other McCarthy reads...


by AREADER "Keep Reading, Even In The Bathroom"

I bought this book based on other's reviews and because it was a Pulitzer Prize winning book. The premise sounded good, but in actuality it wasn't. The storyline of a father and young son traveling across a post apocalyptic America to "the coast" sounded intriquing and I was expecting more than what the author provided. It was basically the same thing over and over and over.... . It was cold, it was dark, the trees were black, gray ash covered everthing, we were hungry, the old blankets stank, run into some bad people, then repeat again, then repeat again, you get my point. I honestly do not see what made this book a "Prize" winner. Thumb through the pages and read one or two, then thumb to another part of the book and read another page or two, you'll see what I mean. Save yourself some time and money on this one.

suicide or survive?

by ark76 "Annie K"

Reading about being one of the last people alive in a dying world begs the question asked early in the book: survive or suicide? The book doesn't answer the question for you, but you'll know where you stand by the end. This post-apocalyptic book is unique that it doesn't focus on what caused the catastrophe (never mentioned) or on how to rebuild the society as a Stephen King book would. McCarthy offers no hope. It is clear that we have entered the story years after the cataclysmic event and that the world is ending and the few remaining humans are left hanging on. The book is about a father raising a son in a dying world for no reason other than that they are still alive "for now". The father tries to protect his son from some of the worst horrors and imparts him with the knowledge that there are limits to how far they are willing to go to survive. You will not sleep for days when you read this. It is not for the light of heart.

NOT a book for the clinically depressed!

by A. Smith "Always Buying Books!"

I am a HUGE Cormac McCarthy fan. I've read many of his works so I know well his often dark subject matter. However this is, in my opinion, by far the darkest. I completely agree with s.j.'s earlier assessment; it is exactly like 'falling down a deep, dark hole'. Most likely because this stark and morose book offers little hope for humanity. BUT, I am glad I read it...bleak as it may be. Certainly not a read for everyone though. If you are already on depression meds--stay away!

A "Road" that leads somewhere important to go

by A. T. A. Oliveira "A. T. A. Oliveira"

The scenario is desolating. A vast landscape with no human beings but a father and a son. Earth is not the same anymore. Something has destroyed the world as we know it. These two people try their best to survive, but survival is something bigger than them - bigger than anyone else. This is the place where Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize Winner "The Road" is set. A world where we'd like to visit only in fiction.But what a road this is. We don't know where this path leads to, but any reader can notice that this is a metaphorical device. This road is much more than a place to walk over. This is life, after all. McCarthy touches a exposed never about the contemporary world when he writes about a imaginary future - that can even be real in a couple of decades, we never know.The writer is not really interested in what has changed the world and life into that, but how people cope with this transformation. Some characters can't even deal with this new present. The third part of this family is one of those who couldn't accept the new world.McCarthy creates a journey paved with metaphors and symbols that may be linked to the past or future, or something else. On the other hand, the writer doesn't abandon the West - mythical environment where is set most of his novels, such as his famous Border Trilogy. There is a concept very clear about characters in "The Road" that comes from that place: the good guys and the bad guys. But, on the other hand, here they are never as defined as they usually are in the Westerner. They can be bad or good depending on how you look at them.McCarthy is certainly one of the most accomplished American writers working today. His latest novel proves that he is not seeking for catharsis or comfort whatsoever with his work. He wants to raise questions, to disturb us, readers, to remove is from our alienation. And in the end of the reading we certainly are fully awaken.

Bleak but hauntingly beautiful

by Austin Reader

With this book (and with McCarthy) you will either love it or hate it. I loved it but warning it is very bleak throughout the entire book. There is also some very graphic and violent references although McCarthy does a very good job moving over this quickly and not dwelling on it. He is a very "matter of fact" writer which can be refreshing and makes it a easier and quick read.

Dark, Black, Depressing

by Author Ty

As someone who mostly reads books that could be called "dramatic" or even "depressing," I have to admit that The Road was just too much for me. Every sentence did nothing but elaborate on how miserable the main characters were. McCarthy seemed to use the words "dark" and "black" in nearly every paragraph. Third-most-used would be "dusty." I would end each page in sheer misery, with the desire to either throw the book away or bang my head against the wall. And when the book ended---in a way that most readers would probably predict---that feeling of misery was intensified a hundredfold. Now, I know this book won the Pulitzer Prize, but to me the quality of the writing wasn't high enough to warrant several days and nights of feeling suicidally depressed while I read this. This was my first McCarthy book---so I can't say if all of his books are written this way---but the style of The Road is what I think of as "Literary Redneck Prose"---meaning, the author spends a lot of his time describing simple, rural objects in glowing language. Farm equipment. Rocks. A broken fence. A dead cow. All described in flowery, grandiose terms. For me, that just wasn't enough. The Road didn't have enough story, didn't have enough explanation, didn't have enough character development, and wasn't written well enough to warrant all the praise it's received.

Poetic Misunderstanding

by Avid Reader

Many reviewers have complained of THE ROAD's lack of plot or character development. They've whined that the language is too poetic, too sparse or too hallucinatory. What they do not grasp is that this is not accidental. Indeed, these are the very aspects that make the book what it is - a lyrical treatment of the end.THE ROAD is not an action novel with characters (or caricatures) who make brave speeches about survival and triumph against all odds. There are no mushroom clouds, rampaging hordes, politcal machinations or burning bodies. The final conflagration is an alluded figment of the past that can no more be historically reported than it can be described. The nameless father and son are, of course, every Father and Son just as their story is Every story of the desire to survive in light of utter helplessness and hopelessness. Only through sketchy glimpses do we learn of the past and only by following their journey to the ocean do we learn of their final destination.The grammar and punctuation (or lack thereof) are eerily apropos. The starkness of language mirrors the starkness of landscape. There are no great spikes of relief save for an occasional find of undamaged foods - and then with the immediate thought, What next? I have not seen the movie and an not sure I want to so great was my depressing response. The world inexorably whimpers to a silent retreat from understanding in this fine novel. My Grade - A

Excellent, post-apocalyptic novel

by B. A. Chaney

This novel is vivid and haunting. This was my first McCarthy novel (I picked it up off the best seller list) and I was amazed at the way that he captured the raw emotions of the characters while creating a realistic picture of a post-apocalyptic America. "The Road" is certainly a novel that makes you think, particularly about a future without our planet as we currently know it.

Loved It!!

by Barbara Cinquegrana "biris"

Its not often you run across a book that you cannot wait to get back to. This was that kind of book for me. I found it thrilling and sad and allegorical and completely engaging. Love it.

So bleak, so beautiful.

by BarkLessWagMore

This story is about a man and his boy struggling for survival in a world destroyed by some sort of cataclysmic event. I’ve read a few reviews of this book and the movie version (which I have not seen) and knew what I was getting into but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite prepared for the absolute funk this book put me into while listening to it. It is about struggling to survive amongst the bleakest of odds. It’s dark and it’s so very sad. It's terrible and awful with such painful moments of loveliness. There is very little dialogue and the conversations between the man and his boy are always very brief but the author manages to convey the desperation facing the pair and the strong bond and love between them.I’ve heard the writing style is difficult when read in book form but this wasn’t an issue with the audiobook. The narrator, Tom Stechschulte, was awesome and amazing and his gritty voice perfectly suited to the material. If you enjoy audiobooks and are in the right head space for a story so grim I recommend finding a copy of this audio version. Just make sure you have something that makes you happy nearby after you’re finished because you’ll need it.

One of the year's best--quick, devastating, moving

by B. Capossere

Leave it to Mccarthy to write a post-apocalyptic love story. For make no mistake about it, despite the bleakness of the ashen landscape or the horrors of the marauding gangs of cannibals, this is a love story at heart. Perhaps the fiercest, most moving, most intense love story I've ever read. The road is a quick, relatively plotless read, an episodic novella following a father and his roughly ten-year-old son as they struggle through what seems to be a nuclear winter, heading south in hopes of warmth. Always cold, nearly always starving, they plod on in search of food and shelter, trying to avoid the massed gangs who would rape, kill, and eat them (not necessarily in that order), as well as wandering individuals who would be just as happy to kill them and take what little they have. In summary, the book sounds cliched--the barren post-apocalyptic wasteland, the "Mad Max" like gangs of thugs, the loss of technology, the sorrow over what is gone forever. But the book never falls into cliche. Part of it is its brevity. Where a genre author more concerned with plot might spend whole chapters on avoiding (or being captured by) marauders, or long pages of backstory on just what caused the devastation, Mccarthy simply acknowledges their existence and moves quickly on. The horror (and have no doubt, there is horror enough here) is evoked but more as atmosphere and characterization, more as plot catalyst than plot itself.Cliche is also avoided by the almost singular focus on the father and son and their day to day existence, as opposed to a sweeping cast of characters or a wideangle view of society/civilization as usually occurs in other such novels. What is happening outside the father and son's realm of existence? Is there any government anywhere? Any safe haven? Who knows? Mccarthy doesn't care, nor will the reader. He isn't charting the fall of civilization so much here, or if he is (and it is debatable) he is doing so through a microcosmic world.What also makes The Road rise above cliche, and above most genre version of this form, is Mccarthy's language, here stripped of his more full Faulknerian tendencies just as the land of his book has been stripped bare. His language is sparsely poetic, distilled to an essence and though it is a quick read, you'll want to linger over many a line for its sheer beauty and density of meaning.What drives the book, what is driven by the vision and language, is the love of the father for the son. An unremitting, inviolable, fiercely violent and tender love that will not be gainsaid. There is, for the man, no morality, no religion but this--the survival of his son. He will do anything, kill anyone, perform any rite, to ensure his son's existence in a world that makes those vows not mere rhetoric but the essence of day to day existence. As I said at the start, I have never in all the books I've read ever felt love so fully, so fiercely, so intensely depicted. It moved me to tears by the end and I can count on a hand the number of times a book has done so (well, maybe two hands--but not using all my fingers).This is a bleak book. At times a horrifying book. Also at times an uplifting book. Always a beautiful book. Always a moving book. Along with Gilead, a book that couldn't be more different in vision and tone (though again it deals with a father's love for a son), it is one of the best books I've read in the past year. Highly, highly recommended.

This book is a thriller

by B. Davis "crazy about books"

This haunting story of a father's love and commitment to his young son is a real "page-turner" and should be read by all who are looking for a thriller. I first read it myself and later purchased a copy for my daughter who is a literary scholar. It took just one day for her to finish reading her copy....she couldn't put it down and thanked me for sending it to her through Amazon.com! I highly recommend this timely book to both men and women alike. After reading it you will want to recommend it to everyone.

Stunning Tribute to McCarthy's Son

by Bentley

This is a stunning tribute to McCarthy's son. The Road is a story about an apocalytic world. It tells the story of a father and son who travel this road looking for a way to survive. A story that shows that hope and love can survive in the midst of utter devastation and chaos.The book had a profound impact on me and was ominous and unsettling. But despite those very real emotions when reading the novel, I came away appreciating what is really important in my life a lot more.Bentley/2007The Road

Long Passage to Redemption

by B

A diaspora of father and son. A journey away from the remains of their hometown towards the coast and the south--but also a forced emigration from an old society obliterated by a cataclysmic event. The two protagonists, father and son, trek through wild terrain relying on the father's resourcefulness to overcome the myriad challenges they find along the way. They struggle to keep "the fire" alight as human beings, to persevere, escape the destroyed world and find some better place--to forge new meaning out of the bleak grayness of a foreboden time.As with McCarthy's other works the language is poetic and evocative in a real and workman-like way. We are grounded to the earth and the landscape such that the reality of stuff is put directly before us. Single words and simple sentences--The hard rock. Bent tin. Water trickling down the pipe.--present the world without use of disingenuous rhetoric or flowery prose.The book deals with the unnamed father's uncertainty as to whether the world is worthy to bequeath to his son. Whether there is any meaning left in this denuded and apocalyptic world. Whether he should save the boy from the burden of such a painful life and take both their own lives.The father is the sole source of life the child has ever known. At one point the son tells his father that he has no choice but to believe his father's encouragements, because he has no alternative, because all else is grey and there can be no other world but what the father interprets. The father rages at these circumstances, at what fate has handed the boy, and at his own helplessness to provide a better life.Their journey is an epic search for meaning. In fact, if you stripped the entire story down save for the dialogue between the father and son, you would have an existential rhetorical monologue about the meaning of life, a la Waiting for Godot. By the very act of speaking about purpose and reason in life they, however tenuously, conjure up some sense with which to understand their lives. By setting goals they give each other reason to carry on. By struggling to reach the coast--a goal completely arbitrary on a level--they create orientation on a coordinate-less map. The world surrounds them with waste and nothingness and they are without reference save for the reasons they invent themselves. Without a relation to society and a larger world, their isolated state, day after day, becomes a kind of floating eternity. The past and future fade into as hopelessness and monotony reign. There is one myopic state of being--as reflected in the image of the cave in the opening dream sequence: "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." Everything--even the sun--has been blotted by the inhospitableness of the times and the grey ash and the world's inhumanity, and the two protagonists are enshrouded in a timeless unknown. With nothing to gauge themselves against, survival--moment by moment--becomes their present state, their means and their end.This is not the first time McCarthy's books have dealt with the eternal nature of time. Blood Meridian characterized the marauders and the backwater Mexican locals as a people dug up from some long ago era and made to walk the present day. In No Country for Old Men, the cold-blooded Chigurh pontificates about fate in a chilling scene in which his he gambles his victim's life on the flip of a coin. Chigurh theorizes how a person's every action and circumstance have led up to their present state and therefore the present--a pinpoint of accumulated states of being expending itself in a mere flicker of light--contains everything that will ever come to be. And here in The Road, the woman who cares for the boy at the end of the book tells him: ". . . the breath of God was his breath yet though it pass from man to man through all of time."The dialogue in The Road is very real and pared down as McCarthy's dialogue always is. The conversation between father and son is often heartfelt and moving. The father takes refuge in his son just as much as the son takes refuge in him, but the father must hold back the full measure of his feelings and the full knowledge of the desperateness of their plight, in order to protect his son from the consciousness of such an unfaceably grim reality. And the father carries that burden with him to the end.While the character of the father is extremely resourceful, once, when he needed to open a stuck jar and immediately thinks to put it in-between the door jamb and the swinging door and leverage off the top, I thought he was just too crafty. Too ideal. Perhaps McCarthy ought to kick his survivability down half a notch to keep him more real and more understandable and vulnerable.The father is laconic and manly in a way most of McCarthy's male characters are, including Moss from No Country for Old Men. There are a lot of cowboy hats, cowboy boots and few words. (although not literally in this story)-- that characterizes McCarthy's "real" men.The other people who show up in the book are interesting too. Like the man who shot the father with the arrow and then was shot with the flare gun. Even his circumstance became pitiable when embraced like a child by the old woman in the room upstairs. Everyone is desperate. They are all clawing pathetically at the last straws of life.And as with his previous novels, The Road contains a healthy sense of the bizarre. When the father comes across an abandoned drugstore with a cafe bar, complete with barstools, he sees on the counter a cakebell covering a human head: a head wearing a baseball cap of all things!--very grisly and strange. And there were so many good moments. Like the incinerated motorists on the road, like frozen moments in time, like people waiting out eternity, desiccated statues representing one particular encounter with death. And I enjoyed the details. Like the masks worn to protect people from the dust, and the telling detail that the man's mask was bloody from his coughs. And there were touching moments too. Like when the father finds an old Coke to give to his son.So many questions are asked. We get some answers, but not many. What exactly happened here? Is everyone dead? We don't know. What about life in general? Those things un-human?--the ". . . life in the deep. Great squid propelling themselves over the floor of the sea in a cold darkness. Shuttling past like trains, eyes the size of saucers." What became of them?I read through some of the Amazon reviews and was struck by one in particular in which the reader called the book "trash" because of its fragmented sentence structure. Of course the reply is, That's his style. It doesn't take long to adjust to his writing, and once you do you really connect in with what McCarthy is trying to say, very directly and effectively. And isn't that the purpose of writing?The book is chilling. Those "bloodcult"-type people. Those poor souls in that basement, helplessly blinking in the dark. The baby on the spit. The poor guy who gets struck by lightening because he wrapped wire around the rags on his feet. Certainly the world is a very cruel place.One criticism I can levy is that I thought at times McCarthy was too detailed in his descriptions. He used too many names for things the layperson wouldn't know, unless he or she had a particular working, professional-grade knowledge of that object. This is characteristic of McCarthy. Sometimes you ask, Are all these characters just so much more experienced than me? Or is the author flexing his vocabular muscles, and it would be okay to treat stuff in a less masterful way? At times I was too conscious of his handiwork--like a professional plumber telling me in a sober plumber-like tones and in too much detail about a drain I just want cleared. For example, here's a bit of description that reads more like an instruction manual for stoves than a piece of narrative prose:". . . set about removing one of the burns from the little gimballed stove. He disconnected the braided flexline and removed the aluminum spiders from the burners . . . He unfastened the brass fittings with a wrench and took the burners loose. Then he uncoupled them and fastened the hose to the coupling pipe and fitted the other end of the hose to the gasbottle . . . "I almost think the next thing he's going to say is, "And continue to step 3 as shown in figure B."But The Road is certainly a masterful book.Everything is being lost in this "glaucomic" world. The world is fading. The father dreams of birds flying and of blue skies but he wakes, "Lying there in the dark with the uncanny taste of a peach from some phantom orchard fading in his mouth." The world is slipping away. He thinks the world is, "like the dying world the newly blind inhabit, all of it slowly fading from memory."The father does not even have the luxury of remembering the past. For, "He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in a party game. Say the word and pass it on." What is now distorts and mares the memory of what was. What has gone has truly gone. This is perhaps the saddest part of all.

Not a masterpiece, but pretty damn good

by Big Cadillac "Survivor"

People either love or hate Cormac McCarthy. While a polarized reader base is suggestive of a great writer, it is not conclusively so. Regardless, "The Road" is a nice addition to the ever growing End of the World library.The story follows the walking journey of a man and his young son (age=9?) through a post-apocalyptic America. The man and child must scavenge for food and shelter as the cause of the disaster was apparently quite devestating--there is hardly any life left at all. They head for the Southern coastline with no purpose other than the hope that life might be better down there.Like Cormac's other work, the writing is elegant and simplistic. His lack of proper punctuation is a bit unpalatable, but the reader quickly adjusts.This book can be quickly devoured in a few hours, but it should be read slowly, like a good meal, so the impact of it can be totally felt.**** Spoilers Follow****The real effect of the story is mind-numbing hopelessness and despair. Powerful stuff indeed. Certainly the End of the World would be horrible, but this is the extreme example where only cannibals and murderers can barely survive.The message that can be gleaned from the ending is that humanity's goodness and faith can survive anything. I don't buy into this message considering the world "The Road" takes place in, which is why I only give it four stars.

Powerful in its Devastation and Despair, Yet Powerful in its Hope....A Must-Read...

by Big D

One of the most powerful books you will ever read...Powerful in its devastation..Powerful in its despair...Powerful in its Hope...It can be read, studied and pondered on many levels, all of them provocative, powerful and meaningful...This, though the despair is great, is a must-read book...It is about fire--and the ash of civilization---but in the end, it about hope, the fire of hope...This road will stay with you long after you have finished it and you will ponder its devastation and hope for a long, long time...Maybe the rest of your life. In the end, you will realize that what the great John Claypool said is true: "Despair is presumptious..."This book is about the thin, tiny, and ever so fragile membrane of civilization, its destruction and its rebirth within the human soul..When all hope is gone, hope is just beginning. That's what this book is about..the end of hope and the rebirth, the beginning, of hope.

One of the best books I've ever read

by Billy Lombardo

I am ready to say that Cormac McCarthy is my favorite living author, maybe even my favorite author of all time. The Road is a story of a father and son walking alone through the darkest of all possible American ends. "...each the other's world entire." An America covered in inches of ash."By then all stores of food had given out and murder was everywhere upon the land. The world soon to be largely populates by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes and the cities themselves held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anonymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell."Nice, huh? And yet, in this dark and shadowless world, is a story of greater love and hope than countless stories played out in the better worlds of lesser novels.The Road is certainly the best novel I've read in years. Maybe ever.

Not for every reader

by BilMcReader

I have read many reviews of this book, but it did not prepare me for the impact of this book. The desolation and hopelessness has to be experienced through the author's words. I found the book engrossing and disturbing. Scanning the reviews, I think this is a book that you either can relate to or you can't and no amount of persuasion would change your mind. This is not a criticism of the readers who were bored or unmoved. There are some novels that strike a chord with the reader and others that do not. To me the ultimate success of the book hinged on the conclusion. It was not one that I felt satisfied with. I would like to know what the author had in mind in concluding this way and if he had the end in mind early in the book. I also wondered what the need was for the scavenger episode in the deserted mansion. It seemed to me that topic had been covered in the bomb shelter episode. Reviewers complain about the lack of a plot. There is not a traditional plot, but then this is 2007 and it has long been proven you can sustain interest without a traditional plot. This isn't a book for every reader, but for those it connects with it is a moving experience.


by BJ "Brett Starr"

I picked up "The Road" solely based on the fact that it was written by the author who wrote "No Country for Old Men", which I havent read, but the movie was outstanding!I had no pre-judgement about the book, or author. I wasn't too thrilled about the "Oprah's Book Club" sticker on the front though. I figured I would crack the book open, read the 1st chapter to feel it out and toss it aside had it been a weak read.Wow, was I wrong. I've never read a book faster in my life. The book has no chapters, the characters have no names, it's just a straight read all the way through!The story is amazing, the characters are amazing, your drawn to every page, constantly cheering them on and worrying about them at the same time. I found myself unable to put the book down, constantly wondering whats next?The book is about hope and the love between a father & son after the apocalypse, in a savaged land where no plants and animals exist, everything is covered in black ash and cannibals roam the streets, highways and cities. Everyday they struggle with starvation, the weather and the fear that they may never see tomorrow!Great book, highly recommend to everyone!Read it now, because I have no doubts it will be a movie in the near future!

Amazing piece of work

by Blake Petit "Novelist, columnist & reviewer"

Set in a dying, post-apocalyptic world, The Road is a haunting story about a father and son attempting to survive in a blighted landscape full of unimaginable dangers. The mother long dead, their destination uncertain, this book is simply an account of their travels - searching for food, trying to escape from cannibals, protecting the few things they can call their own. Most of the book is told through the eyes of the unnamed father, as he worries about his son, often disregarding his own health and safety in the process. Ultimately, the book is a love story about the father and son, "each the other's world entire." McCarthy doesn't delve too deeply into the history of this world, nor into its future. Even the characters of Father and Son are relatively unexplored - we know very little about them except that the boy was born after whatever happened to devastate the world and their devotion to one another is absolute. Despite this, the book is incredibly deep and layered, with a richness rare in this genre. It's a marvelous book, and one that frankly leaves me at something of a loss for words.


by Bobby T "Bobby T"

This book was simply haunting. It captured my attention, sucked me in, and did not let go until it was finished. I was literally shaking during parts of this book and I completely attached myself to the Father and Son during their quest for survival.WONDERFUL book!!!

Vivid images

by bookloverintexas

When asked, I wasn't sure how to describe how I felt about the book, other than saying...well, it kept me reading! The writing often seemed very simple and clear and brilliantly descriptive. And having survived a major hurricane down here on the Gulf Coast a couple of years ago brought the whole theme so much closer to feeling real. The ending seemed rather abrupt, and a little too neatly tied up, but I was compelled enough by Mr McCarthy to seek out another of his books. I'm now reading "No Country for Old Men".

Possibly one of the most powerful anti-war novels ever written

by Bookreporter

Great writers challenge us with books about difficult subjects. They are the ones who enter the cave with a torch and shine the light on things we would rather not see up close. Cormac McCarthy is a great writer.In previous works, like BLOOD MERIDIAN, he was not afraid to shine a light on subjects such as American violence. In this book, THE ROAD, McCarthy illuminates the ultimate nightmare that has haunted mankind since August 1945. This is a dystopian look at America, or what would be left of America, after a nuclear war. This is a book that stares, unblinking, straight into the abyss.It is a masterpiece. THE ROAD might be one of the most powerful anti-war novels ever written.McCarthy's power comes from telling a simple story in the simplest language. There are no character names. There are no dates. There is no timeline. There are no chapters in THE ROAD. We never even find out what the real "war to end all wars" was about. Nobody won. Everything was lost. The book offers no lessons in history, politics or foreign policy. There are no stirring speeches made about God or country or freedom.It is just the story of "the day after" a few years later, as told by a father and his young son, who is probably about five years old. They travel the road with a supermarket shopping card containing all their worldly possessions, including a pistol with only two bullets left in the chamber."When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out and touch the child sleeping besides him. Nights 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."So begins this extraordinary novel. And we join them on the road. Governments and countries no longer exist. There is no such thing now as law and order. Most people died in the nuclear holocaust. Those who did survive are either part of marauding, mad, violent gangs or lone and possibly dangerous scavengers.The man and his boy have no food and must hunt through the blasted remnants of the countryside, foraging crumbs and prized items of canned goods from the cabinets and shelves of empty houses inhabited only by the dead. With another merciless winter coming --- they think but cannot be sure since there are no calendars anymore --- they follow a vague plan to take the road south to the sea and hopefully find the warmer weather that no longer exists on earth.Their journey is the stuff of nightmares. "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 the doorway dried to leather. Grimacing at the day. He pulled the boy closer. Just remember that the things you put in your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that."The boy has no memory of the lost world. He was still not born when "it" happened. His father recalls to himself, "The clock stopped at 1:17. A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions. He got up and went to the window. What is it, she said. He didn't answer."The father remembers the lost world, but banishes those memories and dreams for they do them no good. "There is no past," he tells himself. Nor does he sugarcoat the situation for his son. They stay on the road --- starving, cold and sick --- but focused entirely on the daily job of survival.This is a terrifying story. McCarthy is a master at relentlessly building the terror as their journey continues through a gray world littered with advertising signs for products that no longer exist and where the sun never breaks through the gray dust storms of the nuclear winter. He writes, "By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp."Yet this is not a depressing book. In the love and concern that this father and son display for each other, THE ROAD becomes the story of the triumph of love and humanity in the worst of circumstances. The father tells his child at one point, "This is what the good guys do. They keep trying. They never give up."And toward the end, he says, "I will do what I promised...No matter what. I will not send you into the darkness alone."The novel never gives way to despair and the ending is breathtaking. This is powerful writing at its best. But be warned, it is a tough subject. After all, we have seen the gray ash of death and destruction covering the streets of lower Manhattan and the corpses abandoned for days on the streets of New Orleans. But those were just sneak previews of the nuclear holocaust. McCarthy reminds us here of what Albert Einstein tried to teach us six decades ago: if a nuclear war ever happens, the living will envy the dead.The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has kept a doomsday clock since 1947. It stands today at seven minutes to midnight, having moved ahead by two minutes in 2002. The Bulletin tells us on their website that there are 31,000 nuclear weapons in the world today and 16,000 of them are still operationally deployed by the U.S. and Russia. That's a nice way of saying that they could be fired at a moment's notice.McCarthy doesn't recite these numbers in THE ROAD. He doesn't have to. As a great fiction writer he has written a haunting book that will stay with you long after you finish it. THE ROAD is going to become a classic. Read it. It is later than we all think.--- Reviewed by Tom Callahan

Harrowing yet beautifully written

by Book Reviewer 2009

(***** = breathtaking, **** = excellent, *** = good, ** = flawed, * = bad)After an unspecified environmental holocaust, an unnamed father and young son struggle to survive in a harsh world, clinging to the redemptive power of love. Longer review at ImpatientReader-dot-com.

Stunning novel of the human spirit

by Born to Read

An unimaginable calamity has befallen the planet. In a world stripped of everything we hold dear - trees, birds, fish, flowers, sunlight, pure air - the few mortals who somehow manage to remain - and who choose to continue to do so - have only one thing left: an instict to survive. In this brilliant novel, the human soul is laid bare, and most of the souls left choose self-preservation at brutal cost to others. Humankind has lost its humanity.Except for a man and his small son, who struggle southward seeking the 'good guys' and ever-diminishing bits of uncontaminated food. But why? The man's is a simple, single goal: ro keep his son alive. But the fire of humanity has not yet been completely extinguished: the son has compassion for the wretches they meet along the road, even those who would steal their means of survival.The plot of 'The Road' is a simple one: march southward, search for food, try to stay warm and dry, and keep the 'bad guys' at bay. And we know that the story can have only one ending. But the simple plot engrosses and stirs: having read this stunning novel, I wonder if I can ever look at a tree, a bird, or, indeed, a human being in quite the same way again. Or is hope an essential part of the human condition?This is a cautionary tale, clearly at the extreme end of the spectrum. But as we continue to despoil the planet, willfully or unconsciously, is it not possible that we are inching towards the world McCarthy so scathingly describes in 'The Road'?


by Brad "Darth Gunner"

Post apocalyptic novels are a tough genre.Many try to go too far into the detail of why the author thinks things happened, and just what the hypothesized things that happened were.In this novel, most of the details left blank. Which make sense in the context of the novel.It isnt 1st person, but it is heavily from the point of view of the father and son. Where they go and what they do and say. And they didnt know, so why should we? And to the point of the story, does it matter?There is no overlaying narrator thread to add / subtract qualitative value to the actions and consequences. It is raw and visceral and awful and terrible and wonderful.A few belly laughs aside though, this is a dark journey, and if you arent both familiar and comfortable with the dark side, you may want to leave this one alone.But if you are looking for a GREAT read that may take you to a dark place, and even have your eyes welled up a few times, you cant go wrong with this one.

A Portrait of Hoplessness

by bravhat1234

Let me preface this review by stating that I think Cormac McCarthy is one of the world's greatest living novelists, and The Road exhibits his mastery of the writing craft. The book is poetic and disturbingly beautiful. I typically love melancholy art, however something about McCarthy's nihilism does not sit well with me. There is a quality to the suffering and hopelessness that the protagonists undergo that is hard to define, perhaps a mean-spiritedness. I also have problems with the author's philosophy but that is a discussion for another time.

Affecting, and Very Moving

by Brett Benner

A world decimated beyond recognition. Everything is colored in shades of grey and black, filtered with layers of soot, ash, and burning embers. Through this nightmarish wasteland, a man trudges across the bleak landscape with his son towards the sea, and the hope of what lies there. Suvivors are categorized as either good or bad, and the bad are truly horrifying. However with all this bleakness, the one thing that resounded with me was the bounty of love this father has for his child. Just McCarthy's descriptions of the man bathing his son, and washing his hair are breathtaking in their utter devotion.

Poetic Bleakness

by Brett Grossmann "BrettOG"

Not a feel good story. Do not purchase if you are looking for Walking Dead fast moving narrative about bleak futures. This book had me highlighting with my kindle for the first time. Some of the wording is just that profound. I wanted to read certain sentences again…and again. The words rich and dripping with imagery. Magnificent. The book is a quick read. Thankfully, because it is bleak and the characters live in a boring never-ending blah.

Good book, now I want to see the movie =)

by Brian A. Baird ""After that, everything g...

This was an "okay" book for me.At times, it felt like the author was practicing his skills at describing things, because the story didn't go very far.It has a lot of the same elements as many of McCarthy's books: traveling from here to there, taking a long time to do so & looking for food & building fires all the time.I was expecting more from it.But if you're a McCarthy fan, this is a must.And since the movie's coming out soon, you should read it first.

Setting the bar VERY high...

by Brian C.

The Road is the first novel of Cormac McCarthy's that I have had the pleasure of reading and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is among the most powerful novels I have ever read. I have read a ton of really good books but I don't think any book I have ever read has moved me quite as much as this one did. Cormac McCarthy has set the bar impossibly high in terms of what a novel can be.The story is about a father and a son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world with nothing but a shopping cart, a few cans of food, some blankets and tarps, and a gun with exactly two bullets. The world that Cormac McCarthy creates is bleak, realistic, and terrifying. During the day the sun is hidden behind swirling clouds of ash while at night the world is enveloped in a total darkness that the world hasn't known for a thousand years; certainly not since the invention of electricity. The landscape is burnt and lifeless and cold and is populated by only a handful of surviving humans many of whom have turned to cannibalism in their desperation.Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, in an essay on The Sound and the Fury, that "A fictional technique always relates back to the novelist's metaphysics. The critic's task is to define the latter before evaluating the former." Cormac McCarthy gives us a clue as to the implicit metaphysics lying behind his book when the father is thumbing through some old books in an abandoned house and McCarthy writes, "He'd not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come. It surprised him. That the space which these things occupied was itself an expectation" (pg. 187). The objects that make up our everyday world, according to this view, are nothing but vectors pointing into the future. Take away that future and you have robbed the world of its substance. The question that Cormac McCarthy seems to be asking in this novel is: what, if anything, could possibly survive such a total annihilation of the future? Cormac McCarthy's answer seems to be love; love is the one thing that is enduring enough to survive such a total and general destruction of the world; or the value that we place on love, at any rate, is not determined solely by its relation to the future, it is not predicated on an expectation, not even the expectation of surviving.That love will in fact survive, that the world will be reborn, is not at all a foregone conclusion, at least, not for McCarthy. There are other forces besides the force of love operating within Cormac McCarthy's world (as there are in ours) including hunger. The cannibals in Cormac McCarthy's novel are a terrifying image of what happens when love is dominated and forced to play second fiddle to the forces of hunger and self-preservation (this seems to me to accord with the biblical notion of apocalypse from what little I know of it). These forces are so powerful that they often seem to be all but infinite. Some people even go so far as to define life purely in terms of these forces and treat love as merely an evolutionary adaptation in the service of these more basic forces. Many people view Cormac McCarthy's novel as a novel of despair; but I don't, precisely because in the world that McCarthy creates love is a force that cannot be simply reduced to these other forces. Somehow love maintains itself even in the face of imminent death when it is no longer possible to believe that it is merely playing the part of a puppet in service of the will to survive.McCarthy is surely not an optimist; or someone who is willing to ignore the more destructive forces at work in the world. It takes courage to persevere, to "carry the flame", in the face of such total despair when there is so little hope of success. This, I take it, is one of the major themes of this book.But ultimately no mere thematic summary could possibly do justice to this book. All I can really say is: just read it! (and that is an order).

A bleak post-apocalyptic world...

by Brian Hawkinson

Having read only one other McCarthy book I kind of knew what I was getting in to. Something dark, something tedious, something to pull at the heart strings and yet quite possibly leave you shaking your head frowning. This was my reaction to Outer Dark and I had this same reaction to The Road.The books jumps straight in to a father and son walking a somewhat parallel path to a road that seems to lead them into Mexico. You get zero back story, with the exception of a few paragraphs devoted to the father's wife, and instead literally read about the struggle that the two, a loving father trying to protect his son and "the fire", must go through to stay alive. The world is bleak and full of ashes, an apocalyptic world where everything is dead or dying and humans are the new protein of choice. And what's with roasting babies over fires to eat? In both McCarthy books I've read this same scene has happened twice.Some of the scenes are haunting and leave a vision that is striking in its clarity (the scene in the basement comes to mind), and others of humanities hope leave you hopeful for the future (scenes with the son come to mind). But all in all I was left shaking my head wondering what the point was. The writing is easy and the narrative flows. You can literally sit down and read this in one sitting and, for the most part, you remain interested the whole time. In the end you neither care nor don't care. The book just is, and so you move on to the next one. Not a bad read, not necessarily a good one either.3 stars.

Never been a McCarthy fan, and I'm still not

by Brian K. Miller "Greyhawk"

I struggled through the text, but I did read it from start to finish. Cormac McCarthy is trying to create a self-reflective main character, but the problem is the character never stops blaming himself for every sin in the world. He comes across as shallow, narcissistic, and delusional. If you're looking for good post-apocalyptic fiction skip this one and go forEternity Road,The Postman, orOn the Beach.

The Road Taken

by Brian Markowski

Here's what "The Road" is not. It's not science fiction. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic America but it doesn't bother to go into any detail about what happened. It's not an adventure story. Our protagonists don't fall into the hands of an evil army and forge a daring escape. It's not a traditional story. If you're looking for a three act arc with beginning, middle and end it's not here. You get a beginning and maybe an end, that's it. So what is it? To me it's about us; as a race, as individuals. Ask you're self what would happen if the world changed tomorrow? Changed in such a way that everything we know, our cars, our food, our friends, our sky were all gone. How would you adapt? How would you survive?In McCarthy's "The Road" we follow a man and his son down a road as they move east towards the sea, their world reduced to themselves and a shopping cart which they push slowly forward. Through their eyes we see the planet as it has become, a forever gray sky, humans reduced to cattle, giant fires that sweep across the land. The writing, the dialogue, even the punctuation is minimum. Often it felt repetitious and too simplistic, but I was still drawn to their struggle. After some time reading, I knew I wasn't going to get a predictable "Hollywood" story. Rather, I was just going to get their story; a story that anyone of us might face some day, utterly lacking in adventure, predictability, and even dialogue but a story that reeks of paranoia, fear, and uncertainty.Is "The Road" a classic? I don't know if that's for us to decide, but it's a perfect read for those in high school and on up. So maybe some 12th grade Lit. Class will debate the "classic" question, because people seem to be debating it now. And the fact that they're debating now tells me that McCarthy doing something right.

Lyrical darkness

by BronxRev "BronxRev"

There were points in this book where I truly felt compelled by these characters, and I sensed their dread (and the bottom fell out of my stomach a few times). Yet, in the end, though I took it for an allegorical tale, it was much ado about.. well, what exactly?

Love and Hope amongst utter devastation

by Bruce Stern

Love in the face of constant threats to life itself; perseverance stoked by nothing more than faith and hope. Perseverance and the mighty bonds of love, of a father sworn, at first just to himself, and later expressed to his young son, that they will make it to safety, whatever that hoped for refuge is they don't know. These are some of the ingredients of one of the greatest stories I have ever read--and twice in the past two months."The Road", Cormac McCarthy tells us, describes our world after a potentially world-killing cataclysmic event, probably a nuclear holocaust, perhaps a natural event. Whatever happened leaves little human life left. (To say nothing of the rest of the biological world.) Is this hell? It certainly reads like life within one of the rings of Dante's Inferno. People become their most animalistic selves--almost all people.The father and the boy, both unnamed, are the "good guys", according to the boy, the moral compass of this deeply emotional story. The boy reminds his father that they carry "the light," and therefore, they must behave the part. The boy is rightfully fearful. How can a child of eight or ten years comprehend the smothering, ash-filled and omnipresent gray world? His father provides the resourcefulness, the protection, the shoulders and the compassion, and his heart and soul to carry the boy through this Hades. Yet, it is the boy who is truly compassion personified.This story rings so true; it has no false notes, no cutting corners, manipulations or contrivances. It's a story of love in spite of horrific circumstances; of faith and hope where neither's existence could easily be understood and accepted.Reading "The Road" taught me a great deal about what is important about human life, and about the strength and courage we can call upon during the direst of circumstances. Read it and weep; read it and feel your heart anew.

Death of a planet

by Buffalohump

I have been an avid fan of Cormac McCarthy since picking up a copy of Blood Meridian in a bookstore some ten years back. In fact, he is my favourite living writer. Having read everything he has written more than once since then, I caught up to the point that I was awaiting the arrival of a new work with great anticipation. The Border Trilogy came and went, and I believe it to be his greatest achievement. Now into his 70s, it could be said he is in the twilight of his career, a time when many reflect back and become philosophical about the world and where it is going. Death is waiting in the wings and impossible to ignore. This could well have been the frame of mind McCarthy was in when he wrote The Road. I for one found it almost unbearably sad. The scenario has been covered by many other reviews so I won't dwell on that. Suffice to say, the book appears to be a warning to those who trifle with weapons that have the power to destroy the world as we know it and I believe it should be required reading for all heads of state. The consequences of any hostile action involving nuclear weapons is too terrible to contemplate, but McCarthy has etched, in vivid, unforgettable detail, an entirely plausible picture of what the world will resemble if this cataclysmic event should ever take place. This is not an easy book to read, despite the beautifully wrought sentences. The sense of dread is permeable throughout and I challenge anyone to finish it and see the world with unchanged eyes. Yet another masterpiece from a man who seems incapable of writing anything else. My only question is - why has he not been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Very Dark - End of the World Book

by Burgmicester

I've heard so much about McCarthy, that after Oprah put this book on her list, I had to read it. Well, I am a sucker for an End of the World, where did everyone go book.It was intriguing and haunting. I couldn't wait to see what happened, and it is very easy reading and quite short. So, I kept reading to see what happened. And as I turned the pages, the world got bleaker. My thoughts turned to what would I do? So I kept reading to see what happened. And every day the characters were confronted with more and more dire circumstances. Except when artistic license seemed to be their way out. So I kept reading to see what happened. And I followed our heroes on their journey and I kept reading to see what happened.And while I kept reading to see what happened, the story was like this review. The same thing kept happening and happening and happening. And then it ended.That said, it was interesting, it was worth the couple of hours of time it took to read it, but it wasn't terrific and it wasn't a marvel. It was okay, just okay.

A Thought-Provoking Nightmare

by Burton P. Brodt

In a world somehow burned to a crisp, a few people survive. A father and young son travel south along a partially-melted highway to escape the winter. They have no names; nothing has a name any longer. On the way, they encounter others trying to survive, often by preying on the helpless, even enslaving and eating some. The child wants to help some of the more unfortunate, but the father's focus is entirely on saving the boy and himself. He trusts no one, and hides from all human contact. Eventually, the father dies of TB, and the boy, left alone, shows himself to a band of travelers, expecting to be eaten. But instead they adopt him, and it is obvious that the group of good people will form the basis for a renewal of civilization.The theme appears to be that good will always triumph over evil eventually.Four Little Old Men: A (Mostly) True Tale from a Small Cajun Town

Terrible...and Wonderful

by B. Wilfong

What does one say about "The Road"?This text is brutally disheartening and uplifting, and all at the same time. Not an easy feat to accomplish! I won't rehash any plot points here, that has been done to death. But I will say that McCarthy is a master at using his prose to exploit the emotions of his readers. The characters are indeed flat and one dimensional, as some negative reviews have pointed out, however, that is the point. They are archetypal characters, and are the Everyman of medieval morality plays. The boy is the young innocent, as yet untainted by the corrupting forces of maturation and humanity. He still possesses the "light" of human compassion, responsibility, and morality. The father represents the man searching for grace and redemption in a world where he can no longer find it. But there is the son, his (and our) hope.You as the reader find yourself elated at a simple trove of old, shriveled apples. Rejoicing in the father's momentary find of abundance in a bleak landscape.You find yourself devastated when you can understand the father's motives for abandoning other survivors to certain death. Wishing that you, like the boy, could not.You find yourself pondering at the wise and quizzical ranting of the "prophet" Ely, and wondering why those kinds of people always provide more questions than answers.And your heart soars when you discover at novel's end that death is not the end of all things, and that hope is undying and not a unique part of humanity. You realize it is something that is innate in us all, and if we cultivate and protect it in ourselves, there will always be a chance for humanity.Is "The Road" an allegory? Maybe?Is it Biblical in character, prose, and story? Definitely!Read this text, but read it with others so that you can discuss it. It will make for a rewarding experience.


by Caleb

I enjoyed the novel. I found it compelling and powerful at times, however, I was also a little disappointed. It wasn't nearly as powerful as I had expected it to be. I saw the film adaptation before reading the book, so that may account for the muted emotions the novel elicited.The bare-bones writing style of McCarthy, with its lack of punctuation, was as good as ever, although a few of the longer bits of dialogue could be a tad confusing if you lost track of whose turn it was to speak.McCarthy seamlessly blends the present narrative with poetic passages concerning dreams and thoughts of the future, and brief flashbacks. This I felt was a weak point of the novel. Not always, but several times these sequences required a quick reread to better grasp, since the shift from narrative to these thoughtful sections could be overlooked easily.McCarthy's style lends itself to the bleak and barren world he's created. It leaves you with a very haunted feeling, especially in the latter parts if the book. Although, it also makes it difficult to connect with the characters, but this may have been McCarthy's intent.The ending was a bit disappointing for me, although I'm not sure what I was expecting. Again, this is partly due to seeing the film first, but it did feel a bit out of tune with the bleakness of the rest of the novel.Long story short, I liked book. Its haunting nature and landscapes are undeniable. In particular the Man's love and ever present fear for the Boy will resonate with any parent, and break your heart at times. I would definitely recommend it.

Complete Waste of Time

by cantaffordchoos

This book was a complete waste of time. If you are looking for a "literary masterpiece", i.e. a book that says nothing but is chalk full of stupid metaphors and allegories, then you might like it. It is annoying to read due to it not having any punctuation, for starters, but I guess if you are McCarthy you can get away with it. In addition, I hate to be a spoiler, but nothing happens throughout the book!! I will admit it is a page turner, because it leaves you thinking any minute something will happen, but it never really does. One or two interactions with other people on the road, and that's it. 95% of the book is their pathetic cling to survival. Read the first 20 pages and you can put it away, it is the same thing for the rest of the book, and that is not an exaggeration. Unless you are a literature professor, or just a glutton for depressing stories, you will probably be as pissed as me for wasting 5 hours reading it.

In my top 5

by Carma

I read this book over a year ago and I'm still thinking about it. Moved me deeply

on the road again

by Case Quarter

two biblical stories serve as a grid.first: lot is told by god to take his family and leave the cities sodom and gomorrah and head for the mountains. lot, not wanting to take the long journey, makes a deal with god and takes his family to the city of zoar. the twin cities are destroyed, lot's wife is turned to salt, lot looks at the remains of the twin cities and is terrified. in his terrified state, fearing zoar might be next, he takes his daughters and journies to the mountains, his daughters clearly convinced by their father's panic and the strange death of their mother that the world has ended.second: moses and the children of israel are out of egypt. the israelites have begun to doubt moses at every move, believing they were better off as slaves back in egypt. for every hardship encountered there is a miraculous gift from god.mccarthy's family, father and son, travel in sorrow and hope toward a destination. faith is questioned as the father speaks bitterly about god and prophets.the story resonates with the sensibility of the works of william golding and samuel beckett. the writing seems dedicated to hemingway and becomes nearly an act of worship with the sentence: this is a good place papa, he said. perhaps the ghost of hemingway responds to cormac mccarthy: yes it is my son.

When the whole world is lost, only love remains

by Cassie W.

The world is dead. The sky is the color of slate, hiding a wan sun that barely lights the day. Gray ash covers every surface. The air is bitingly cold, the wind unceasing. The animals are gone, and the trees will never grow again. There are no animals and few people; there is little food. All that remains is silence, emptiness, and the road.It is on this road that readers meet a man and his son, shuffling ever south through the ash in hopes of reaching the coast, conscious of the roving bands of cannibals who would call them food. They walk not through an alien world, but through the United States of America, in the aftermath of what readers can only assume is nuclear war. We don't know their names or where they come from, or how long they've been walking. All we know is where they're headed, and that between them there exists a love and devotion that transcends the end of the world.In THE ROAD, Cormac McCarthy paints an all-too-vivid picture of a very possible future for humanity -- and it is terrifying. THE ROAD is at once a horror novel, a religious tome, and a political statement. It will make you weep, make you think, make you reevaluate your relationship with God, make you celebrate your days and those you share them with a little bit more. McCarthy's prose is some of the sparest I've read, and yet it will haunt you long after you close the final page. I finished THE ROAD more than a week ago, and I still can't fully articulate what a heartbreaking experience it was to read it. This novel is almost surely destined to become an American classic.THE ROAD contains some of the most affecting imagery I've ever read in a novel: a human fetus roasting on a spit; a gray beach beside a grayer, dead ocean; human flesh embedded between a cannibal's rotting teeth; a man teaching his young son to swim in tainted water; an old man, incoherent and nearly blind, hobbling through the ash down a mountain road. McCarthy shows us all this -- and yet, hope remains. The end of the novel is surprisingly uplifting and, although we know what will eventually become of humanity on earth, we are given a brief respite from this bleak future.What a startling, beautiful, heartbreakingly bleak work of fiction. What a profound, thought-provoking, powerful reading experience. What an unequivocal triumph of storytelling from one of America's greatest voices. This book changed me -- read it, and you'll know what I mean. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

Haunting? You'd Better Hope Not...

by C. Bleakley

cuz these are not the kinds of dreams you want to have.Here's how good Cormac McCarthy is: he can be both spare and biblical at the same time. Can you imagine? So I hereby nominate McCarthy to rewrite the Old Testament. It would probably weigh in at about 400 pages, but wouldn't miss a thing.McCarthy's voice is compelling and unique (okay, except for maybe Samuel Beckett, of whom McCarhty is beginning to remind me of more and more). I think the trick--or rather skill--is that he paints in beautiful broad brushstrokes, then does fine detail work, leaving the big middle for the reader to imagine. In a few lines, and by arfully enlisting readers as co-creators--he can conjure a world.I read "The Road" months ago when it first came out. In retrospect, what most sticks with me is the visceral sense of that ghastly world McCarthy creates. I'll always know what it was like to trudge through that grey world, to avoid strangers as a matter of life and death, to mourn the loss of a shopping cart, to feel the oppresive and pervasive weight of hope lost in humanity. It'll stick to your ribs.Granted, "The Road" doesn't have the adreniline energy of "No Country For Old Men," or its withering dialogue. Dialogue in "The Road" is used in an entirely different way, often as a ritual of sorts between father and son. Most incidents along the journey, whatever allegoric weight they may carry, are well done but not truly memorable--with one or two horrifying exceptions.So I don't remember specific turns of phrase or specific events that well. But I remember the feeling of knowing that starvation is within a few days away, the relief of finding a long-forgotten cache, the evil potential always presented by strangers in this world. It's hard not to project one's self into its nightmare environment.I'm not sure what those who disliked this book are looking for in their pleasure reading, other than dialog in quotation marks and characters with names. The author isn't precise about how this world came to pass? Well, that's not what this book is about. Nothing happens? Well, what would you want to have happen? History is over. Maybe personality, too. Stripped to our basic survival needs, how different would we be? And here's McCarhty's other triumph: to nonetheless make these nameless characters flesh and blood people, however archetypical they seem.And though the book ends with the faintest twinkle of (short-term) hope, it does so by calling into question the father/son dynamic that has been the engine of the book. Happy ending indeed.I think the people who gave this book bad feedback actually fell deepest into the book's world and didn't like it, so gave the book negative reviews for taking it somewhere they didn't want to be. As for me, months down the road it remains a memorable reading experieince.

A fill in the blank novel

by C. Ellen Connally

In many respects THE ROAD is a fill in the blanks novel. The author supplies a powerful outline and the reader has to fill in the blanks as to why the earth has been devastated; why the father and son are traveling; why the wife made the decision that she did; why there are good peple and bad people; and what will happen to the characters after the novel end. There are in a sense hundreds of stories within the novel because with every abandoned house, car and village the reader has to ponder over the fate of the persons who inhabited them.But therein lies the beauty and simplicity of the novel. I believe that much of the appeal of the structure in terms of filling in the blanks is the challenge faced by the reader - what would you do in in these situations. Would your courage and strength equal that of the father and the son. Would you have been a good person or a bad person? Would you have survived? And more importantly would you have been willing to fight to stay alive?THE ROAD is not a long novel; in a sense it is a short story. At first glance I questioned the editors decision to lay out the pages with only spaces between paragraphs, no chapters; and dialogue that sometimes has a brief conversatoin on an entire page. However the format adds to the power of the novel and allows the magnitude of what would, in a normal world, be simple acts...getting food and shelter, getting in out of the rain.If you are unwilling to deal with major issues about life and death do not read this book. If you want a chance to take a look in a mirror of your soul then spend the few hours it will take to read THE ROAD. You will likely come away spending many hours putting yourself in the place of the characters. And as you ponder their lives, you can ponder your own immortality and decisions that you would make under similar circumstances.

Love, love love The Road

by Charlene

I love McCarthy's writing style in that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication (Leonardo da Vinci). He doesn't have to say much, but I felt as if I really could connect with the Man and the Boy during their bleak journey south to... who knows where?After an apocalyptic event destroys most of the world, as far as the novel tells, a father and son are all each other have left. Their story is utterly heartbreaking as they encounter horrors of cannibalism and the destructive change in humans as life is slowly trickling away. Savageness and primal instincts come out to play as what's left of the world is left for grabs, and survival of the fittest is no longer a saying--it becomes a reality.McCarthy details the love between the father and son as they cling onto each other in a world that is no longer civilized. Civilization is a thing of the past and as far as the Boy knows, they are 'the good guys', and they need to 'carry the fire'.Completely heart wrenching as they face hunger and perils unimaginable- don't read on a rainy day.Loved it, despite the lack of a definite ending. Would read it again if I had the time. Not a long read, either- quite quick, but lingers in your mind as you try to figure out what lays ahead for humankind.Definitely buy The Road! You won't regret it!

Another must......

by Charles Edwards

for all devotees of McCarthy. The movie is good but the book is better. Ever heard that before? Anyone this is a great read.

Survival in a World We've Never Known

by Charles Slovenski

This is a story of a man and his son, still a child, whom we meet in a world that has been devastated. They are travelling along an interstate highway in order to reach the sea and possibly a richer environment. They encounter ash and destruction by fire everywhere, empty towns, abandoned buildings and occasionally small hordes of people, apparently not good people, who march their slaves and pregnant women along the road. They find human heads in places such as on a cake tray in a ravaged café, a baby's body being roasted on a stick and other indications of madness. In one locked basement they uncover a group of naked, tortured people who plead for help as the man and his child run for safety. They go hungry and survive by foraging abandoned buildings since nothing lives in this destroyed world. Even when they reach the sea, it is not the sea we would recognize as thriving. There are no birds, the water is gray, the sun is muted and the beach is littered with fish skeletons. The man is determined to leave his son with hope and fulfilment in the face of such a desolate world, in which nothing seems to thrive but the will to live, and even this will is rare and unreliable: the man keeps a gun which holds one bullet just in case. The man is ill and eventually, after persistent and incredible hardship, dies. The child is met by a small family who kindly take him and offer him hope.The story is told by a master of words. Sentences are short and brief in description. I wasn't bothered by the occasional unfamiliar word or unusual construction, both of which I felt served the plot which aims to depict mankind in a far-reaching context: if this is the end of humanity, there had to be a beginning, archaic words and effortful construction being part of that process. There are no explanations or apology. Strong emotions are indicated by action: for example, when the boy runs awkwardly down the road in oversized sneakers, the man is so moved he has to stop. The boy himself is a wonderful character, deeply upset and concerned when he encounters another child, or a destitute old man, pleading with his father to help. I found both the father and son to be two of the most moving characterizations I've ever read, pure and deeply believable embodiments of faith and goodness.

Great story, lazy punctuation

by Cheryl Wedesweiler "author of SUMMER BORN and...

This is a beautiful and important portrait of a father's love and selfless devotion to his son. In their post-apocalyptic world, the father and son travel toward the west. They set out with a vast wasteland as their setting, with only each other to depend on.The father takes such good care of his son: he warms the child's feet against his chest. With every waking hour, the father is on guard to protect the child from cannibals, and the father has to use his wilderness savvy to search for food.The father's survival skills were amazing to read about. He carried small tools, and unearthed a fully stocked bunker. I was amazed that he expertly handle many situations, but that he could not make a fire after he lost his lighter.The father kept an even temper. For example-he did not become angry when the son left the valve for their portable stove on and all the fuel escaped. The father knows that there is no sense in loosing his temper since the child is maturing and does learn from his mistakes.As the son matures, his "Papa" asks for his opinion on survival matters. For example-when they find some food, the father asks if they should boil it first.A major annoyance of this book is the lack of punctuation: there are no quotation marks around spoken words and few aprostrophes are used. It kind of spoils such a wonderful and poignant story. I could understand such mistakes with a new author, but this is a seasoned author-Cormac McCarthy has 10 previous novels. I found the lazy punctuation frustrating and disrespectful to the reader.My book is-Dreams in August: Life, Love, and Cerebellar Ataxia

Waste of time

by ChEV001 "Joe"

I was looking forward to reading this based on all the reviews. I've never been so disappointed in my life. It wasn't haunting, or stunning heartbreaking beauty, it was boring. There was no suspense, no drama only dreariness. I didn't see any of the environmental themes or love themes other reviewers saw; I saw only an interesting idea for a novel and a lackluster and juvenile attempt to flesh out the idea. I wanted to like this but didn't. Read Alas Babylon or One Second After if you want to read a good book.

A Dark Meditation on Humanity, but moreso a Triumphant Expression of a Father's Love

by Child King

McCarthy is one of the best in the business. He's not prolific, but he's like James Cameron. When it comes, it's worth the wait. The Road is one of my top books of the past decade. Dark? Yes. Violent? Undoubtedly. Frustrating for some? Warranted. For me, this is a poignant portrayal of a love deep enough to hazard all dangers. A Christ-like parallel from a father, whose sacrifice is entire, to son. The prose is sparse and riveting, communicating volumes with minimalist efficiency, but the story is that of a simple relationship. No complexities other than those placed on them by circumstance. No false drama. Just a brutal reality in which a father finds a way to love, teach and protect a boy. If it doesn't reach you, I actually feel a little sad. It had a momentous impact on me and is one of the few books that I will go back to every few years and read again. If you can get beyond the bleak, humorless landscape of the setting, you should find a passionate portrayal of the human spirit that is as beautifully drawn and intensely moving as anything I've ever read.


by C. Hill

This is a bleak post-apocalyptic book about a man and a boy - father and son - traveling from one place to another. Though it is not said explicitly, it is safe to assume that the book takes place in the aftermath of some sort of nuclear event. The only reference to it is a flashback about a "long shear of light and a series of low concussions". That was just days before the boy was born (Mom has since committed suicide), and though no age is ever given for him, he seems to be about 8 or 9.The book is all about how the father and son (we never learn their names) are traveling on the road through a world of nuclear winter. The days are dark and sunless, and the landscape is covered in ash. Wherever they've been staying up to this point (no recognizable landmarks are ever mentioned), it has become too cold, and they are headed to the coast in hopes that it will be warmer there. Most of the population is dead, and they encounter very few people. The few people they do encounter they must be wary of, because many have resorted to cannibalism. It's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Along the way, father and son are constantly scavenging for food. The only food to eat is whatever is still leftover from before the disaster, mostly canned foods, though they find the occasional shriveled-up piece of fruit.Despite this being a really dark book, and despite the fact that not a lot happens in the way of action, it was still something of a page-turner for me. You want to find out what happens at the end of the road. What is waiting for them there? But the ending was disappointing. I've read reviews that said the book ended on a note of hope. I guess that's one interpretation. The way I see it, the ending is unsatisfying. The reader is left hanging without any resolution, and the final paragraph is some weird nonsense about the "vermiculate patterns" on the backs of mountain brook trout. Whatever.

It's not going to be OK.

by Christine "Avid reader"

I'm at a loss as to the appeal of this book, and truly hope the Pulitzer Committee voted on style rather than plot. I didn't mind the desolation, the horror of the world, or the nature of the plot. I minded the repetitive descriptions of EVERYTHING, the meaningless meandering of nothingness, and the lack of any characterization or explanation. It's a barren post-apocalyptical world. Gotcha. There's ash - check. There're cannibals - check. PLEASE don't tell me again and again as if I'm an imbecile who couldn't figure it out the first 2 dozen times. I got it. Thanks.As for the plot itself, I was hoping for a little more on the history of the world. What happened? I spent the majority of the time wondering if what they were doing was safe since I didn't know the reason for the end of the world. Nuclear warfare? Nothing's safe, especially the water, but they they'd be dead, too. Volcano? Possibly, especially with the mention of the intensity of the fires and the ash over everything.With no explanation for it, the measure of understanding needed for this book was lost.The man was possibly the worst father I could imagine in this world. He never taught his son how to take care of himself, never taught him the very real evils of this world, and yet they were the `good guys'. Which is fine, in dealing with a child (and since he obviously remembered his life pre-doom) good vs. bad is an adequate description of the situation. However, the child was entirely ill-equipped to deal with the true nature of the world.It's not going to be okay. Yes, they're going to kill us. Yes, they're going to eat us. That's the world as they know it.While it's normal for the father to want to shield his son from this, what happens when the man dies, leaving the boy all alone? How will he defend himself? How will he survive? How will he make it south, from wherever they started along whatever road it is to however more south they need to be? Who will he know who to trust? Who are the other `good guys' when all the man does is yell at him for being young, terrified, and useless?I'd be terrified, too! It's a terrifying world. Lying to the boy will only make him more terrified and certainly does not help the situation.The sheer amount of good luck they stumbled upon was entirely unbelievable. They were lucky with the house, lucky with the boat, lucky to retrieve their stolen good they were stupid enough to leave out. How improbable was all that when McCarthy took excruciating pains to expand on the hopelessness and desolation of the world?The end I very much enjoyed, it still held that air of luck-as-a-plot-device, but it was nice to see that the world was not all rotten.

Deep, well-written and not for the faint of heart.

by Christopher D. Galeone

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy is a gripping, post-apocolyptic novel that brings us the story of "the man" and "the boy" and their struggles to exist.Nameless, and often times days without food this determined man and his son partake in an oddyssey that few could possibly survive. They are equipped with a knapsack each and a cart full of necessities, as long as it lasts. Along the way, they encounter cannibalism, insanity, and evil in human beings that once were accountants, lawyers etc. They are heading to the coast for whatever reason, a reason I think they don't even know. Just to have a destination perhaps. How long they have been on this journey is not exactly clear.This novel raises a lot of questions in your mind, at least it did for me. What was this man in the past? How long have they been walking? What exactly happened? What's going to happen when they get to the coast? Is it actually worth surviving?This is one of the best novels I have ever read and I encourage all who read to read this. The character development is first-rate. As you slowly learn more and more about these characters you yearn for their survival nearly as much as they do. McCarthy does a fantastic job at creating a tight bond between reader and character. It is a very fast read at 287 but it's also spaced generously and the fonts are petty large. Just don't read it on a sunny day, it is not the happiest book in the world.


by Christopher R

I think this is an interesting story that keeps the reader enthralled, but in spite of that I was not as moved as most of the reviewers below.Essentially, this is simply the story of a father and son as they struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic world and deal with some moral and ethical conundrums. Perhaps I have read too many stories like this in the past, but McCarthy's ability to set the scene and tell a captivating story does not make this book live up to its hype. One huge contributing factor is probably that halfway though the book I could tell, with a little help from the summary on the back cover, how the story was going to end.In my opinion this is a great book, but it fails to live up to the hype.


by Christopher Vitto "Christopher Vitto"

As with all Cormac McCarthy books the literary aspect of his writing is fantastic. The images come alive in rich detail and this tale as desperate and depressing as the end of the world could visualise. A true classic that makes you think about what the world will look like if we all do not do our part to ensure peace and secuirty for all of mankind.

Father's nightmare

by Christopher Wanko "-C"

One Sunday morning I went for a walk in the woods with my son, tracking deer and rabbits in the snow. Just we two, my son and I, quiet in clean snow, something he and I do every once in awhile.Later that day I pick up a book my friend had lent me, "The Road".Later that night, halfway through, I put it down. I could barely keep myself together. I was utterly sad, horrified, and crushed.The next day, I finished it, crying. I cried, on and off, for two hours. I woke up the next day and cried again.This book stripped away all pretense I've had and will ever have, and stands alone as the definitive post-apocalyptic work of my time. I am afraid to re-read it, for fear of crying for another full day."Well-written" and "powerful" do not even approach the magnitude of force needed to convey the book's effect on me. I cannot believe anyone could write something like this, and survive the experience. Easily the best book I've ever read on the topic, and perhaps the best book I've ever read. The depth of sadness I felt and continue to feel is something only a masterwork could invoke.Putting this in a better context, I suppose if you're familiar with Pynchon and Stephen King, you might imagine what would happen if Pynchon boiled down "The Stand", but even this is a poor metaphor. For such sparse dialog and format, it contains a wealth of subtleties and details that are absolutely awe-inspiring. Truly, there is not one wasted word in the entire book. I think I finally understand what it means when someone says it's a polished work. This is the strongest writing I've ever experienced.A recommendation from me is hardly enough. But, you have it, gentle reader. The best book I've ever read.-C

Carrying the Fire.

by Cipriano "www.bookpuddle.blogspot.com"

I liked it, and I think it is not only a worthwhile and rewarding read, but an important one also. Important in the sense that it causes us to ponder things worth pondering. As all great literature ought to do, it strikes at what is best and worst about being human.It is written in what my Reading Partner aptly called a "minimalist" fashion.Short, choppy, often incomplete sentences. Sentences lacking a verb. Repetitive, one-word exchanges in dialogue. The Road must set some sort of world-record in the use of the word "okay" for instance... or the phrase "I know."There is an elegance about it, though. A sophistication in the midst of its own structural economy. It reads quickly, but it is not simple. America is bleak, ruined, rotting and burnt-out. And it is as though McCarthy employed the most modest, un-Flaubertian means to tell us. Opening any of his other novels quickly reveals that he does not always write as sparingly as he did here.Character-wise, we only get to know the nameless man and his nameless son. We meet no one else that we would want to know better, nor do they. [Until the very end, perhaps.] America, and presumably the entire world, has been destroyed, years ago. Although the cause is not explicitly given [it is hinted at], we suspect nuclear catastrophe on a massive scale, leaving barely any human survivors. And the great majority of these are murderous and cannabalistic, travelling in gangs, seeking their victims.Everything is burnt, molten, and ashen. The snow falls grey.Into this world the man and his son push their gear-laden shopping cart along The Road. They struggle to survive upon the chance finding of food, clothing, and shelter. Their [unexplained] immediate goal is to stay on a southern course, and reach the ocean. They meet with devastating hardship and horror, and any moments of respite are few and far between.What binds them together is their profound love for each other, and their commitment to "being one of the good guys" and "carrying the fire." This becomes their sort of "code" for helping each other keep the inner spirt of goodness alive. The child seems better equipped to do this, than the man.But McCarthy shows us that this is because, along with the adult commitment to survival comes the adult responsibility of protection. And this latter thing is motivated by perhaps the fiercest form of love, that being parental love.In the hour of greatest need, it is this very form of love that will redeem the horror found in the barren world of The Road, and in a way that will reach beyond the novel's final pages.I highly recommend The Road because it is horrible. In the sense of horrid. In the sense of possible.But I also recommend it because it beautiful. In the sense of tender, and moving. And because it speaks ultimately to what is best, not worst, in us.Anyone reading The Road will know that they would like to be "one of the good guys."And given the current state of our real world, this may be a good thing to keep in mind!

Riveting, Spare, and Great

by CJA "CJA"

This is a great book that is also an absorbing and easy read. The brutal and brilliant simplicity of the book is remarkable. McCarthy imagines the world after the nuclear apocalypse in which everything is stripped away and then asks, "what's left?"In part, the answer is the kind of evil that is resurgent in McCarthy's other books and that is best captured by Golding in "Lord of the Flies" when he imagines children on a Pacific Island stripped of civilization. McCarthy paints a picture of scavengers and cannibals, treating chained slaves like meat on a hoof. But the rest of the answer comes from the father's love for his 10 year old son born right after the apocalypse. This child is far more angelic than the children imagined by Golding, mostly because he is raised by the father and invested by the father with everything that seems good and noble in human nature. The symbiotic and redeeming love between father and son, and the portrayal of this relationship as the bedrock for all of human civilization, is the theme of the book.Much of the book concerns the day to day job of survival, and the father's remarkable cleverness in getting through each day. But ultimately, the book also concerns the father's limitations. The fixation on survival strips him of all ability to trust or to act like one of the "good guys" that he and his son talk about. Also, the new man is going to have to leave the road entirely and find a way to survive on the land. The father seems unable to cut his connection with this dangerous artifact of the pre-apocalyptic world, whereas the son and those he ultimately must ally with are more willing to live entirely away from the road.The writing style brilliantly fits the themes of the book. It is maniacally spare -- like Hemingway on steroids. He never even uses quotation marks. Yet it is always clear who is speaking. And while spare, the language is at times extraordinary poetic, particularly the concluding paragraph.It will be interesting to see how this book is received in literary circles. I think it confirms McCarthy's reputation as a great American writer.

"The Road" is Disturbingly Spellbinding

by clb9016 "clb"

"The Road" hypnotizes our minds into the deepest, darkest places in which no human should ever have to experience. The pages bleed of sadness and desolation, yet strangely, there is something that attracts us and draws us in with every turning page. It could possibly be one of the saddest novels you will read, but in the end, there will not be even a glimpse of doubt in reading it.This Postapocalyptic novel revolves around a nameless father and son who can only carry with them a cart full of scavenged belongings and a desperate struggle to survive on "the road." Unsure of where their destination will take them, they encounter horrific images of dead bodies that have rotted into the earth, whereas others have even fallen right before their eyes. In a world where hope turns to ash however, the son remains full of goodness, which makes this novel touching and heartbreaking, yet undoubtedly unforgettable.The misery that the novel reeks of is extraordinarily juxtaposed by the poetic writing of Cormac McCarthy, which oddly enough, makes this novel beautiful. Pages filled with motifs of darkness and coldness are depicted by McCarthy's elegant writing of detailed images, which leave an everlasting imprint in our minds. McCarthy's bold and sometimes disturbing metaphors of destruction, alongside his terse dialogue in which the son talks of death and self destruction, makes us fearful of what may cross along their path, and ultimately, along ours.This novel is highly profound and so brilliantly written, that it deserves the attention of every reader. It is no mistake that it has become a national bestseller. The hope for survival in a world that is not entirely impossible in our own future, surly makes this novel a novel to be remembered.

an amazingly stark and bleak work by McCarthy

by clifford "akitonmyers"

I am a big fan of McCarthy. I have been reading him for years and think that he is one of the very best minds at work in literature today. However, this author who seemingly was slowing down in his later years startled me with his magnificent one-two punch of 'the Road' and 'No Country for old Men'. These two books together work almost hand in hand. The outlook of McCarthy... his world view displayed here is so full of anguish and despair, it really knocks the wind out of you.The Road is set in a future of sorts. It is never made clear, but that is half of the joy of this book, the ambiguity of the past. The characters are living in the present and every time they think back, McCarthy brings forth the pain this causes. The characters have no names, we know this is the USA, they are crossing the Rockies to the West, but that is about it as far as grounding goes.When I was a kid, I read this book by Phillip Jose Farmer where when you died you ended up on this never ending river. Everyone who had died ended up here. So you had people who had just arrived and people dead for centuries traveling down this river going nowhere. The Road kind of reminded me of this. I felt like the people here might be dead and living a hellish after life.Whatever. Stop reading my review and get this book. Its five stars all the way. One of those books that you will hold up as one of your all-time favorites.

Quick read, but still a great read.

by Clint W. Cypert

I think this book is one of McCarthy's best, if not the best that he has ever written. Whether you are a long time Cormac McCarthy fan or a first time reader of a McCarthy novel, you will find this book to be a true page-turner. The author brings love and hope to an harsh, unforgiving world!

Disappointing or what I thought it'd be?

by Cloud "..."

I'll tell you the truth: I didn't exactly have huge hopes that the Road, written by Cormac McCarthy, was going to be any good. I read All the Pretty Horses and hated every page of it but I wanted to check out this book for curiousity reasons, its story premise and NOT because a certain talk-show-host-who-I-hate-with-a-passion recommended it. So did my disliking of it come from the fact that I didn't enjoy it or is it that I just didn't "get it" like a lot of people will think. I mean, how can anyone dislike a Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Well apparently I can.The story is set sometime in one of those "not-so-distant future"s that people like to use. Some kind of apocalypse has happened leaving streets ash-ridden, poor weather and cities empty. People have to ransack people's homes to find something to eat and in some cases, use actual people. In the middle of all this is a nameless father and his son who try to travel towards the coast in hopes of something that will save them, such as running into the good guys. But hunger pains are a constant battle and the people who have ulterior motives are just some of the daily struggles they have to face.Yes, you never once get their father or child's name. Aside from some small backstory involving a wife who committed suicide, we have little to no emotional attachment to these characters since there's nothing to go on. Are we supposed to imagine ourselves as the father and boy? Kind of hard to relate to those living in a dead zone Earth. Not to mention their conversations are almost pedestrian in their simplicity. There's literally dialogue that goes like this: "are we going to die Papa?...No. Because we're the good guys right? Yes. We're the good guys. Okay. Okay." Wow. To me, this is not character development, this is what a child does when he talks to his stuffed teddy bear.If there's any merits is that it at least has an intriguing premise. The idea of a Earth shaking by an apocalypse (they only clues we get are clocks stopping at 1:17, bright lights, low concussions in the ground and a cholera outbreak) is always a fascinating setting to read since it's so unlike the current world situation yet it feels somehow tangible. And while he is a very descriptive author, unlike too-cold-and-clinical Tolkien...;yes, I went there, but his constant writings of the ash and snow and poor weather and poor lighting makes it seem like he just used the words "ash" and "snow" and just added it to everything.I'd probably suggest it since it's so new and gotten so much attention but keep in mind, not everyone will like it and some may very well hate it, despite Ms Winfrey's claims to the contrary.

What a great read!

by CLR222

This book is depressing, but it is such a great book, it is about the bond between a man and his son and trying to survive regardless of the odds. Excellent book, I even enjoyed the movie!

Thankfully, I read all Amazon reviews first...

by clutchhitter

...and knew what to expect."The Road" is beautifully written book (novella?) which AVOIDS long descriptions and unnecessary psychobabble. Some reviewers mention religious themes...I dunno, I guess so. Doesn't really matter, McCarthy is probably one of those writers who would probably tell you it means whatever YOU think it means.So many authors today are bush-leaguers, preferring instead to describe things for pages and have characters be their mouthpiece for homespun philsophy. McCarthy is WAY above that...using simple incidents, quick encounters and short patches of dialogue to propel the "plot".MY ADVICE: try to read it all at once, I broke it up over three days and it loses something if you keep going on and off "The Road."

An entirely bleak novel, but impressive in its scope

by C. Nunez "book loving teacher"

I finished reading "The Road" about 2 days ago, and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it! Did I like it? Well...I guess that would have to be a no. It is a thoroughly depressing post-apocalyptic story, full of grief, loneliness, and despair. The brief glimmer of hope (if you can call it that) that the ending provides is overshadowed by the rest of the novel's imagery and never-ending bleakness. To me, it was not a very enjoyable read either--parts of it made my skin crawl and other parts seemed to drag on endlessly. I don't think I could in good conscience recommend this novel to many people--it's just that depressing.So why the 3-star review (instead of a 2 or a 1-star)? McCarthy's writing style blew me away. This was the first book I've read by the author, and I was just so impressed by the writing and character development. With so little prosey description, I had the clearest picture in my mind of the 'man' and the 'boy' (and of course, the devastated world around them). His writing so consistently reflected the stark and dreary setting of this world...I was just in awe that he could so completely capture the imagery of such a world just through sentence structure, word choice, and other writing elements.Overall, I would say if you want to see what the 'hype' is about, give it a try and see for yourself as I did, so that you can form your own opinion. But if you do choose to read this one, be prepared, because this is not an uplifting story or 'light reading' by any means!

4.5 Stars: McCarthy Moves One Step Closer

by colinwoodward

In "The Road," a tale of a father's and son's survival in a post-apocalyptic landscape, Cormac McCarthy moves one book closer to his Nobel Prize. "The Road" is story-telling at its most stripped down. McCarthy writes in staccato sentences in his grim and moving depiction of persistence in the face of inhuman conditions. We root for the heroes, who are never named, as they avoid the cannibals and thieves that populate "the road." It is not so much a novel as it is an allegory. And it's a sequel, of sorts, to McCarthy's previous book, "No Country for Old Men." In "No Country," McCarthy asks if human society is getting worse. The Road is an answer to that: We are shown the desperation of day-to-day survival in a world that has destroyed itself. Our heroes move through an American South that is cold and gray and covered in ashes. Cities are skeletons. A drink of water is a luxury. McCarthy is a writer who dwells on the dark side, but he chronicles tragedy without being manipulative or going for cheap emotions. Very soon, one hopes, he will be accepting his Nobel Prize for literature.

A grim odyssey through a devastated landscape

by Cory D. Slipman

Cormac McCarthy using a succinct, minimalistic style in his writing, nonetheless creates deep emotion and vivid imagery in his latest novel, "The Road".McCarthy chronicles an arduous journey of a nameless man and his young son through a countryside annihilated by a cataclysm, presumably a nuclear holocaust some years back. They trudge through a land incinerated leaving behind a scorched earth devoid of almost all living things. The boy's mother unwilling to suffer through a life struggling for daily survival decided to take her own life.The final destination of their odyssey is a distant seaside shore in a southerly direction, hoping to mollify the freezing, unprotected cold of the winter. With sustenance not assured, they travel on foot following a road diagramed on a tattered map toting a supermarket shoppimg cart. Along the way they scavenge through destroyed towns, residences and anything that might conceal yet undiscovered food stores or items that could aid in their survival. They must elude murderous roving bands of brigands who have taken to cannibalism to keep their empty bellies full.In this bleak environment McCarthy focuses on the bonding between father and son based on their mutual compassion, as the man imparts the full extent of his wisdom on his cherished creation. The young son considers them to be the good guys in a world where goodness can disappear instantaneously when it interferes with survival. As their existence becomes more desperate the boy sees his father beginning to abandon these "good" qualities, as moral decisions need to be made.McCarthy's novel while predominantly based on austere concepts leaves a slight glimmer of hope for a lifeless world shattered by a man-made apocalypse.

Incredibly powerful post-apocalyptic nightmare

by cs211 "cs211"

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is without a doubt the most powerfully moving, thought provoking and memorable book I have read in years. It is also by far the most depressing.If you've read Nevil Shute's "On the Beach", which also portrays the world and its few remaining survivors living and then dying amid the aftereffects of an all out nuclear war, you may have an inkling of what to expect. On a timeline "The Road" takes place several years after "On the Beach" would have. By then the world is an even deader place, the people more desperate, the last shreds of humanity all but gone. "On the Beach" was an impactful book for its time, but in my judgment "The Road" is an order of magnitude more powerful."The Road" focuses on a father and son trying to head south ahead of the winter as the world becomes even colder, bleaker and more barren. They have no idea what they are seeking or what ultimately awaits them. "The Road" raises many thought provoking questions, but chief among them is the question "why?": in a world so desolate, with death all around them, why do they still have hope and why do they persevere? And although "The Road" takes place after a nuclear holocaust, the questions it raises can find many parallels with the aftereffects of other disasters and tragedies, both personal and societal.The effect on the reader that Cormac McCarthy creates with mere words is astonishing. His sentences are poetically haunting, at times clinical and at other times hallucinatory, matching the throes that his characters experience. The net effect is so powerful that at times I felt as though the back of my own throat was raw from having breathed in the omnipresent dust and smoke that pervades McCarthy's post-apocalyptic world.Although I can easily see why this book won the Pulitzer Prize, I am certain it will not appeal to many. Like other powerful depressants, it should not be combined with sleeping pills or alcohol. But if you have the strength of mind to fully separate fact from fiction, you may also find "The Road" to be a book you will never forget.

No Country For Old Roads

by C.Wallace

I first read this book a couple of years ago. Recently, I had occasion to revisit it. I remembered the basic plot. I remembered the gore. But as I read it again, I wasn't certain why I had liked it so much. It's so dreary. Always snowing or, as they move "south," raining. Always cold. There's shocking cruelty. Everybody is utterly miserable. But as I approached the end, I remembered what makes the book so great. It's the conclusion. Of course, I won't spoil it.This is the story of a father and son who are never named. The boy appears to be about ten. The book is largely about the father's unflinching love for his son. The father is a good man, one of the "good guys," who will do (almost) anything to survive and protect his son.The father is a remarkably patient man who answers his son's many questions. The father is a great teacher, a regular Socrates, and his voice is loud and clear in the book.Another key theme is survival. Much of the world has been destroyed by some fiery holocaust caused by human greed. Ashes from this disaster still darken the sky and cover the world. The few people who remain must fight to stay alive, digging through trash that has already been scoured by countless others. Many of the survivors have become wretched souls, to say the very least.A haughty grammarian might gripe about things like sentence fragments, missing punctuation, no quotation marks, and the like. Grammar rules are good in that they are designed to make writing coherent. Cormac McCarthy's writing is extremely coherent. For those who must have "proper" grammar, I suggest that you mark up your book with red ink, draw a lot of arrows, and add huge exclamation points where you are particulary shocked. I'll keep my book as is.

People Who Like A Gritty Story Are Going To Love The Road

by Dai-keag-ity

There were good descriptions here of dogged survival in a gray, ash-choked world, and certain passages rose above the wooden dialogue to achieve eloquence, but unlike others I don't consider this book a classic that somehow engraves its name in the literary landscape. What I found it to be was an attention-grabbing tale of survival and fatherly love that would probably have made a better graphic novel than a prose one. As far as The Road's failings, and it did have plenty, I for one wanted to know more about what brought on the global catastrophe the father and son were left dealing with, and very little was ever explained. What went wrong on planet earth? What were the parameters of the apparently human-authored disaster? What had the father "been" in happier times? There was a great bare bones setup in the plot that whetted my curiosity, but far too much was left to be guessed at instead of explained. So in the end, as I so often have to say: a good book, but not great.

Parabolic Nightmare

by Dallan Santos

The book reads like a delicious minimalist nightmare. I agree it's in the same league as Blood Meridian if, for no other reason, McCarthy was able to sustain that mantra-like tone from beginning to end. But I don't think the two books can be compared any more than Portrait of the Artist can be compared to Ulysses. They're both great reads but they're not the same thing. BM was a lushly barouque oil; The Road is a beautiful watercolor in blacks and grays.The accumulative effect the book had on me was to create wonderful questions as I went along. Almost like a mysterious crossword puzzle appearing before your eyes, while you try to guess the content. For instance, the disaster that befell the landscape. I'm certainly not a scientist but it didn't seem nuclear in origin. I don't recall any specific effects of radiation. Here, all the landscape is in ruin, firestorms are evident everywhere. That many bombs, I feel, would make everything uninhabitable. With the effect McCarthy describes, it's more like the gods were angry at us and threw many meteors, which burned much, brought darkness, but a few were still able to function.Another question was: where were all the rats, ants and cockroaches? I think it's been well documented--if the big one does come--your chances for survival are better if you grow whiskers and a tail, but they didn't exist here. Only we frail pathetic humans. Was there a reason, or was that part of the minimalist effect?Beyond the great writing, I found the book fun with these sort of mysteries.I would have given it the fifth star if McCarthy had made the two main characters just a bit more complex. I understand he was walking a fine line and this was not a "people" story, per se, as much as the effect he was working; but I eventually found the dialogue repetitious and unrevealing. Also they were a bit too idealistic, with no real edge to them. After all, this was the end of the world. But this is how McCarthy chose to do it, and I'm just grateful he put this together and gave it to us to enjoy.

An excellent read

by Dallas Fawson

The Road, like most of Cormac McCarthy's books, has a relatively simple plotline: a father and son walking together through America what I take to be a nuclear war. It's hard to say what makes the story engaging. Something about the delicate prose, the well chosen words and flowing sentences. McCarthy creates an excellent character study. The themes of love and hope when all hope seems lost seem horribly cliched, but McCarthy is able to renew them in a dark and glittering fashion. The book is short but very engaging. It's bleak but tentatively hopeful. Don't go into this book expecting a multi-layered epic novel: expect a simple, stripped down novel, and a very powerful one at that.

The long road...

by Dancewriter "Writer/Reader"

I started this read fully intending to finish. Not soon after beginning, I realized the dark, depressing nature of the long, drawn, similar days would be repetitious and though well written with poingant foreshadowing, I flipped to the end and read just what I expected to read and decided not to continue on the road.


by DanD

I'm new to the world of Cormac McCarthy. I first noticed "The Road" in the bookstore where I work, but put off buying it because I wasn't sure if the premise--a father and son wandering alone through the wastelands of civilization--was enough to hold my attention. Then I saw the theatrial version of "No Country For Old Men," and decided I just had to read some of this author's work (here's a shameless plug for the afore-mentioned movie: See it!). Failing to find the novel that inspired the film, I settled--I use the term lightly--for "The Road," and am damn glad I did.I remember a lesson pounded into me in my creative writing class: show the reader emotion, don't tell them. Anybody curious as to how to do that should definitely read this novel. "The Road" is chock-full of emotions and fears and dangers and doubts--but it's up to the reader to pick them out and analyze them. That, to me, is good writing. McCarthy's literary style certainly takes some getting used to--no chapter breaks; no quotation marks; no apostraphes in contractions; no naming the characters. But that just forces the reader to pay attention. Because, really, not a lot of physical action goes on here--a guy and his son walk down a road in an ash-strewn future world, where people are few, food is almost non-existent, and the only hope for survival is a dream. There's plenty of physical detail, but not a lot of action; what action does occur takes a backseat to the characters' emotions. Truly, "The Road" is not for the casual reader. It is instead for the reader who dares to be adventurous, who dares to go that extra mile. McCarthy writes with a poet's flair for language, weaving a tapestry that will hold you from the first page to the very last, if you dare to open the cover. And I'll just flat-out state it: I dare you. You won't regret it.

Morbid and depressing

by Daniel A. Scott "Just honest!"

Endearing? Hopeful? This is what people got out of the book? Wow, it sucked the life out of me and just about ruined my day. It's written well and flows smooth and fast. But, it's about the most heartbreaking book I've ever read. Reminds me of Schindlers list w/o the humanity. If you feel like you're just too happy, then read this, it will surely take all the joy away.

A story of hope in the face of hopelessness

by Daphne Jones

This might be the best novel of the apocalypse ever written. It's easily the best I've ever read.The world is dying in the wake of a nuclear winter, and there's no hope for humanity -- let alone any other species of plant or animal. With virtually no natural food source to be found, the few remaining survivors are either loners, perpetually starving and living off an increasingly small supply of scavenged canned goods ... or they're packs of cannibals, rapists, and murderers living off the flesh of other survivors.It's a bleak, brutal, horrible world, and we're thrust into it with the very personal story of a father and son traveling along a road in hope of nothing so much as ... hope. Hope that somewhere out there, somehow, impossibly, there's something better.Through sheer will and impressive literary skill, McCarthy crafts this depressing, sobering, minimalist tale into a story of love and faith. The bond between a father and son here is a love story all parents can understand. And the ending -- well, it's not a "happy" ending but neither is it the devastating one you might expect. It's ultimately a story of hope in the face of hopelessness.The Road gets better with subsequent readings. I highly recommend it. Read it once, quickly, to see how it ends, and then read it again to fully appreciate how it was constructed. It's a masterpiece.

Truly a Brilliant Work

by Dash Manchette

I had never read Cormac McCarthy before and did not know what to expect when picking up THE ROAD. I was impressed in numerous ways. On the most basic level, McCarthy deserves all the accolades he has received for his writing style, so incredibly simplistic and sparse, yet filled with more emotion than writers three times as wordy, without leaving any of the narrative out. It takes a lot more talent to say something meaningful in twenty words than in 200 and THE ROAD is a great example.But, of course, it is the plot and its message that are more meaningful here. Both are incredible. The story itself is the bleakest I have ever read. Some situations are so far removed from one's actual existence that it is difficult to project oneself into them. For those with limited imaginations as to what life might be like in an apocalyptic nightmare, well, here it is. It just does not get more devastating than this. No birds in the sky, no cows in the fields, burnt bodies in burnt cars on burnt highways for as far as the eye can see and as far as the legs can walk. Oh, and the nomadic bands of cannibals who view you and your young son as lunch. Yeah, let us not forget about them.Yet even in this raw and scorched world, the best in humanity carries on. The love of a man for his son, the innocence of a child and, at the end, benevolence and charity to others. All of these themes are here providing an ending to THE ROAD that, if not happy, can at least be described as hopeful.

Keeping The Fire...

by Dave

Some plot spoilers ahead, but none too specific.This is a bleak depressing book, but you keep on reading it to find out more about the close relationship of a boy and his father trying to survive in a harsh post apocalyptic dawn. A bond reforged by the graphic suicide of the mother, the family remnant leaves the memory of home for the harsh reality of 'the road.' Their quest is two fold: keeping the fire, and to make it south to the coast and warmer climes. As the book progresses, we learn about how 'keeping the fire' means holding on to humanity's virtues, by helping others, and not resorting to cannibalism, which is widespread after the loss of photosynthesis and the resultant loss of animal life.The central conflict surrounds this pact, which the father realizes mainly the objective of reaching the coast, without keeping the fire, and the boy mainly wants to keep the fire, regardless of reaching the coast. The father's decline is gradual, being more benevolent in the beginning, and more and more unheroic in the many questionable situations which follow. The father is quick to justify his actions, and the boys budding understanding of the reality of the situation gradually brings about a schism between the two characters. Their love always binds them, but the rift grows as the child's innocence is replaced gradually by understanding.The boy serves as conscience for the family for the majority of the book, and even though he become a boy who is much more aware, he always remains a boy. He is genuine, innocent, and youthful, seemingly undamaged by the harsh environment. It is heartwarming.In the end this is a book about two people who made a pact to live up to some high ideals. During the course of their journey together, only one of them ended up living up to these ideals, and it damaged their relationship. You learn that when you live in a world where hopes are always on the verge of shattering, your morals may shatter with them, but yet, in the end, sometimes innocence can still triumph.

Ultimately optimistic

by Dave Schwinghammer "Dave Schwinghammer"

At first, THE ROAD is almost too depressing to read. A comet or an asteroid has crashed into the earth, leaving a cold world with charred trees and dead grass. A man and his son move steadily toward the coast, pushing a grocery cart full of their meager supplies. They have a gun but only two bullets. At one point they have nothing to eat but the seeds from bales of moldy hay.The one bright point is the man's love for his son. They meet different people on their journey, mostly marauders with as much pity as Osama bin Laden, but they meet the occasional survivor, such as an old man shuffling along with his eyes on the ground. The boy wants to help him; the man argues that they barely have enough food for themselves. The boy, who must be around seven or eight, proves to be a Good Samaritan in most cases; the father has learned to be wary of practically everyone.The boy would have given up long ago if the man had not persuaded him that they were "carrying the fire," meaning, it would seem, humanity's essential goodness. The man convinces the boy he's lucky and that he can overcome any obstacle. If you're the cynical type, as I am, you will be a bit skeptical about all the times the two manage to find food, just as they're down to their last can of peaches, but then this is not an apocalyptic book; it's essentially about a man's love for his son. The man's ingenuity is amazing at times; he can literally make something edible out of dirt.This book will stay with you for days. I haven't read anything like this since LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR, and that one bothered me for different reasons. The little boy in this story is so real you'll swear you've met him before, but that's because he's meant to be every sweet boy you know, and the man is every good man who provides for his family in the face of insurmountable odds.

The Road

by David Edmonds "tapestry100"

An amazing book, Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a story of survival; of surviving when there seems nothing worth surviving for. It is the story of a man and his child, crossing a country burned to ash by the only means possible, the road, neither knowing if they will survive one day to the next, but surviving for each other. And that is when their survival becomes necessary, as they are living for each other. It is a story stark in its telling, stripped down, like the landscape and people that is describes, to the barest and necessary elements. I read it in three sittings, needing to take a couple of days between each reading to take in all the I had.The story follows a man and his son as they cross the country in search of the coast. They are traveling by the road, carrying all their worldly possessions in a shopping cart. The world has been burned away to ash, the landscape scavenged and looted years before, leaving no food or water. How they have survived this far is amazing. I can tell you that this is a desolate story from the very beginning. The feeling of despair that McCarthy expresses on the page is tangible, making those few moments of hope and happiness for the man and his son truly shine through.I don't think this is a book for everyone. It's not an easy book to read, but it is a powerful story, ultimately of hope. It's hard to find hope in this story, but I think it's there. It's what made life livable for the man and his son, even when everything else around them made it seem impossible.

powerful, compelling story of paternal love and caring

by David Evans

A father and his son struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Most people and other life are dead, and the pair must search for food and defend themselves against hostile fellow survivors. Some wandering groups have resorted to cannibalism, others to opportunistic theft from those who cannot defend against them.Surprisingly in the context of this dark environment, McCarthy has written what amounts to an anthem to the love of a father for his child. That is what this story is all about, and that is what gives it power. Science fiction has been criticized because "it inevitable proceeds from premise rather than character...and elevates scenario over sensibility," but you won't find that here [1]. The setting gives McCarthy the chance to focus on a father's dedication in a sparse, harsh environment, where survival is all that matters. He does so brilliantly. The language is sparse and piercing.This book isn't for the faint of heart (one reviewer called it "the darkest novel you are likely ever to read [2]): we see many corpses, including - briefly - a baby human's carcass roasting over a fire; and we feel the stress of mortal danger. But McCarthy doesn't offer these images gratuitously: they provide an environment in which one of the truest loves is distilled. This is the best book I've read this year; I highly recommend it. And it's not just me: this won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Metacritic, a website that collects professional book reviews, lists 21 outstanding reviews, eight favorable reviews, and just two mixed reviews [3].I listened to the unabridged audiobook narrated by Tom Stechschulte (published by Recorded Books). The reading was excellent.[1] Sven Birkerts, "Present at the Re-Creation," New York Times, 18 May 2003.[2] Michael Helm, "McCarthy's dark road to nowhere," The Globe and Mail [Toronto], 10 July 2006.(...)

Life is Not So Beautiful

by David Zimmerman

My introduction to McCarthy was this unforgettable short novel about a man and his son making their way on the road in a post-apocalyptic America of the near future. McCarthy's prose is spare, even Spartan, echoing the barren landscape that the main characters encounter. As you'd expect, survival is a theme throughout the book--survival in the face of starvation, and survival in the face of others who are dealing with the same situation in more brutal ways.Along with the simple, almost poetic language (unadorned with even much punctuation) McCarthy brings the story to the reader with descriptions of the havoc a nuclear holocaust and nuclear winter would bring upon everyday life and the earth we take for granted. There's no "Mad Max" post-apocalyptic new world full of crazies--just "good guys" and "bad guys" doing heroic, brave and sometimes unspeakably ugly things to survive in a world that's at once both unimaginable and all too real.What shines light into what otherwise would be an almost relentlessly bleak story is the developing relationship between the father and his son. To say more would ruin the story.I watched the Italian movieLife Is Beautifulright before I wrote this review. It's about life in Italy before and during World War II for an Jewish-Italian waiter and his wife and young son. From their fairy tale pre-war existence they're transported to a concentration camp, where father and son are put in the men's wing and mother is sent to the women's wing. While more comic in nature, the story arc and the relationship between Guido and Joshua in "Beautiful" took me back just a month to the story of father and son in "The Road." I highly recommend both the novel and the film.

Don't Do What I Did

by D. D. Burlin

Don't read this book on an overseas flight. You'll find yourself, as I did, standing in the back of the cabin weeping.


by Dead Kennedys

I was in a novel-writing workshop this semester and I kept hearing about "The Road". Then news that the movie was finally being released came out and my teacher decided we should go as a class to see it. Well, I can't see a movie-based-on-a-book until I've read the book, so I picked up "The Road" to see why the professor loved it so much.I'm glad I did."The Road" is easily one of the most beautifully-written books I've read all year. It's a post-apocalyptic story, but it's not just that. It tells of a father and son, their love for one another, their struggle to survive, and their "carrying the fire" that keeps them continuing toward the coast. All they have is a shopping cart full of goods and a pistol. Along the way they encounter all manner of characters, most of them dangerous. The language is intoxicatingly amazing - you won't find yourself galloping toward the end. You'll be tiptoeing toward it because you want to stop and study the beauty of the language.Read it. Read it BEFORE you see the movie (though the film is good). But take your time. Drink in the language and the beautiful story of a father and son. You'll be glad you did.

Seeking Light in a World of Darkness

by debra crosby

In this, perhaps Cormac McCarthy's most accessible, but probably darkest, novel, the best and worst of mankind is laid bare. In a world of unrelenting death and darkness (in fact, it's described only in terms of black, white and gray, dullness and lifelessness), a man and his small son walk, seeking warmth and food. The world has been destroyed (by war or by natural consequences, we don't know) and there is little hope that it will recover. The few humans that the man and boy find are not to be trusted, as bands of cannibals roam the countryside, wildly desperate and heartless, killing anyone (including children) who may serve as food. The man, however, has a heart -- his love for his son keeps him going, gives him the strength to continue to fight for life. While his determination is tempered by his lack of trust, and his bitterness, his son, on the other hand, is more trusting, more hopeful. It is in the boy that we see some glimmer of belief that, perhaps, things will change. In this harsh world, it's the "good guys" versus the "bad guys," and only the strongest and wiliest survive. But, ultimately, it will be those who have faith and the courage to trust one another who might just make it. This was a fast read, and while it is indeed dark, the recurrent idea of selfless love, and of hope, make it far from depressing. I found it to be thought-provoking and intriguing in both concept and execution. Another excellent novel by a master of the form.

Grim and haunting

by Denise Crawford "DC"

I rate books on how much of an impact they have on me and whether or not I will think about or want to discuss the contents after I've read the last page and closed the cover.The Roadis a post apocalyptic novel that will stay with me a very long time. The bleakness of the journey that this unnamed father and son embark on is quickly evident -- they are going south but have no real plan and no endpoint or destination in mind. They traverse an unrelenting and very bleak landscape of ash and burnt out flora, fauna and civilization -- devoid of any life except for the occasional creature that bears little resemblance to what was once humankind. The man and the boy stick to the endless blacktop, the road -- the only somewhat permanent residual marker in a very changed world. They walk by day, pushing a metal grocery cart full of their meager possessions, avoiding the marauding bands of cannibals and even the lone survivors as trust is not a trait they can afford to have when it is survival of the fittest at stake.Though the story is very grim, the love and protectiveness that the father has for his son is the only light in this otherwise very depressing narrative. They are all unto each other -- there is no one else and nothing else. Memories that the man has are soon discarded as his reality is faced with plugged determination -- a search for food, water, warmth -- merely to survive another day.I'm eager to see the movie based on this book and hope it's a faithful adaptation. This is definitely a novel that I will think about time and again as it haunts me with its stark portrayal of whatever comes after "the end of the world as we knew it."I gave this 5 stars, not because it was a pleasant story, but because of the impact it had on my psyche and my senses as I read it.I can't really say I LOVED this book, but I did live it.Recommend.

The Road--what will be, or what we can avoid?

by Denise Wyatt "devourer of books"

Quite chilling. I read this book in two sittings, and I have to say that I was disturbed by it. I like to read a book that gives me a strong reaction--and in this case, Mr. McCarthy really made me think about the world and our part in its demise. One of the great reads I had this past year in my book club.

Misunderstood by detractors, a clearly brilliant literary work

by Derek Armstrong "Publisher, Zines Online and ...

The handful of one-star reviews seemed to miss the point. The repetitive plot points and desolate wasteland illustrated optimism and the endearing force of human love, not a depressing world where man is monster. Actually, Cormac dances the line between both views, and it's not a new theme: humanity is both godly and demonic, both divine and absurd. This desolate landscape is utterly beautiful in its ugliness, and so are the people. As author, Cormac brilliantly combines gritty reality with a fantasy vision that is clearly meant to be no more than an apocalyptic metaphor--not a thrill ride. This is a short, gripping read that will haunt you and you won't forget it. The nameless father and "the boy" offer the ultimate symbolism in the end. To me, the "man" is all of men and the "boy" represents "innocence." These aren't so much people, as ideolograms. Yet, the are real for all that, too. You will read this in one sitting, and won't stop for lunch or dinner. It will not make a good movie, in spite of wondrous visuals, simply because it's not meant to be a movie, but as literature this is art. Yes, if you want thrills and chills, go elsewhere, perhaps to Stephen King's classic THE STAND, but for haunting artistry, don't miss THE ROAD. P.S. Although the lack of "dialogue punctuation" and apostrophes bothered me a little initially, I quickly became use to this style. With a cast of virtually two (there are more than two characters, but only two that really matter), it was fine, almost like reading a play or movie script. The over use of the dialogue "Okay" was also initially annoying, but quickly became a stylism, too. Clearly, that could be the way two people--who have only each other for company, year after year-- might learn to communicate. And Cormac can do it because he's a master. But if I could change one thing, I would be tempted to add "quotations."

Luxuries like Death

by Desmond Keats

This is a good novel. I like McCarthy's storytelling and vision of what humanity can become. A character telling another "we did this to ourselves" to later reveal in the same conversations that although he is surviving, "it would be foolish to ask for such luxuries [death] in such times," and this serves to illuminate the tone of the book as cautionary and didactic. Civilization's greatest weakness, civilization.

A haunting depiction of a father/son relationship

by deudad

Cormac McCarthy wrote The Road, I think, simply to illustrate the relationship between a father and a son in a world where love and compassion is absent.We are thrown into a world a fire and ash, devoid of life apart from men who strive to survive by the only repulsive, evil way they see fit: cannibalism. The Man and The Boy, the two characters whom we invest our emotions with, are on a journey to the coat where they hope they will find something. They don't know what. The Man tells his son constantly to carry the fire. He also shows him how to shoot himself in the most effective way possible with their revolver, in case they get into trouble they can't get out of.In short, this is the world after the clock stopped and explosions rocked the earth so that the ground trembled. The apocalypse. These two unnamed characters attempt to survive in a world where there is only hate and danger. We see this world through the eyes of The Man, whose wife left him when it all began, and is left to protect his son.The plot is amazingly simple, but because of this we focus where the author wants us to: the characters. This is a character story. The lack of plot only goes to serve the character development, which makes us care about the characters all the more.This goes to further serve the author's purpose to illustrate a father's love for his son, and his son's love for the father. Because that's what this book is all about. As we journey with these two characters we invest our time and emotions into them, and hope for them to attain their goal, whatever that may be. And Cormac McCarthy nails it.I wasn't once bored with them at all. The dialogue between them was amazing. Just by a few words, Cormac could convey worlds of character. They were so deep; I felt that they could be real. They each had their own individual personalities, and I never once saw them slip out of character. Every time the man coughed, I felt it.This brings me to McCarthy's writing, which was simply phenomenal. The prose moved along without a hitch. Each paragraph contained beautiful descriptions, poetic and lyrical. The words held a certain amount of power that just didn't want to let you go. Needless to say, I couldn't put this book down. He made the simplest things profound, like rocks sitting in the darkness, and a dim rainbow over a waterfall. McCarthy's writing feels so sincere that you can almost touch it.Despite this book being set in a world that could never be, the situations were relatable. The Road is a, exaggerated sketch or demonstration of reality. At times the road can be difficult, and unforeseen consequences may come of certain actions, and then there are the moments of grace. When The Man tells his son to carry the fire, he is talking about hope. McCarthy never explains what that hope is, but it is clear that he believes that without hope, we will not survive.So, for what McCarthy wanted to portray, he succeeds brilliantly. His character development goes far beyond most other books I've read, and he treads territory that I've not seen before. He goes to the extremes to make his point, and I think it's a point worth making. Undying hope is essential.But as I said, McCarthy goes to extremes to make a point. And those extremes include, as I stated above, implications of cannibalism, among other things. We experience the immense pain and sorrow inflicted on The Man and The Boy, and there are violence and horrific moments. The world in which The Road takes place is bleak and desperate, and that comes through strongly. He never goes so far as to explain explicitly all the horrific acts, to his credit, but leaves them vague and mysterious enough so that we use our imaginations. This adds to the entire eerie effect.Overall, it was very moving and sad. There was never a dull moment, despite the fact that very little actually happened, and McCarthy's writing is profoundly deep and stirring.I would highly recommend this book for those who are looking for a dark yet touching read. But if vague horror and depressing aspects turn you off, steer clear of this.For what it is, The Road succeeds on every level.

Poetry - McCarthy style!

by D. F SHAFER "don"

"The Road" is a magnificent work of poetry. It it the Odyssey brought forward to a postapocalyptic world. The is "Blood Meridian" with the character descriptions cut away - with the extraneous descriptions of the landscape removed!This book is McCarthy's essence. Please read, if you already have not, "Blood Meridian" and then the border trilogy - "All the Pretty Horses", "The Crossing" and "Cities of the Plain". Follow those with " No Country for Old Men". "The Road" is the synthesis of those works. If is a wonderful read. You can finish the book in one afternoon. And, you should - for the first reading. By the end of the second reading, it really begins so sink into your soul. You can imagine an Iraqi father and son trying to navigate the death squads of Baghdad - where being cooked and eaten might be a welcome relief. You could look upon "Dante's INferno" as a Colorado ski vacation!I read this book the first time a few days ago in West Texas - McCarthy country of Marathon, Marfa and Terlingua. The second time today here in Austin. This is a DO NOT MISS book. Please read it. You will be transformed.

One of the Greats

by DH

Must read. A good intro to one of the greatest American writers. The Road is one of the easier reads of McCarthy but its a good icebreaker if you want to begin reading his work. Some may feel cheated by the ending, but that is how McCarthy writes. Suprised only "No Country" has been made into a film. This one will be next most likely.....

How many ways can the world end?

by Dick Marti

How many ways can the world end? McCarthy's view in "The Road" is probably one of the more likely, given recent history and the trend of the times. This book is consistently engrossing and depressing, from beginning to end, as befits the subject matter. The only uplifting element is the mutual love of parent and child in a bleak landscape where the one driving force seems to be that the child must survive at all costs. Then perhaps there is some hope. Only perhaps. Now we must await the imitators to see if they can top McCarthy's accomplishment. While waiting for them, read Kosinsky's "The Painted Bird".

I Know I'm In A Minority, But....

by DJY51

I hated this book. A father and son walk south after the earth was (mostly) destroyed. Their conversations are repetitive and stilted. You will read the following dozens of times: "I'm scared." "I know". "Are we going to die?" "No."We never learn where these characters are from, what they expect to find when they get where they are going, lessons they've learned, or any insights whatsoever.There is a strong bond created between father and son, and some touching moments. But there is no payoff for trudging through this desolate, fearful, depressing landscape.

You'll remember this book for years...

by D. Kanigan

I have read most of the author's books. This is by far his best. The quality of a book is the impression it makes on you years later. This book is that good. An unpleasantly dark, cold and painful book with simple writing but terrific story telling. You live and breathe it as you turn the pages. It answers the question of what's really most essential for survival - food, water, air, love and well-being of your child. This will will be remembered as a classic years from today.

Insulting to readers. Jejune writing.

by DM

There are so many things so utterly wrong with this book I can resoundingly recommend that you skip it.I was putting off reading 'The Road' because everyone was saying how depressing it was. Well I found it to more moronic and an insult than depressing. There wasn't enough given to the reader for him/her to get depressed about. We're told nothing. All you glean is that everything is burnt and covered in ash; that it occurred about 9 or 10 years ago; there for some totally unbelievable reason has been no regrowth of any plant life. YET, out of nowhere there passed a big group of healthy people, with horse drawn wagons, pregnant women, weapons..... How'd they feed those horses? There was no grass, no NOTHING.? What have these two been doing all these years, huh? Why is the kid so scared of everything when this is all he's ever known? Why is it after a possible decade of scrounging around for canned food do they leave a whole big cache they stumbled onto behind (totally beyond unbelievable that). And the biggest question of all, how in the heck did all that food (commercially and home canned (bottled)) survive the tremendous heat of the world inferno and remain safe all these years?And on and on. We're not given any answers.Pages 182 - 183This is the typical conversation between the man and the boy (his son? i'm not absolutely sure).'' Do you think there could be ships out there?I don't think so.They wouldn't be able to see very far.No. They wouldn't.What's on the other side?Nothing.There must be something.Maybe there's a father and his little boy and they're sitting on the beach.That would be okay.Yes. That would be okay.And they could be carrying the fire too?They could be. Yes.But we don't know.We don't know.So we have to be vigilant..We have to be vigilant. Yes.How long can we stay here?I don't know. We don't have much to eat.I know.You like it.Yeah.Me too.Can I go swimming?Swimming?Yes.You'll freeze your tokus off.I know.It will be really cold. Worse than you think.That's okay.I don't want to have to come in after you.You don't think I should go.No. I think you should.Really?Yes. Really.Okay. "Every paragraph is separated not by the standard 2 blank spaces but 4. And there are a ton of pages filled with the above type of dialog. So in actual fact this "novel" is probably less than 190 pages. A novella. This should be used as an example of how-to shamelessly pad a very poor story. How not to tell a story and sell it.

A book is a promise that there will be a future

by D. N. Stone "the_stern_librarian"

Some of you may have seen the Stern Librarian stocking up on canned pears the other night. After reading this book I simply will not be caught even in a 10-minute blackout without a pantry full of fruit cocktail. Such preparedness could very well be a gift to others, which I would be happy to make, after reading the blessing of the boy in The Road. I am also eyeing my grocery cart with newfound respect lately. It may sound like I am making light of The Road, but I mean these remarks as a compliment. This is a novel about eating and moving--almost every paragraph concerns this imperative in one way or another and the book still manages to deliver incredible suspense and thrills. I don't know of any other writer who could make so much life of so much grayness. Roads of one sort or another have always been a great theme in literature, from the Odyssey to Cold Mountain. And the road in this book travels to the sea, which has its own literary predecessors, recently in The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Book report writers should note the resemblance of the scary white house with the chandelier on the porch to a famous residence. What I most loved about this book was the specificity of its language about things like locks, and gas burners and even grocery cart wheels. Clearly survivors will be the ones who know how things work. And while magnolia trees turn to dust and steel buildings melt, language survives and serves. The Stern Librarian (I'm taking my bookmobile on The Road).

A Lengthy Parable Examining the Limits of Self-Reliance

by Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!"

"Therefore I abhor myself,And repent in dust and ashes." -- Job 42:6 (NKJV)Most people pick up a novel expecting to find a story that either connects to the life that they live . . . or to one that a life that appeals to them. The Road does neither. It's a parable, instead, designed to portray the limitations of what any of us can do without help, both from other people and from God.Most parables move from beginning to end pretty quickly, unlike the parables that Jesus told. To meaningfully extend the length, Mr. McCarthy fleshes out his parable with lots of action designed to help you relate to the unnamed narrator and his young son as they pass through a perilous world where fleeting pleasures are to feel safe, be warm and dry, have a roof over your head, and have enough food to eat for a few days. Part of the book's appeal for some readers will be the Robinson Crusoe (survival) aspects of the story. If you are a seriously depressed person, this book isn't for you.For me, the parable didn't quite hold up because the unnamed catastrophe that "destroyed" the world didn't quite match up with any disaster that I could conjure up in my mind. That left me feeling as if I was back in a college philosophy or a law school class playing with an arbitrary "hypothetical" case where the number of clear-cut answers is deliberately limited.Let me mention that I listened to the unabridged CD recording read by Tom Stechshulte. I found that there was too much contrast between the father and the son in the reading, which made the son seem more like a character rather than a real person. The effect was to take me out of my feeling of being in the story. I did think that this book is probably better listened to than read.Does someone "need" to read this book? I don't think so. It's more of an acquired taste. A good biography of someone who overcame challenges will probably teach you more of what you need to know than The Road will.

Good guys

by Donal Fagan

The Road was a fast read. I opened the Amazon box Saturday afternoon, read the first dozen pages aloud to my wife, read more that evening and Sunday morning, then finished it Sunday night after a three hour drive home. I could hardly put it down.Author McCarthy's style is new to me. He has stripped down his third person prose to little more than words, periods and question marks. He omits commas and quotation marks, attributes only the first line in a string of dialogue and almost never modifies dialogue. To illustrate, if you or I were to write a brief exchange, it might turn out like this:Night began to fall. "I'm scared," complained the boy."Don't worry, we'll be safe here," said the man calmly."OK," replied the boy bravely."Are you thirsty?" the man asked.but in the economical style of The Road, it would become:Night began to fall. I'm scared, the boy said.Dont worry we'll be safe here.OK.Are you thirsty?(This is not an actual quote from The Road, just an illustration of style)McCarthy includes the apostrophe in some contractions, such as "we'll" or "let's," but omits it from others, such as "dont" or "couldnt." He also intersperses phrases and sentences. Many of his phrases are very nearly sentences, missing only a pronoun. (His third person narrative disconcertingly switches to first person voice for one paragraph. On page 68 of this edition, the man is speaking about trying to lure a stray dog to please the boy. Then it switches back to third person. I assume that CM wrote parts of the story in both voices before settling on third person as the most appropriate.)It is my impression that these reductions in punctuation and sentence structure intentionally reflected the apocalyptic scenario in which most things were missing, broken or dead and in which most rules had been replaced with naked pragmatism.McCarthy sets this tale well into the apocalypse, after most people have perished. Most readers will identify with the man in the story, but few of us could be as handy, competent, patient, thorough and fearless. And perhaps ruthless. We are never told how the man kept his family alive through the early days of the apocalypse, when the difference between good guys and bad guys would have been less clear. Where did the rest of his bullets end up?The boy, born after the bad times, and thus innocent, craves society, whether a dog, another little boy or a crippled old man. The man does not. Though he has ideals, and tries to justify himself as one of the good guys, he is emotionally spent. He has given up on civilization, except for his son. Was he any different before the bad times? Or did he, and many other "good guys" like him, bring about the apocalypse?

Surprisingly Enjoyable for a "Literary" Work

by DonAthos

Going into this novel, I had a terrible feeling that I would hate it. After all, Cormac McCarthy is an author celebrated by the modern intelligensia, and in my experience the intelligensia have a bad tendency to raise up the pretentious and snobbish. Usually what they consider "literary" is more or less unreadable.So, I was concerned that The Road would be akin to a newer Finnegans Wake -- style and artifice without heart and substance. I needn't have worried. The Road is eminently readable, and perfectly enjoyable, even for those who (like myself) tend to skew towards story and away from symbol.Now, I have heard that there is much symbolism to be found, here... Maybe that's true; it's not something I've given much thought to, except that while I was reading I kept feeling that the ordeal of the characters in the novel was vaguely analogous to the road we all travel down. What drew me into the story, however, was a deep sense of sympathy and concern for our main characters. Yes -- it's true: not much "happens" in that this book is more or less about a father and son tracking down a road, looking for food and shelter. However, I found myself so invested in them that even that most basic quest seemed to me a worthy thing to read about.I found McCarthy's style here -- sparse and detached -- to be well suited for the bleak mood, and almost "children's story" feel of description and dialogue. This being my first McCarthy, I do not know if this style is typical of his works, but it seems apropos here.All of this said, I must admit that I do not expect that I will treasure The Road ever after as an all-time classic. Reading this novel was a good experience, and I would recommend it. I thought that the post-apocalyptic elements were suspenseful, and the relationship between our mains, genuine. I was not put off by the lack of quotation marks (though a few conversations needed to be back-tracked, to figure out who was speaking). Did The Road fundamentally change me? Are the characters so strong that I will remember them 10 years from now, as I remember some that I read about 10 years ago? Will it find a place on my "favorites" list? No.Whether McCarthy deserves all of the literary accolades he receives or not is a question best suited to the academics who care about distinguishing "literature" from the books that most people read and enjoy. I cannot speak to that, because it doesn't interest me. Instead, The Road is a good read -- a fine story with engaging characters -- but, in my view, it is just that, and does not aspire to any particular pantheon.Four stars.

Serious and timely work

by Donna

This novel is less quite brief but it is in no way "light" reading. It's involves a post-apocalyptic world. There are no discussions as to exactly what happened but it becomes clear that the world and humanity is near ended. My one criticism is that there is just too much cooperation, too much toleration, and not enough anger for the plight in which the father-young son characters tolerate to survive (maybe they are numb). Judge for yourself. The story is more than somber, it is your worst nightmare. I highly recommend it. Once you start the book you will be compelled to endure it to it's finish. I know I should be read again but I don't read books twice - but maybe this will be my first time.

Stark and epic

by Dori

Spare writing style and the lack of over explanation make this book more powerful. I felt that the author trusted, even wanted me, to fill in the blanks myself.

The Road is a masterpiece of post apocalyptic literature.

by Doug Dandridge

A very unusual piece of literature in a style that some may find unnerving for its lack of punctuation and unusual sentence structure, The Road is also a winner and a book I couldn't put down until I had finished it. A man and his young son follow a road in an post apocalyptic world in which most people and foodstuffs have been incinerated. Hopeless at points, full of hope at others, the book follows the pair as they try to find food and avoid those who would use them as sustenance. A movie was made of the book that followed it almost to the letter, which may give an idea of how powerful the story is that the screenwriter didn't tamper too much. A great book destined to become a classic for decades hence.

A Heart Wrenching Story of Love and Survival

by Doug "dcb"

This book reminds me of the often asked question, "if you knew you were going to die soon, what would you do with your remaining time?" The story is set in the future after some kind of devasting war and survivors are barely surviving, looking for any kind of food or safe shelter. A very loving father and his young son are walking down the highway through the burnt and lifeless forests through the cold and rain with minimal food, worn out shoes, a pistol with two bullets left, trying to see if they can find "the good guys."Life is stripped down to bare survival, and we experience how delicious a found can of peaches can taste or how just brushing your teeth with clean water and toothpaste can be a wonderful experience.For me, this book taught me about the importance of love and humility and why we need to get along better with the rest of the world. The images painted are all too realistic and maybe just around the corner. Do I need to built a shelter and stock it with guns and food and water purifiers?Are the people in Iraq living in this bleak world right now?The book is a very quick read. In fact, it really could have been a novella. Please read it.

Not an English Cozy! Existential Despair Ahead!

by Douglas S. Wood "Vicarious Life"

No Cormac McCarthy work should be approached carelessly. This is Serious Business - real literature not intended for the meek, those with weak stomachs, or the suicidal (I'm not sure I'm entirely joking). And keep a good thesaurus handy. As always, McCarthy takes the English language out for some vigorous exercise. McCarthy has not used all 475,000 words (according to Webster) in the English tongue, but then he's not done writing yet, either.'The Road' involves a father and son walking across a post-apocalyptic America. Everything is pretty much dead except for scattered humans and some mushrooms. The book never relates what the Event was, but McCarthy apparently has done so in interviews. Take my word for it, whatever it was, it was Bad, Real Bad. The book takes place about 10 years after the Event. The boy, having been born on the day of, knows nothing of life Before (I don't usually write with Capital letters, but The Road seems to demand it). Father and son walk the road and survive by scavenging and avoiding the few people they come across.They head relentlessly south under gunmetal grey skies in the cold and snow or under slate grey skies in the cold and rain. And I did I mention hunger? Or rather make that Hunger. Its repetitiveness opens The Road to easy parody, but is also necessary to create the almost complete sense of despair and hopelessness. And yet McCarthy weaves a counter thread: the warm, loving, and mutually protective relationship between the father and boy and their self image as being the 'good guys' who 'carry the fire'. Their world views, if such a term makes sense in this ash-covered dead zone, can differ - the boy is more willing to risk contact with strangers, the father more cognizant of the catamites and the cannibals.When I suggested that perhaps McCarthy could have lopped off a hundred pages or so and still have had an equally fine piece of existential despair, a friend observed that McCarthy likes to pummel his readers. Having previously readBlood Meridian (Picador Books), McCarthy's tale of vicious brutality on the Tex-Mex border in the 1830s, I have to agree. The writing is exquisite, but reading McCarthy requires a bit of the masochist. An English cozy it is not. Approach The Road with caution. Highly recommended.

The most haunting novel I had ever read

by Dr. Bojan Tunguz

Set in the post-apocalyptic world, the story of "The Raod" takes us on a journey with a father and a son who are trying to survive and find a place more suitable for life. As the novel unfolds, we follow them through an extremely bleak and desolate landscape of devastated and destroyed America. The landscape is sparsely populated with other human characters, most of whom are dangerous and a threat. The food supplies are scarce, and the characters are constantly on a verge of starvation. The nature of the apocalypse is never spelled out, and in many respects is not consequential for the main thrust of the story. The main focus of the narrative is the personal story between the father and the son, and the lengths to which the former is willing to go for the sake of the latter. It is a gripping and haunting tale, probably with the most depressing overall atmosphere of any work of fiction out there. And yet, it is extremely hard to put the novel down, and given enough time it could conceivably be read in a single sitting. After having finished it, the characters and images have stayed with me for weeks. Which brings me to the following point: if you are squeamish and easily frightened, this may not be the best book for you.Before reading this book, I was only acquainted with Cormac McCarthy's works through their movie adaptation. However, this book left such an impression on me that now I want to go back and read his other novels. I also cannot wait to see the upcoming movie adaptation of this book. This is a true literary masterpiece and an absolute must-read.

Brilliantly Done

by drebbles

A man and his young son are journeying across post-apocalyptic America hoping to get some place warm before next winter. Their journey will not be an easy one - it's every man for himself out there and they are constantly on the lookout for food and avoiding those that may kill them for any food they do find. In the end, the one thing they have all the time is their love for each other which helps keep them on The Road."The Road" is Cormac McCarthy's unrelentingly bleak yet extremely moving novel about post-apocalyptic America. McCarthy's view of a world almost all but destroyed by some unexplained event is a depressing one. Food is scarce; people are afraid to stay in one place for long and are constantly on the move; people have not banded together for the most part and will do whatever they can to get food; ash covers everything; there is no sunlight or moonlight; no animals besides a lone dog - there is, most of the time, just the man and his son (nameless throughout the book) on their endless walk. At some point while reading the book you will realize how long they have been walking and you question why they keep doing it.McCarthy's writing style is not for everyone. There are no chapters, no quotation marks, and punctuation is often omitted. He is deliberately vague about some events - briefly mentioning enough to help readers guess what has happened. There are some genuinely horrific images in the book that are hard to read. The book has no real beginning, middle, or end and no real plot. This would have been frustrating in a less gifted writer's hands, but McCarthy makes it work brilliantly. In a few words he has created an entire world (depressing as it may be) and two people that readers care about (for better or for worse). It's the type of novel where you wonder, both while reading it and long after finishing it, what you would do if faced with that type of situation."The Road" is a brilliantly written novel about the love between a father and son in a destroyed world.

Love Fuels the Will to Survive

by Dr. Marc Axelrod "PM"

The world has been burned in an apocalyptic like disaster, and the narrative of this book follows a father and son as they journey toward the ocean in the hope of finding a place of refuge, a place to stay, a place to live. Only the father's love for the son compels him to keep going forward.The father symbolizes those who love for family compels them to wake up every morning and forge an existence in a dark, wasteland world. McCarthy contends that at the end of the day, love and loyalty and family are the things worth living for, even when everything else is gone.The book is unrelenting in its bleak outlook on life, but readers will admire the father's determination to provide and care for his son in this otherwise depressing novel.

Welcome to hell ll!!!!!

by Dr. Who, What, Where? "Cardinal Bound!!!!"

This book take place in the shadow of civilization. After the collapse, one father is forced to take care of his son and protect him from all that is wrong in the world. In doing so, the father is forced to confront many situations in which it would be easier and more efficacious to do the wrong thing. Instead, the father does the right thing in each situation regardless of the difficulty involved. He did so because he thought it important to keep the illusion that good was alive for his son during these difficult times. All of this is presented in a book that is readable and entertaining. It moves quickly and is never slow. I suggest you get it and reading a book that will challenge you to think about what you would do in such a situation.

Bleak but engrossing (also known as the 2,183rd review)

by DWD's Reviews "DWD's Reviews"

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is literally a book about not much (as some reviewers note) and a book about love, fear, despair, hope and sacrifice - which is everything a great book should be about.Set in a post-apocalyptic world of death and destruction that makes Mel Gibson's iconicThe Road Warriorlook like a hopeful romp along Sesame Street, "The Road" is bleak and spare, but I was driven to keep reading because I wanted to know two things: what caused the world to end and what happens to this boy and his father. I plowed through it in near record time and only one of my questions was answered.

A Boy and His Dad

by Edward Aycock

As powerful and dark a book as I've ever read. McCarthy's "The Road" is a timely look at a world destroyed, where there are no longer laws and the definitions of "good" and "bad" have become confused.The story of the survivors of an apocalypse isn't new, but McCarthy's way of telling it is. This is no "On the Beach" where people can discuss what they assume to be the coming dangers. In "The Road" the dangers have come and gone; those who died early were truly the lucky ones.McCarthy's writing is excellent in this book, and I'm glad to see this book has had such an upward trajectory from critical raves to Oprah selection to Pulitzer Prize winner. This is definitely not a frothy summer read, but it still begs to be read.

Greatness in Literature

by Edward W. Jawer

Until the publication of the "Border Series", Cormac McCarthy had been standing in the wings of American fiction, his work admired and loved by a devoted throng of groupies, who felt something that rattled their senses, and held them fast. Vaguely dismissed as a writer with a narrow spectrum of ultra violent work, and with little regard to grammatical niceties, he was loosly regarded as a maverick, with little to offer but gory blood and guts versions of the outcasts of society.The "Border Series" trilogy, with its beautiful and brilliantly written themes, hugely enlarged his audience. Continued references of his work as "Faulknerian", or Hemmingway-esque", have become inappropriate to one who stands now so firmly on his own."No Country For Old Men" showed new developments, as he produced a pulp fiction page turner, still violent, but with a new quirky humor.Now comes "The Road".I have read, about literature, that no writer enters the pantheon of "Greatness" lightly. Reading this book, about the overwhelming power of unconditional love, in a time of unimagable horror, with its sparse simplicity, and its incredulous unfolding, is to me, an affirmation of greatness in this author. Cormac McCarthy is now a true literary treasure.

Raw humanity...

by Eliza Bennet

This is an important book illustrating humanity at its most raw form. Stripping bare the concepts of morality and ethics along The Road, Cormac McCarthy asks: what would you be willing to do to survive?In McCarthy's book, a man and his son travel south seeking food and warmer temperatures, eking out an existence after some sort of unnamed holocaust. Pushing a shopping cart most of the way, using a road when possible, they scavenge for food and for water, while avoiding and fearing all others (for good reason). All cultural constructs are forgotten, except the basic `good' and `bad'. The father, feeling hopeless, tries to instill hope in his son. At the end of this road, there are still questions, but the bleak, stark, trip ends with a step toward positivity. Does humanity survive?Much like the protagonists would tear into a few morsels of food, I devoured this book. I couldn't put it down, couldn't slow down to relish it. Now I'll reread it, more slowly, and think more about the allegories held within it, on a deeper level. The back cover quotes Newsweek," . . . McCarthy expands the territory of American fiction" and indeed, he does.

Great book, not a Hollywood ending

by Elkin "Elkin"

In the book, The Road, Cormac McCarthy paints a post-apocalyptic world, and doesn't even explain how it happens really...there is mystery, there is a big tension throughout the entire story, kind of like someone is going to jump out from around the corner and grab you by the throat to get whatever you have and then take your life. Kind of feels like my life story! Also, it shows a unique bond between father and son that brought tears to my eyes. There is a constant desperation on the father's part regarding how to keep his son from danger. All in all, I really like this book; I especially appreciate how there was not a Hollywood ending to this story, it was a totally unexpected ending. I highly recommend this book to all.

Sad Road

by Eric B

I didn't care for it either. I was very bored with the back and forth between father and son. Thankfully, I'd ordered "The Call Girl Actress, Confessions of a Lesbian Escort" by Erica Black from Amazon at the same time. Now, that was a read!

Not a Waste of Time

by Eric J. Juneau

Didn't intend to read this one. My wife was giving birth and I had finished the book I brought to the hospital, and needed something else to read. So I stopped in the gift shop and looked for something. Lots of chick lit I didn't want to read. Lots of covers with roses and quaint cottages. But then I saw the dismal visage of Viggo Mortensen staring at me from the third row. It was the closest to science fiction they had, but I had seen the trailer for the movie and thought it was neat, and I like apocalypse fiction. So I bought it.I don't often read literary novels. Really, it's just a road movie of a father and his son (who are never named) as they trek across a decimated country (they never say why, but I think it's nuclear winter). The style is extremely simple, there are a lot of section breaks, but no chapters. The story was realistic, but never particularly engaging. Maybe because no one has a name. I saw a few instances of literary no-no's (a switch to first person, some telling, some wool-gathering) and I never really felt I needed to see how it ended (because it was obvious from page 1), but I was intrigued to see what happened next before they got there. There are no spectacular events, it's really more of a log of what happened--they find some food, they meet an old man, they sleep, they walk, they eat some peaches out of a can.I didn't particularly like it, but I didn't feel like I wasted my time either.

The Breath of God

by Eric Maroney

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is one of those rare novels which is capable of showing the great brutality inherent in human beings, alongside and contrasted with, our capacity for love, kindness, and charity, with unflinching equity. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where an unnamed man his unnamed son wander about a countryside of ashes and ruins, this terse, swift novel has a curiously uplifting biblical feel. In one chapter, the father and son meet an old man on the road named Ely, who admits Ely is not his real name, and refuses to reveal his true name. This is an echo of Jacob's wrestle with the man, or God, in Genesis, and the refusal of that mysterious combatant to give strenght to Jacob by revealing the inherent power in his very essence, the name by which he is called. The Road's prose is sparse, but McCarthy intersperses it with prophetic diction and phrases, giving hints at the real meaning of this novel: In a word seemingly abandoned by God, we become God's replacement. By even simple gestures of kindness and mercy, in a world where men and women act like animals to survive, we become godly; for McCarthy, being created in God's image means acting as God's stand in on a barren, dead earth. Powerful, gripping, sad, terror invoking and in the end hopeful, The Road is a fully realized, masterful work.

McCarthy's Apocalypse

by Eric S. Kim

The plot is simplistic, yet haunting.The writing is straightforward, yet effective.The pacing is ponderous, yet suspenseful.The number of characters are minimal, yet all of them are memorable.The atmosphere is silent and bleak, yet eerie and nightmarish.The themes are typically well-known in ordinary life, yet are very critical and riveting here in this book.This is probably Cormac McCarthy's greatest work yet: dark, haunting, and very realistic. I'm glad I had the chance to read this. Grade: A

Ignites a Hope

by Eric Wilson "novelist"

Some books wallow in despair. Others revel in false hope. "The Road" spends much of its time dealing with a dark past and future, yet ignites a hope that seems neither false nor forced. This is the mark of a writer at the heights of his genius. I read the story in one sitting.Opening into a tableau of monumental destruction, yet kept believable and relatable through the eyes of two nameless characters--a devoted father and fearful son--this story follows their journey through the roads and byways of America. At one point, they see a sign that I've seen in my own travels, a sign for Rock City which is an actual location in Chattanooga, TN. While details are crisp and evocative, the book never nails down character names, story dates, locations, or even the method of global destruction. It jettisons standard punctuation, adding to the sparse feel. It focuses on the despair and hopelessness of society torn apart by the need for survival. Morals and ethics are eroding. Food and water are worth fighting for. Fellow humans are potential sustenance.Father and son begin to change as the story moves along. One flirts with thoughts of ending his own life, preferring a definite end to an indefinite future. The other, a small frightened child, serves as the moral center--questioning the cannibalism, the thievery, and the growing apathy of those he observes. If you travel down "The Road," you'll be faced with haunting images and hardship, while also coming face to face with hope and resilience. McCarthy uses sparse storytelling to give us a rich tale of thought-provoking power, intentional but never pedantic.

I know Oprah recommended it. I just can't do the same.

by Erin K. Simons "Aspiring writer, voracious re...

About 20 pages into The Road by Cormac McCarthy, I didn't think I was going to be able to finish the book. However, I had heard so many good things about the novel -- which features a theme that's right up my alley -- that I perservered. In the end, I'm glad I finished the book, but I know that I will never, ever read it again, and probably wouldn't recommend it to others.My biggest problem with The Road was the author's use of language. I know that the lack of punctuation was for effect. I get that. But the inconsistencies drove me crazy -- I just couldn't turn off the inner editor in my mind. Why, Mr. McCarthy, do you only use commas in dialogue? (I mean, I have to guess that those sections were dialogue because you also don't seem to think quotation marks are important.) And why do you use apostrophes in some possessives and not others? Some contractions, but not others? In your post-apocalyptic world, is punctuation as scarce as food?It's a shame that this device was so distracting, because in other ways, the writing is quite beautiful. McCarthy's word choice is surprising at times and very descriptive, helping draw the reader quickly into the despair felt by the story's nameless father and son, and painting a bleak image of the world they now live in.The Road takes place years after a global disaster. Although it is never defined, I gathered that it was some kind of meteor event, based on the sooty air and the lack of concern over radiation. The story follows a father and young son -- each the other's whole world -- as they struggle to find food and resources by scavenging the scorched land. They are walking to the sea and to warmer climates, fighting a daily struggle to stay fed and to avoid contact with other survivors -- many of whom have resorted to cannibalism.I know this was not supposed to be an uplifting story. But as a parent, I found it extremly difficult to read. The suffering is so palpable, and the love between the father and son is so compelling, even reading about their pain was almost unbearable. I considering closing the cover for good more than once.Another problem I had with The Road was the naked and matter-of-fact horrors it contained. The gruesomeness of this new world was almost too much to stomach. For example, in one scene, the "good guys" encounter other survivors that are cooking a headless baby on a spit. I read horror, and expect to be shocked by authors when reading those books. But in this context, it was so grim and disturbing, I actually had nightmares about it.Overall, I can't say The Road was a bad book. From a literary standpoint, I understand why it has received such acclaim -- McCarthy makes some very brave choices in his writing style and subject matter that really make the book notable.But the bottom line is, I didn't like The Road, and I felt nothing other than a sense of relief when it was finished. I know Oprah recommended it, but I just can't do the same.

A mandatory journey for the serious reader

by E.S. Kraay "I yam what I yam."

On the one hand, a very simple book. Easy to read. Another example of Mr. McCarthy's penchant for word efficiency. A nameless father and his nameless son walk a nameless road headed south to escape the cold and 'the bad guys' that are characteristic of McCarthy's stark, post-apocalyptic world. More significantly, I could not put the book down and it is difficult to explain why. This is a story of the human heart and its ability to love and survive against all odds when it has been stripped of everything save the very object of its love. My heart wept when I read the final page, put the book on my nightstand and turned off the light.

Oprah Makes a Good Choice

by Ethan Cooper

The first 150+ pages of THE ROAD are mesmerizing, as McCarthy follows a father and his son through a dangerous ash-covered world, where life, but for a few humans, has been annihilated. For me, this portion of TR reads like a great road novel--episodic but fully involving--as the father and son scavenge for food, avoid murderers and cannibals, and find ways to survive.Then, McCarthy starts to give the father and son moments of small yet profound triumph. Instead of just avoiding death, they temporarily find food and shelter. They survive illness. They reach the ocean. For the reader, these should have been great moments, with the characters finding what McCarthy calls mini paradises or sustaining each other and their reasons for living. But no, these triumphs feel like interruptions in a story of gritty survival. That's when you realize that the unrelenting focus of this book--survival--has flattened the characters and produced grim two-dimensional stick figures. This is a shortcoming in otherwise terrific work.TR, by the way, seems to turn BLOOD MERIDIAN, a genuine masterpiece by McCarthy, inside out. In TR, the style is spare. In BM, the style is lush and complex. In TR, characters confront and seek escape from a raw and dangerous world. In BM, characters join a mad and vicious enterprise. In TR, a father recognizes the evil of the world and tries to limit its effects. In BM, a father figure sanctions and enables the evil. Finally, in BM, there is a dominant philosophical position--basically, that inherent to men is a capacity for immense evil--that is strengthened by the novel's amazing ending. But in TR, the ending seems perfunctory and dissipates the grim statement of the book. Maybe things aren't so bad, McCarthy seems to say.Since I mentioned arbitrary endings, here is my own, which shows what the great McCarthy can accomplish with a spare style."He'd had this feeling before, beyond the numbness and the dull despair. The world shrinking down about a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the name of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he would have thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever."

The Best Novel of the Last Decade

by Ethan

This is possibly my favorite book of the last decade. There is something incredibly pure about the writing of Cormac McCarthy. This story is, on the surface, extremely sparse, containing no real driving plot, but rather a stringing together of events. Despite this lack of a traditional story, the sporadic events provide the reader with a rich insight into the human soul. This is a must read for all.

Talk about depressing!

by Evan Hammerman

This book certainly is. But as every other reviewer has said the man's love for the boy makes it all worthwhile.The great part of this book is that the prose is as bleak as the scenery. The cold gray world is limned in cold gray words.What cost this book the fifth star for me was that this wasn't as "un-put-down-able" as other books I have read. Of course, your mileage may vary. I should also say that this is the first book I have read by this author. Definitely worth the read though.

The Good and the Bad

by E. Von Ray "adventurer"

Its a beautifully written novel and the two main characters are interesting and they do have some unusual encounters in what is essentially a world in ashes. I cant fault the author in his style and the main idea but I found the last 50 pages to be lacking. I couldnt help but feel let down by the ending. That was it? Not to spoil it for anyone else but the author made some odd choices in what he would describe at length, in great detail, and then almost rush past others, in particular the ending.So I give it 5 stars for the writing, 3 for the story and execution, for a 4 star average. Its worth the read.

Dry as toast

by F.Faulkner "F.F."

Dry, slow read. Vignette on post-apocolyptic life struggle when just to live is pain. I finished this raved-about book, closed it, and thought to myself, "what was all the fuss about?". It was just a sad, dark short story. And that kid was sooooo annoying, I wanted to smack him.

Prose took awhile to get used to, but otherwise a powerful read

by fra7299 "fra7299"

In Cormac McCarthy's The Road, a man and his son travel across a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape in search of food and survival. The city has been ravished by some apparent catastrophic event, as not only the community is dying, but its inhabitants. Whoever is left is left to cope with the disaster often attempt to survive by any means possible, and as the man and the boy travel down the road, they encounter dangers posed by other lurking survivors.McCarthy has a unique, simplistic writing style of short, random thoughts and sentences, where punctuation is not always used, there are virtually no "chapters", and dialogue is presented in quick short phrases and thoughts. I can see where the author is going with this style to a certain degree, as the prose style seems to be reminiscent of the stripped down society, where rules do not exist. In this sense, the writing style is somewhat of a metaphor for the chaotic nature the man and the boy experience along their journey for survival. However, one problem exists, in that the power of key moments in the story are understated and undervalued with short, choppy sentences. There is no attempt to reel the reader in to a powerful moment because it is presented in the usual simplistic way, and I think that this distances the reader from the story.As far as the story, there is a sense of anonymity. The man and the boy are never named, and we are never really told what disaster rendered the area a wasteland. As we read, we are given many hints as to what could have happened and try to pull its pieces together. For instance, we learn that people in this society are resorting to cannibalism and murder in order to survive, and that, in the father's eyes, there are "bad" guys, and possibly some "good" guys. There could be many ways to interpret this, but seemingly its easiest explanation is that the bad guys are those who would do anything to anyone in order to survive, those who overstep the bounds. Where the man is distrusting of others, the boy is more sympathetic and wants to help those they encounter, such as the boy and the blind man.Where The Road generates most of its strength, I believe, is in its symbolism and in the relationship between the boy and the man. The symbols are abundant: the road could be a symbol for survival in times of crisis; the boy and the man represent a sort of last survivor, an Everyman in a futuristic world; the boy is perhaps an emissary for the future. The relationship between the boy and the man is pivotal to survival, both physically and emotionally. The man does everything in his power to care for the boy, and teaches him the ropes of how to survive in the worst of times.Over all, McCarthy's novel, despite its flaws, is a powerful and worthwhile read. It captures the essence of struggle and hopefulness amid a poverty-stricken, desolate world. The prose style will take a bit to get used to, but if you can get past that, it becomes a compelling story.

Mercifully, It's a Short Book

by Franklin the Mouse

I can't recall the last time a book actually gave me nightmares. Mr. McCarthy's postapocalyptic novel certainly did the trick. If you're even mildly depressed, I wouldn't recommend this book. Mr. McCarthy has done a very effective job of depicting a dreary landscape and existence. Every page oozes depression, dread and anticipatory violence. Small triumphs were quickly squelched by the continual need to find food. Reading each page became more and more difficult because the hopelessness-of-it-all kept building. It made me appreciate even more the nature around us. Mr. McCarthy's masterpiece will be read long after all of us are worm food. Steel yourself and read it. Rest assured, my next book is going to be something darned right uplifting.

"Run, he whispered. Run."

by frumiousb "frumiousb"

This is the first book that I have read by McCarthy. I don't really know why, I just had this idea that I wasn't going to like his work very much. Something that I heard once about All the Pretty Horses struck me the wrong way. I am not sure what it was that I thought that I wouldn't like.In any case, I bought The Road because a co-worker was convinced that I would love the book. And he was right, I do-- although "love" is a funny kind of word to relate to post-apocalyptic fiction.What do you need to know about this book before you read it? Nothing much beyond what almost everyone knows. This is a story about a man and a boy, set in a post-apocalyptic USA. We aren't told what happened, and all question of "why" has fallen away.There's a lot of things to take away from the novel. Hope as an impulse even after hope is irrational. The drive to keep living, even when the dead might well be the lucky ones. (One maudlin writer after another has suggested this idea, but in this book McCarthy posits a world where it might actually be literally true.) There's also something about the people who consider themselves the "good guys". And then again, the idea that there really are no good guys in the inferno. Unlike in Beckett, the journey of these characters actually leads somewhere. But it is by no means certain that somewhere is better than the place where one began. Manufactured hope.I really liked McCarthy's prose style. Perhaps because my own sentences are long and loopy, I really enjoy the short economical phrases. I will definitely be picking up another McCarthy sometime soon. I would recommend this book to virtually all readers. While the subject is forbidding, it is perfectly accessible as text.The Road was the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.Let me know in the comments if you would particularly recommend another of his novels.

Profoundly disturbing, instantly memorable.

by F. Stepnowski "Author of books that unstable ...

"The Road" is beautiful in its simplicity, horrifying in its potential, and memorable for its message. Set in a post apocalyptic world (a result of an unspecified disaster,) a man and his son are forced to endure when all around them is nothingness. A true "lone wolf and cub" scenario, played out against the backdrop of man-made holocaust that proves what we all know - when all else is lost, love will endure. The manifestations of that love, however, can be a primal and disturbing as the events that force them to the surface. "The Road" will take you a short time to read and a lifetime to forget.


by Fuzzy Lizard

I can't believe I fell for the hype and bought "The Road". It is one of the most boring books I have ever read. A lot of walking, watching, waiting. "The Road" is a good book if you are having trouble going to sleep.

Carrying the Fire Through The Darkness

by Gary F. Taylor "GFT"

Published in 2006, Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD has been among the most widely praised novels of the era, receiving numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It has also been extremely popular with the reading public--something of a surprise, for it would be difficult to imagine a novel that is more relentlessly bleak than this one.THE ROAD presents us with a nameless father and son, the latter about ten years old, who have survived an unspecified environmental disaster and who are now traveling south in an effort to escape the ever-intensifying cold that seems to grip the landscape. The journey is horrendous: they push a grocery cart through a seemingly endless sea of gray ash beneath a gray sky, cold, wet, hungry, and very fearful of other people--and with good reason, for in the absence of other food many survivors have turned to cannabalism. Cities are empty with the occasional corpse; rivers and streams are dead; the forrests and fields are dead; they have no certainty of what they will find when and if they reach the sea.McCarthy writes in a style that is sparse to the point of painfulness, and the narrative is repetitive in the same sense of a reoccurring nightmare. At the same time, however, the darkness of serves to set off the one golden glow: the father's love for his son. "We carry the fire," the father tells his son. "We're the good guys." And so they struggle on together in the hopeless hope of finding a means to live.As THE ROAD progesses it acquires a certain mythic quality: the concept of a heroic journey into the unknown to win a great prize; the idea of a light in darkness; the imagery of carrying the fire to the sea. At the same time, however, heroism is in short supply and the great prize is simple survival in a barren world. McCarthy does ultimately offer a grain of hope, but only of the most tenative kind imaginable.I would be remiss if I did not state that this is easily one of the most profoundly depressing works I have read. Recommended--but you might want to keep a couple of Zoloft handy.GFT, Amazon Reviewer

"Uplifting" - Like the Cellars of Hell

by Gary Griffiths

So who better to chronicle the end of human civilization than the iconoclastic Cormac McCarthy? Can anyone on this side of hell can write in the clipped and brutal prose more befitting of Armageddon than McCarthy; is anyone more capable of plumbing the abyss of human suffering and despair in the written word?"The Road" is vintage McCarthy: powerful fiction told without excuses, a gut-wrenching journey of a consumptive man and his skeletal son down the road of human depravity, pushing a shopping cart full of their last hopes of survival through a post nuclear perpetual winter. Some have called this "uplifting". As uplifting as a charred word void of virtually all-living species. As uplifting as a dead land shrouded in night, blanketed with ash and gray snow, legions of charcoaled corpses ornamenting the highways and hallways. As uplifting as the vicious gangs who prowl the countryside surviving on the last food source - other humans. As uplifting as the Halocaust, Idi Amin's Uganda, or Pol Pot's Cambodia.Sure, "The Road" is about the tenacity of the human spirit - "carrying the fire" - and about a man's undying love for his son. But that's all been done before, and frankly, done better. But McCarthy is at his unparalleled and unprecedented best when capturing human corruption, when exposing a world lost of hope, depicting man not at his pinnacle, but in the depths of his perversion. David Brin's "Postman" or King's "The Stand" are mere fairytales when stacked up against McCarthy's terrifying vision of the apocalypse. Read into what you'd like, but there is no preaching here; no profound moral messages. McCarthy comes not to warn, proselytize, sympathize, or criticize. As with "Blood Meridian" before it, he is a simple narrator in command of immortal prose.For McCarthy, commercial success, political niceties, or protecting sensibilities are not of consequence. And as such, "The Road" will not appeal to the masses. Poignant, black, and disturbing, but uplifting only in a world where the dead are considered the lucky ones. No need to wait for this to become an American classic - read it now.

Dark Fantastic

by G. David Hanks "BG DAVE"

The Road (Oprah's Book Club)This is a very dark piece of fiction and the best book I have ever read. It is a very mature work with a great deal of emotion. The relationship between the father and son will play heavily on parents. If you enjoy dark fiction or apocalypse tales buy this book. If you want something simple and four color look elsewhere.


by George C Triumph "Bucs fan"

My lady and I both read this book and were just amazed at the descriptive storytelling that Cormac McCarthy is able to do. The outline on amazon tells you what it is about so I do not need to do that, I will just tell you it is very intense, invigorating and often times very depressing and extremely solemn. A magnificent volume in the library of great fiction, words cannot describe the greatness that McCarthy has when telling a story.

The Road was an awesome read!

by George Hamilton "Author of: Secrets From The ...

I loved The Road for its strong theme, which I will try not to spell out fully, because part of the enjoyment of reading such a novel is to discover the theme, and then see how many situations in our world today it can be applied to.A catastrophe--nuclear Armageddon, a meteor strike, we don't know--scorches the earth and wipes out most of mankind. A man travels across the desolate landscape alone with his son-- they have no names apart from man (Papa), and boy--born after the disaster, to his wife that could take no more of this ravaged earth and took her own life. There are few people alive, but they travel in fear of meeting anyone, the father with a pistol in his waistband. If they are about to be captured he has planned to kill his son, like his wife killed herself, and he doesn't know if he can do it. They drag all their possessions in a shopping trolley, and search every property they come across for food. They stay away from the other few remaining humans who scavenge for anything and anyone to eat and survive. Always, the fear is that when the man leaves the boy to go in search of food, he will return to find that the boy has been taken by others, also in search of `food'. The father's greatest fear is dying and leaving his son alone, but his fear of trusting anyone makes this a distinct possibility, and leads to his own descent into inhumanity. But if they are to survive, they will have to take a leap of faith and learn to trust someone...George Hamilton is author of Secrets From The Dust

This one packs a punch

by G. Henson

While this is a novel with a bleak setting to say the least, I found it to be encouraging at its core. For me, its core message was that love can flower even with the most meager of nourishment. Essentially, there are only two characters--a man and his son. That there names are never given is because in their world they are not important. What is important is the strength of their bond. I also was glad that they are so real. The dad is no McGyver, but just a normal man doing the best he can. The boy does what boys do, trust their father and sometimes get scared. The language is mesmerizing at times with precisely the right picture drawn. This is a quality work for those who are able to look beyond the surface.

A Lonely, Depressing, Road

by Glenn Gallagher "scholarly bureaucrat"

Cormac McCarthy has succeeded brilliantly, in depressing the hell out of me. The Road is a magnificent book, and that's the problem, I couldn't just ignore it, I couldn't disregard it, I had to feel the weight of the (dying) world on my shoulders. This book could literally give you nightmares. Compelling? Powerful? Yes, but I'm guessing being beaten over the head by a baseball bat is also compelling and powerful.Save yourself some joy in life, and don't read this book unless you want to feel miserable.

Novel of a dark, sinister post-apocalyptic world

by Glenn Russell

Holding the religious view that there are two independent, primal forces in the universe, one good, one evil is called dualism. According to dualism, the good God does the best he can to promote good and combat evil but he can only do so much since evil is a powerful counterforce in its own right. The ancient Gnostics were dualists with their scriptures emphasizing the mythic rather than the historic and positing our evil, material world created not by an all-powerful God but rather by a flawed Demiurge. In contrast to the Demiurge, the God of light resides above our earthly material universe in a pure, spiritual realm called the Pleroma.I mention dualism and Gnosticism here since I read in Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country For Old Men, a story taking place in 1980, the following dialogue between a good old boy by the name of Sheriff Bell who is a World War !! veteran and his old Uncle Ellis: Bell asks - Do you think God knows what's happenin? Uncle Ellis replies - I expect he does. Bell then asks - You think he can stop it? To this Uncle Ellis answers - No. I dont. By these answers, Uncle Ellis is, whether he knows it or not, holding a theology of dualism and Gnosticism. Of course, McCarthy's worldview isn't necessarily the worldview of one of his characters, in this case Uncle Ellis, but my sense is, after reading No Country for Old Men and Blood Meridian, McCarthy's worldview isn't that far removed from Gnostic dualism; rather, the world and society McCarthy creates in his novels is absolutely soaking in evil. The evil is so strong in these two McCarthy novels, one could say evil is the primal force of the universe.A world where evil is the primal force is given an even more complete and deeper expression in McCarthy's post-Apocalyptic novel The Road, where a man and his son travel south to avoid the oncoming winter cold. Why am I saying this? Let me offer a couple observations around two quotes:We read a reflection of the man when he was a boy about age thirteen prior to the apocalypse, "Standing at the edge of a winter field among rough men. . . . Watching while they opened up the rocky hillside ground with pick and mattock and brought to light a great bolus of serpents perhaps a hundred in number. . . . The dull tubes of them beginning to move sluggishly in the cold hard light. Like the bowels of some great beast exposed to the day. The men poured gasoline on them and burned them alive, having no remedy for evil but only for the image of it as they conceived it to be. The burning snakes twisted horribly and some crawled burning across the floor of the grotto to illuminate its darker recesses. As they were mute there were no screams of pain and the men watched them burn and write and blacken in just such silence themselves and they disbanded in silence in the winter dusk each with his own thoughts to go home to their suppers." One can only wonder what brought about the actual apocalypse in the novel. Perhaps, similar to these men, world leaders attempted to remedy the image of evil on a macro level.Here is a typical scene the man and boy come upon: "Beyond a crossroads in that wilderness they began to come upon the possessions of travelers abandoned in the road years ago. Boxes and bags. Everything melted and black. Old plastic suitcases curled shapeless in the heat. Here and there the imprint of things wrested out of the tar by scavengers. A mile on and they began to come upon the dead. Figures half mired in the blacktop, clutching themselves, mouths howling." No more quotes are needed as I am sure you get the idea - a shadowy, menacing, ash-filled landscape populated by humans hunting and killing and eating one another.What creates the drama in this dark, sinister, stinking world is the love the man has for the boy, his son, and the love the boy has for the man, his papa. Also, the compassion the boy has for those they encounter on the road. All through their experience on the road, does the man hold a Gnostic dualist view? He experiences the intensity of the world's evil to be sure. However, his belief in the Gnostic other-worldly realm of light is paradoxical. Sometimes he reflects there is only the evil material world, harrowing and unrelenting, and sometimes he recognizes the boy as a messenger come from this other light realm. Rather than attempting an answer, I wanted to post my observations about dualism and Gnosticism and suggest reading with these ideas in mind is a way of appreciating the philosophical and religious dimensions of The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Heartwrenching and thought provoking

by glo "glo"

This is a beautifully written masterpiece that explores the relationship between a man and his son while trying to survive the aftermath of an unnamed apocalypse, and really an allusion to human nature at the face of survival. Cormac McCarthy writes in a characteristic prose that resembles that of "The Old Man and the Sea". The book isn't really about the post-apocalyptic events but about the deep connection between the man and his son that provides their only reason for subsistence in a dark and morbid world. "The Road" is an easy read but I found myself rereading many parts because the writing is poetic, descriptive, and profound.

Well written 5 stars - Totally bleak and depressing 1 star

by Gr8ful "Love a good book"

This story is beautifully written and there is definitely the loving relationship of father and son. Having said this, it is one of the most depressing and bleak books I have read in a very long time. I just don't really enjoy spending my free time immersed in such a dismal story. I honestly can't imagine the author spending so much time wrapped up in this to write the story... I would need intense therapy if it were me.

'What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not.'

by Grady Harp

Cormac McCarthy has a way with words. His sentences are fragments, his punctuation is minimal. His placement of conversation on a page is as spare as the feelings that initiate it and it is offered without character identification or quotation marks. He has a gift for making landscapes visual, for describing events in the most succinct way that it is only after passing over a paragraph that the thunder strikes. Cormac McCarthy is a powerful writer.THE ROAD is a bleak novel, one that after a few pages becomes frightening, challenging, and so ugly that the reader is tempted to stop the journey. But proceeding on with reading this work places the persistent reader in a trance-like state, wondering how such a tale will resolve. And in so many ways it doesn't end, leaving us with only inward uneasy feelings that this apocalyptic story may be all too near.A man and his son walk through the 241 pages of this novel in a world gone wrong. Though we are never told the etiology of the destruction of the planet's surface by fire (this is McCarthy we are reading!), there is nothing left but burnt houses, corpses, barren trees, and ash - ash that penetrates everything including the lungs of our two characters but also the sea, the sky, the ground, the air, and the mood. The 'story' is the struggle to keep walking the face of the earth, always headed south where it sill be warmer, searching for means of survival. The man and his son grow even more strong as there physical stamina collapses and the degree of love and acceptance of the way things are bonds them inextricably. They occasionally encounter other live humans ('good guys' or 'bad guys') who represent challenges for the meager food supply for sustenance. As with all of McCarthy's novels we learn much about these two characters by the end of the story, not so much from shared history as just existential survival. 'Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.'For some the novel may be just too dark to read and that is certainly understandable given the various cycles of life in which we all travel. But the ultimate result of finishing McCarthy's view of the end of the world has a strangely odd sense of hope. That is part of the author's ability to create a work that will be lasting. For this reader THE ROAD is jarringly indelible. Grady Harp, November 06

"There's not a lot of good news on the road. In times like these."

by Gregory Baird

I had been interested in reading Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" the first time I saw it in a book store, but after seeing it at the top of numerous best of 2006 lists I knew that I had to give it a try. I'm glad that I did. So often you find yourself disappointed in a book that gets so much attention, but with "The Road" it is very much deserved. It is a truly haunting, affecting novel that I doubt will be leaving my thoughts for a very long time. The story finds an unnamed father and son travelling along a road through the wasteland that the world has become in the wake of an only vaguely described, most likely nuclear, disaster that has thrown the entire world asunder. What humans have survived have become scattered and turned on each other as food and resources became scarce in the years following the disaster. Now the father and son are wandering alone down the desolate road (personified into an ominous, looming third character by McCarthy's masterful writing) in a desperate bid to get south before the harsh winter season finishes them off. They do come across other people at times, although the encounter rarely ends well what with desperation afflicting everyone and menacing hordes that have turned cannibal scouring the roads brandishing lengths of pipe as weapons. There is also a war of sorts going on within the father's conscience: he loves his son and will do anything to protect him, but looking around at the world his son will one day inherit he cannot help but wonder what the point is. The dreadful prediction that his wife gave to him before committing suicide years earlier also weighs heavily on his conscience: that a day will come when he will be forced to admit that he cannot protect the boy or take care of him anymore -- and what will he do then? World-weary as the boy is at his early age, he displays an astonishingly pure heart and naivete that the world seems eager to crush. Father and son are constantly at odds over how good and giving they SHOULD be compared to how heartless and selfish they NEED to be in order to survive. Other reviews have called the boy Christ-like, and I leave it up to each reader to decide the accuracy of that claim, because it is left gloriously open-ended by the brilliant McCarthy, who refuses to beat you over the head with his metaphors the way many other, lesser writers would. The father, at any rate, is trying his best to walk the line between good and bad, survival and certain death for his son's sake, encouraging the boy when he seems on the verge of losing faith that "This is what the good guys do. They keep on trying. They don't give up."I finished this book an hour ago and I can feel its presence sitting on the desk two feet away as I write this. When I stop to think about it I get the shivers, and I know that "The Road" will have the same haunting effect on me long after I have shelved it in my room. Many critics, The New York Times included, have stated that the fiction book is a dying art, but a book like this shows that there is still plenty of life left in the genre when placed in capable hands like Cormac McCarthy's. In fact, between this novel and Barbara Kingsolver's stellarThe Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (Perennial Classics)I have renewed faith in the genre. A lot of reviews have cited this book as the best of 2006. Forget that, I say. Try best book of the last twenty-three years instead.Grade: A+

A SciFi Book for Non-SciFi Readers

by Grey Wolffe "Zeb Kantrowitz"

Cormac McCarthy has shown that he can change genres at the drop of a cowboy hat. 'The Road' is a vision of a post-apocalyptic world, in which almost everyone and everything have been obliterated, and is spiraling into total ecological collapse of 'nuclear winter'. Into this growing void, looking to find a warmer/better climate, come a father and son. They have no names and we are never told the age of the son; they are following one of the Interstates south in search of the 'ocean'.This is the story of how hope can burn inside you even as you face the most unimaginable destruction and are constantly in danger from those who have given up to evil. The earth is so ravaged that it and the sky are covered with a cover of ash, and food has only two sources, items that were canned or bottled before the cataclysm or other humans. Their constant search for food and water is offset by the fear of being captured and turned into slaves or a protein source.For those who are not SciFi readers, this will be an introduction to the bleakest of alternate histories. But for those who are familiar with the genre, it is a well-written, but well traveled story. If you find this type of story appealing, you'ld be well served to read David Brin's "The Postman" or SM Stirling's "Dies the Fire" Trilogy.

This was tedious

by HardyBoy64 "RLC"

No, I don't buy into the "Oprah chose it, so it must be good" thought. Neither do I think the Pulitzer prize means much these days. The truth is that this book did not impact me like it apparently did others. The dialogue is so overtly simple that it's painful and the descriptions are so repetitive.(Question: How many times do they say OK? Answer: As many times as he talks about the ash.)His style is so easy to copy that one wonders, "what, then, is the big deal?" This is like modern art (You know, those splatterings of paint on a canvas that people call "art" and they read into it any artistic interpretation that comes to mind, when in reality it really is just blots on canvas). This book is like that, to me. If you want to overanalyze it and call it "profound", that's fine, but the reality is that this is a poorly told story with little or not literary value.I've read "The Border Trilogy" and wasn't too thrilled with those books either. I guess I'm done with McCarthy. BLEH

tremendous allegorical futuristic thriller

by Harriet Klausner

The cities and much of the woodland have vanished in a pandemic inferno; the birds no longer fly as they all died in the catastrophe. Nothing seems to live in the oceans. Left behind is a world with few living species struggling to survive under a grey cover of ash that engulfs the planet.A man and his son trek down the lonely road using a shopping cart to carry their possessions as they search for food to stave off starvation. The elder is armed, but running out of ammo. He vows to not allow his offspring to be captured even if it means using his last two bullets on himself and his son. He fears the cannibals who would see them as choice cut and trusts no one including seemingly harmless other survivors. He insists to his child that they are good people doing what they must as he does what it takes to keep them safe. The lad learns only the strong survive and begins to wonders if staying alive is enough as he now comprehends why his mother committed suicide just after he was born.THE ROAD is a tremendous allegorical futuristic thriller that has current ramifications. The nameless travelers are an interesting pairing as the father does preemptive strikes on others rationalizing it as protecting his son based on in some incidents no evidence only a presumptive belief that everyone is the enemy. The son learns the Golden Rule lesson well of killing others before they do unto you as survival is everything in this grim haunting parable.Harriet Klausner

A Nearly Perfect Novel

by H. F. Corbin "Foster Corbin"

Cormac McCarthy's short novel-- only 241 pages in length-- THE ROAD is one you wil not soon forget. Two unnamed characters, a man and his son, are on a journey, somewhere in the United States, going south in an attempt to get to the coast. Some mysterious catastrophe has happened; the earth is covered with a gray ash; the sunless sky is also gray. There are few people left alive and many of them are dangerous. Even though state roads remain-- the two have an old roadmap-- there are no more states. The action begins perhaps in October-- the adult is not sure what month it is-- and culminates maybe in December. We are never told how old the youngster is-- he appears to be pubescent-- his mother has left them and is most assuredly now dead. In a particularly poignant exchange, the youth wishes that he was with his "mom." The father responds: "You mean you wish that you were dead." The adult spends little time thinking about the past. ("There is no past.") And the future, though uncertain, really is certain. We ascertain early on that there will be no deus ex machina for these two souls. The lad, however, in his innocence and hopefulness, wonders if there could be a space ship to take them miles away. He also hopes that when they arrive at the shore, that the sea will be blue. That dream unfortunately does not come to pass. When they finally get to the shore, "there was the gray beach with the slow combers rolling dull and leaden and the distant sound of it. . .I'm sorry it's not blue, he [the father] said. That's okay, said the boy."Mr. McCarthy has written a nearly perfect novel about courage, resignation, love-- and strange as it may seem-- hope as well. His prose with few metaphors is as spare as the landscape these two sojourners inhabit. Many passages in this novel will break your heart. There is a scene where the father has found some food and other supplies that have been stored underground and are in perfect condition. After he cooks up a meal of ham and scrambled eggs, complete with biscuits and coffee, the youngster wants to thank the people who left the food: "We know that you saved it for yourself and if you were here we wouldnt eat it no matter how hungry we were and we're sorry that you didn't get to eat it and we hope that you're safe in heaven with God."THE ROAD, on practically everyone's best list for 2006, is the finest novel I've read in a very long time. If I could, I would give it 10 stars.

I've read this twice now.

by Holly "Book addict"

The first time I read this book was when it was first published and I really didn't care for it. I re-read it this past week when my book group selected it for its March read and found I liked it better the second time through.I think I enjoyed it more this time since I had an understanding of the structure of the novel and had realistic expectations. The first time I kept waiting for it to get moving and waiting for something to happen -- it never really did. The second time I knew what to expect and was able to just read along for the literary style and the underlying message -- that worked out much better.The best word I can use to describe this novel is haunting. Since reading this novel, I've not been able to look at a can of pears without thinking about this book. It sucks you in and doesn't let go until you have closed it for the final time -- and how depressing it can be. It is a very dark novel with some rays of hope but is largely a marathon of terrible events and heart-wrenching situations. This is not a novel you want to pick up to read when you are looking for something light to lift your spirits. It makes the reader think and stays with you for a long while after you are finished.Hard to say I loved it since it's so very, very dark but worth a read just to get you thinking about all the what-ifs there are around this situation.

A harrowing tale of a father and a son


The author tells the story of an unnamed country completely destroyed by fire and abandoned by its people in which two nameless characters, a boy and his father, undertake a long and painful journey to the southern parts of that country where they hope to find a milder climate. Their only possessions are their clothes, a cart and a pistol to defend themselves against all manners of bandits who stalk the roads. They survive on scarce canned food which they manage to find in long abandoned houses and their constant fight against the excruciating cold is a daily battle for survival. At times their progress along the road seems pointless because there appears to be no hope anywhere. People are hostile and aggressive and the boy and the father owe their survival largely to their love for each other in the face of complete devastation and desolation.A poignant novel, gripping to the very last word, in which we see mankind at its worst and at its best.

Great book

by Howard Butler MD

Great book despite all the inconsistencies, but who cares.Whatever the cause behind the Apocalypse, it is hard for me to buy into humans being the only species to survive. Quite the opposite would be more appropriate, but then again, McCarthy needs to sell books. All rules are broken, yet one of the "bad guys" decides to hike down a ravine to find privacy to relieve himself-but if he didn't McCarthy wouldn't have been able to develop the interaction with the "bad guys". But even during an Apocalypse, demons still have to have good toilet habits, right? Coincidentally finding a shelter stocked with food and a working toilet; but Cormac had to have the "good guys" survive in fashion.Despite all the inconsistencies of the human element during the Apocalypse, the book was totally engrossing and for the first time in a long time I read a book in one day as I didn't want to put it down. What better compliment of a book than that.McCarthy creates visuals so lifelike, in simple vernacular, that its this simplicity that is the genius behind this book. The darkness of the Apocalypse contrasted with the simple and primal interaction between two survivors, make this relationship all the more powerful.I am do not like books with a "message" and I don't think McCarthy delivers one, other than to paint the picture of what if.I highly recommend it.

Are we still the good guys?

by H. Schneider

Some say that this is McCarthy's best book. I believe that easily since it is the first of his books that I like. It is a convincing and compact novel of the post-apocalyptic genre, which has produced many different specimen between horror, adventure, satire and utopian visions. McCarthy's remains in the philosophical horror direction.`A man' and `a boy', father and son, are on the road towards the South, in the hope to survive years after some catastrophe, which has left nearly nothing alive. (You are not survivors, you are just walking dead like in a horror movie, was what the boy's mother had said before she killed herself.)Their world consists of desolation, fires, ash, mummified corpses, burned ruins, grudging light that passes for day, nights blinding cold and casket black. There are no birds and the sun is invisible. Ash rains most of the time, in addition to rain or snow. Nobody produces food; only scavengers and cannibals get to eat. After years of this, there is little hope to find remaining food stocks anywhere.The man has his memories of a lost world, of his childhood, of his wife - but he throws away her photo. The frailty of everything has been revealed by the catastrophe.Memories of the period since that event are full of unspeakable brutalities. Civilization has collapsed. Humans who are still alive are either `refugees', like our two protagonists, or `bloodculters', `road agents', marauders, cannibals.Applicable survival skills are different from the past. This is not for fun. This is not a tropical paradise island. Father and son are the world to each other. The man has a pistol and two bullets left. He spends the first of the two on killing a cannibal who tries to capture the boy. The boy is shaken and questions the legitimacy of their struggle. Are we still the good guys?The man is a crude kind of philosopher. How does the never to be differ from what never was? He forbids himself to question God. In one of the rare conversations with a stranger we read: There is no God and we are his prophets.I had watched the movie before reading the book and was quite impressed. Reading the book afterwards does not in the least diminish the suspense, which is at times almost unbearable, since you have pictures to go with it, faces to look into.What does it mean? I think the key phrase is the `frailty of everything'. Our civilized world is held together by success. Once it fails, civilization shrivels.Strong themes are the love of the father for his son and the dependency of the son on the father. The man's will to survive is ambiguous, he often would rather be dead (as the old stranger says: it would be better to be dead, but in this world we can't ask for luxuries), but the son keeps him going. He keeps going without rational reason to hope, but hope is there, as long as it is not destroyed by death.Is the novel tendentious one way or the other? I don't know the man McCarthy, or his convictions. The book seems to me neutral and true. He does not tell us what his message is. Figure it out for yourself!

Viewing the future, darkly

by H&W

This is a most extraordinary book. I finished it several days ago and it still haunts me.Everything about this book is bleak and lean, from the plain black dustjacket to McCarthy's cut-to-the-bone prose. McCarthy has pared things down so much that most of the time he doesn't even use punctuation marks...the first time I have seen this kind of thing in a novel.All these techniques fit, however, and oh so well, for this is a story of survival in the blackest, most horrible, most grim, most degrading circumstances imaginable. Here we have a father and son, walking about in a blasted, burned, post-holocaust world of ashes and starvation and death. The father has only one real concern in the world: the welfare of his only son, a child who remains unnamed in the story, referred to only as "the boy." In a journey to the ocean, father and son encounter marauding bands of cannabalistic murderers, rotting, ash-blown corpses, and a host of other things which belong only in the worst of nightmares. Through it all is an overwhelming sense of loss and utter desperation and sadness. There is one slender ray of light at the end, and McCarthy doesn't even allow that without great expense. I will not ruin the story by telling you about it here.There's more here than a good story. I see this book as a wake-up call for humanity, for the world of The Road could be our world, or our children's world, or the world of our grandchildren. Let's not make it so. Please buy this book, read it, then think for a while about what you've read.

Desolation Road

by IRA Ross

Cormack McCarthy never lets on what has caused the environment of utter desolation described in the book. Virtually nothing is left. All that can be found are destroyed, formerly inhabited houses; dead trees, human corpses and the bones of the animal life that once existed. The book is also filled with the utter despair of those still alive. Two of the living include a father and his 10 year old son, an unusually kind and generous boy. It is their deep love and dependence on each other that gives them the strength to continue on. We are never told their names, but despite this, they are our heroes. Their entire exitence is spent moving from place to place and foraging for food, finding ways to keep themselves warm in a frozen wasteland, and protecting themselves from robbers and roaming cannibals--"the bad guys." As the boy keeps reiterating, his papa and he are "the good guys" who "carry the fire." Will they survive to the end?Mr. McCarthy demonstrates an artistry for creating this imagery of continual horror and despair. I can only hope that the cinematographer and set designers in the film adaptation of the book are as expert in their crafts as Mr. McCarthy is in his.

A quick road

by Jack Lechelt "Jackyred"

This book won the Pulitzer Prize. Oprah liked it. And now I read it. That means I'm smart!Actually, an easy read. I tend to enjoy a fine piece of post-apocalyptic fiction (like The Stand, The Cell, and On the Beach), but this book creeps more into the fine literature category. A nice transition me thinks. Most importantly, a touching father-son story that points out the difficulties a dad must confront in order to protect his son. The world would be a better place if more parents put their children first, but the world is also a much better place in the pre-apocalyptic stage. At least I hope so. Otherwise when we get over to the post phase we're all going to be kicking ourselves for not making the jump sooner. Well, those of us who survive anyway.

Buy a copy for your shelf, just don't bother reading it.

by Jack Of Alltrades "Just another soul"

Some have called this masterpiece trite, dull and depressing. How silly can they be? That's what makes it a literary work of genius. It's an easy read because it is puffed up with white space and large type. No need to slog through it. Just put it on the shelf so folks will see you read cool stuff. For speculative fiction you don't need to pretend to read, try Jack Vance orSisters of Glass. Literary writing doesn't have to be a bore.

The apocolypse is Now

by JackOfMostTrades "Jack"

Have technology, psychology, religion, social work, urban planning, or the self-help industry cured our ills or are we leading yet more desolate lives whether one's landscape is replete with urban decay or narrowly focused in front of our computer monitors? If "An Inconvenient Truth" doesn't knock some sense into us, maybe this book will. The subject is not a world threatened by global warming but one suffering from a spiritual vacuum. With its sparse dialogue and barren landscape, a man and boy trek across a post-apocalyptic land, where even language itself has lost its significance, for there is little to communicate but warnings and fragments of solace and a few musterings of love. Implausible? How different is this fable of a nightmarish journey different from the stories related by refugees from Bosnia, Kosovo, the Sudan, Rwanda, and Iraq? Purposefully plain in its delivery, The Road demonstrates that McCarthy has the ability to--as Shakespeare said--"fit the word to the action, the action to the word."

Can humanity be regenerated only by the death of the father?

by Jacques COULARDEAU "A soul doctor, so to say"

An amazing story, beyond the final destruction of the world. We don't know how it happened, but everything is ashes, has been carbonized. An enormous fire that filled the sky with darkness and cut off all sunlight, thus leading to a new glaciation. The two characters are going south through a constantly snowy, icy and cold country. The earth is a living organism and it produced its own solution to protect its balance and existence. The world has a survival instinct. If it gets too hot a good old fire will clean it up all and cause a new ice-age. This approach states that human beings are nothing, control nothing and cannot in any way stop or prevent what the cosmos will decide. The forces at stake in the universe are by far too strong and powerful for our little vanity to prevent them from commanding, dominating, governing and forcing us to be humble. Yet even in such dire straits human beings will not be humble. Humility is our basic lacking quality. The two characters are a father and his son, a young child about ten. It explores very convincingly theit mutually narcissistic relation in this situation where fear and survival are the only two active dimensions of their vision of life. I find it a little untrue though. The father is constantly manipulating the child and telling him lies to make him do what he wants him to do and then of course the lies reveals themselves. It is easier in the short run to tell a lie and get what you want, but in such a situation it isn't realistic. The child should have resisted a lot more when he discovered he had been told lies. In fact the relation between this father and this son does not seem real, feasible. The child appears to be dependent, to the point of being slightly retarded and that is not acceptable. The crisis was sudden, for sure. He was traumatized. He is not able to get over this trauma and subsequently develops a need to submit to his father's will and decisions, even if they are obviously wrong and based on lies. The child has no autonomy and no sense of his own responsibility. Well advanced in the novel, the child will be entrusted with the gun and he will drop it and forget it in the sand of the beach. Absurd. A child who feels that menaced will certainly not let go of the gun and forget about it. He will in fact develop a fetishistic attachment to the gun as the supreme power that could solve all problems. Losing it reveals the desire of the child to cause his father's death and his own. The drawback here is a lot wider. The child does not seem to grow. He is blocked in an infantile position and it is not possible. All along their way they only find dangerous and aggressive people, never the slightest friendly person. And yet at the end the first man who comes by is friendly and recuperates the child after the death of his father. I can't believe. I am sure they should have come across other positive people before and that was absolutely un-human from the father to believe that everyone they met was dangerous, that they had to hide away from everyone because no one could be friendly. The father is absolutely paranoid and maybe slightly schizophrenic. I don't deem that possible. A standard human being would look for company, for other survivors to survive together because that is the basic principle of the human species, the only reason why humanity has survived all the negative events that have assailed human beings for ever since homo sapiens came out of his genetic womb. Moreover though it is not explained, the man and the boy are surviving together and there is a vague mention of a woman twice in the novel, a woman connected to men in both cases, apart from the private recollection of a woman in the man's mind, unshared, unexplained, un-dramatic in the plot. The third woman is the one at the end who gives the child a hug when he arrives in the "commune" that has recuperated him from his mourning. This world is a sexist projection of a very particular real world that is not realistic at all. A normal male individual mammal, a human in this case, would be looking for a female to both relieve his own needs and to assure the survival of the species, an absolutely and only genetic survival instinct. But the most surprising element is the very final paragraph of the novel. No vision, no opening, no closing, just an element from a distant biological past that means nothing in the catastrophic present. Life is dead. How can a trout be still alive, if not in the survivor's - the child's - memory? But if the whole humanity was destroyed, if all animal and vegetal life was destroyed, how come there are survivors? What enabled them to survive? A beautiful novel in many ways but it does not compare with the work other writers did when envisaging the final death of humanity, like H.G. Wells or Frank Herbert, Stephen King or Arthur C. Clarke. It looks too much like Samuel Becket's "Happy Days" also based on a couple, but locked up in some kind of refuge and a more natural heterosexual couple. This book pretends to keep up humanity in these fire-carrying survivors, and at the same time everything is inhuman in their environment till the very last page, after the father died. This sudden come-back of humanity is in many ways unbelievable, just like the survival of any human life when all other life has been destroyed.Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines

Scary because it could happen

by jade19721 "jade19721"

This is one heck of a depressing read, but not so depressing that you can't finish or don't want. The book is set in what would be post destruction of earth. A man and his son, whose names we never learn, are walking the roads just trying to survive in a world where everything has been burned. Not many people are left and those that are left will do most anything to get something to eat. Some have taken to eating humans just to survive. Food is scarce and what they do find is not the best. To me this scenario is scarier than any ghost, goblin, vampire, zombie, or werewolf could ever dream of being.

A rare prosaic masterpiece, couldn't put it down

by Jaimal Yogis "Author of Saltwater Buddha: a s...

Not since reading J.M. Coatzee's Disgrace have I found a writer's prose to be painfully good. Sentences as stark, poignant and emotionally raw as the bleak and barren world they describe. The book is essentially a long poem, which, dark as the tale may be, reads as more of an ode to some humans' ability to find beauty and goodness in the darkest of times. An odyssey of a father and son caught in a near-post human world, there is hardly a joyful moment in the entire book. And yet there is a truthful kind of hope in the familial bond and in the struggle for goodness.For me, the book was a potent wake up call, the sort that we need everyday in an era of nuclear weapons, global warming, resource scarcity. It's unclear how the world came to be the way it is in "The Road" - a landscape full of ash and nearly completely dead - and the sad truth is that the reader can find any number of probable scenarios that could have made it that way, scenarios that don't seem so far-fetched.I could write much more about The Road: its meditations on death, on nihilism, on memory and love, but dissecting it might just cheapen it. I think it is an essential story for our times. I look forward to the film.By Jaimal Yogis, author ofSaltwater Buddha

Won't appeal to everyone

by James Montgomery "diamondjim"

That's because it's a different kind of book. There's next to no plot as it's more about a journey of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Further to this is the writing style is different. Whilst the conversations are simplistic between the two main characters (the unnamed father & son) the descriptions of the bleak world around them is vivid.Recommended with reservations.

Best Book I Have Ever Read!

by James "Net Guy"

I swear this is the best book I have ever read. I wish it would keep going. I just can't say enough about it.

A Poetic Tale of Horror and Hope

by James R. Gilligan "Overeducated culture vulture"

Without a doubt, one of the most powerful novels I have read in a very long time. Cormac McCarthy is a true artist--he needs no ornate or bombastic language. He uses the simplest words, crafted in the most exquisite fashion, to convey a depth of feeling rarely encountered in contemporary literature. The Road is ostensibly a novel about the end of the world--a father and son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where it's impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys. But McCarthy makes so much more of his tale--it is a testament to his skill as an artist, because the novel is not complete without YOUR--the reader's--ideas and interpretation. That is part of the sheer brilliance of his minimalist approach. He evokes intense sensations of dread, horror, love, hope, and despair through his spare but carefully constructed prose. Those looking for it may very well find a spiritual dimension in this novel--but an equally valid argument can be made for the palpable absence of spirituality. Read this novel, and savor McCarthy's brilliance. He has shot to the top of my "Must Read" list.

Not sure what all the fuss is about

by James Tepper ""Are we there yet""

As everyone knows from the vast amount of publicity afforded to this novel, "The Road" is a "post-apocalyptic novel" set in America. There are no hints as to what caused the holocaust. Everything is burned beyond recognition. The planet is dead. What species of animal and plant life remain are either dead or dying. Not surprisingly, the few remaining bands of people have turned to cannibalism to extend their lives for a few more days or weeks. There is no respite, no hope of survival, nothing. Everything is bleak, gray, dusty, ashen. There is no color anywhere.Post-apocalyptic novels ranging from "On the Beach" to "The Stand" to "Planet of the Apes" have been a staple of SF for decades. Some of them have gotten excellent reviews, others relegated to the dustbin of "genre fiction". I suppose "The Road" has achieved its enormous acclaim because it is considered "Literature" with a capital L. It won a Pulitzer. Even Oprah recommended it. I further suppose the writing has something to do with it. Some how it is considered to be superior to that of Stephen King or Dan Simmons.But Cormac McCarthy's prose does not seem so awesome to me. In fact, it was very hard for me to get through the first 20 pages or so, as there is no conventional punctuation or structure - no quotation marks, many "sentences" that my 4th grade teacher would have criticized as sentence fragments, no chapters, just an endless (actually 287 pages) sequence of text.There are very few (or no) surprises in "The Road". It starts off grim and gets even grimmer until the end. True, it does convey a deep love between a father and his son, and an endless feeling of grey, sooty and exhausted hopelessness very well, but is that enough for an award winning novel?"The Road" is a short read. The (very) simple sentence structure and short length makes it a perfect, easy read for a mid-length plane ride ( I started and finished the book between Dallas and Newark). I guess I would recommend it (I gave it to my wife who is always criticizing me for reading "junk" instead of "literature" but so far she is unimpressed) if someone wants to check out the hoopla, but as an example of a classic end of the world novel, there are many that are vastly superior.

Waste of my Friday

by J. Aragon "Feminist Educator"

I checked this book out at the local library on Thursday and read it yesterday. What a waste of my time. I've read better books in this genre that were written well, provocative, and just more interesting. This book is what I refer to as a beach read, and a depressing one at that.If all the noted awards and the inclusion of it as an Oprah book club get more people reading, great. But, I will not suggest this book to another.Many others have outlined the plot, so I won't do so. However, the sparse dialogue did nothing for me. At least with Hemingway, you can read between the lines and less is more. Not the case with this book.I actually would have preferred more of an explation about:1. what really happened2. what happened to the mom/wifeJust relieved that I checked this out from the library and didn't purchase it. Stick to some of the author's other books.

I don't understand why people like this book so much

by Jared

I really don't understand the big deal about this book. The entire book is very very boring. The dialog is horrible and the characters are never developed. I don't want to give anything away, and no matter what I write if you want to read this book you will, I just don't understand how I am in the minority here.

Probably not the right author for me

by Jason Buberel

This is the second work by Cormac McCarthy that I've read, and the resulting disappointment was the same. The first was Blood Meridian, which I was nearly unable to finish. The austerity of the writing and the bleakness of the stories fails to engage me. I suspect that I will never be able to enjoy a book in which none of the main characters has a first name. The Road was more palpable to me, but not by much. The ending was mildly hopeful, but certainly not inspiring. The struggle to survive in a post-nuclear world was described with some interesting details, but I never developed an emotional attachment to either the boy or his father.

A riveting, bleak novel

by JasonD

This was a great story. It represents good over evil, endurance over hopelessness, and courage over cowardice. Set in a post apocalyptic time, a man and his son try to survive in a world of ash and destruction, death and depravity. If you are looking for a happy novel, this is not the one you want. It is bleak and (in some parts) disturbing. It's also a good story. I would recommend this novel to anyone.

Good story, bad writing style

by J. Baker "kairilily"

I enjoyed the story. It's very thought provoking, touching, and scary all at the same time. What I didn't like was the writing style. It took me a good while to get used to the sentence fragments and the conversations that weren't in quotation marks. Sometimes I had to reread parts to figure out just who was talking and when. That got old fast.

My favorite read of 2007

by J. Bosiljevac

The world is on fire. Almost everything is dead. Grey ash rains from the sky, coats everything. Nobody has seen the sun for years. Murderers, thieves, cannibals and cults comprise most of what is left of humanity. A man and his emaciated son push their wobbly-wheeled grocery cart across this landscape, along a road to nowhere, heading for the coast because it's got to be better than where they are now.It sounds a little like every other post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel. Not a fan of sci-fi myself, I probably would have skipped it had a friend not recommended it and had I not been so impressed with McCarthy's other work. But THE ROAD isn't science fiction. Unlike other post-apocalyptic visions, there are no futuristic spaceships or laser guns. It is our world, and the clarity and realism with which McCarthy paints it makes it all the more frightening. Everything that happens seems very real and very possible. It could be a few years from now.I couldn't put this book down for the strength of the story and the intensity of the plot, but on more than one occasion I had to put it down because I'd just read something so horrific that I had to let my mind digest it. But unlike a horror novelist who relishes in describing the terrors, McCarthy gives us just a glimpse. Then, like the characters in the story, we look away and run, with a snapshot burned into our brains.As with his other books, McCarthy's style is minimalist, sharp, hard-hitting and fantastic. The overarching theme of good vs. evil is always present, but there's a newer, more pure version of good in the boy. The boy doesn't yet understand the paradox of good men who sometimes must resort to bad things. He represents a goodness that may be innocent and nave but is unwavering and, in this book, is where the hope for humanity lay.McCarthy has said this is his most personal book. That's easy to believe. With all the horror and doomsday scenarios, it's really about the relationship between a father and son. McCarthy's ability to effortlessly infuse small, personal moments with epic themes is what makes his novels, particularly this one, so powerful.I bought this book for several people as Christmas gifts this year. It was my favorite book that I read in 2007.

A haunting tale...a barren landscape...beautifully written

by J. Brandt

McCarthy's book won't take you long to read since it is a very "sparsely" written book. Many pages take only a minute or so to read, but there is a method to the madness. The post apocalyptic world finds a father and son (both are nameless) trying to find their way to the coast in hopes for some better existence. The dialogue between the father and soon is moving and the story is terrifying at times with a world that has fallen into anarchy.The brilliance of the book is the ability of McCarthy to barely fill a page of text, but have you scared, worried, fearful or dreading what will happen to these two people. Each page takes you on their journey knowing that there is no real hope for either of them in a world gone mad.I cannot recommend this book enough.

Depressing but poignant, a powerful book

by J. C. Amos

For as short as it is, I found The Road to be a longer read than I expected; the reason being that I had to absorb it in 20-30 page segments to keep from getting too distraught. I started reading the book knowing that it was going to be bleak, but only reading it could I understand how bleak this book really is. That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. The Road is one of the most engrossing books I've ever read.The Road follows two main characters -a son and his father- who are only ever referred to as "the man" and "the boy." The story trails them from one hopeless situation to the next as they struggle to survive on a dead Earth. The book never leaves their perspectives, so we only see what they see and we only know what they know. In my opinion, other than the first-person perspective, this is the only way to truly become engrossed in the characters and the story that you are reading in a way that makes it feel real. McCarthy's writing, while a little hard to get used to at first, is very fluid and straight to the point, yet the world he creates with it is incredibly easy to imagine which makes the plights of the characters vivid and heart wrenching.I'll say that I am a big fan of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre of sci-fi. I enjoy the Fallout video game series, World War Z, Day by Day Armageddon and other stories involving a small group of humanity surviving against zombies, mutants and all of the other rigors of a fictional destroyed world. In The Road however, the trials that humans face are much less complicated but also much more terrifying. The main hardship would be starvation. The story takes place several years after most of humanity was wiped out and the only edible food left is that found in cans. Whatever it is that caused the apocalypse in McCarthy's story (it is never specified, but enough hints are given that one can draw their own conclusions) left no life behind save an incredibly small number of humans; though how they were able to survive when nothing else has, I am not sure. The trees, the plants, the birds... nothing is alive. Ash covers the ground and dust obscures the sun, creating a world that is lifeless and gray. This lack of life gives the book an incredible amount of hopelessness. Eventually, even canned food has to go bad and there's definitely no one around to can anything new. Here the author has created a world that would make even Mad Max want to commit suicide.Aside from starvation and exposure to the elements, the biggest threat to those left are other humans. The man in the boy, not only cold and starving, are constantly looking over their shoulders, checking their tracks and doing anything possible to avoid contact with other survivors, as most of them have resorted to cannibalism. Those few humans that aren't trying to eat one another are looking to steal to survive, so the shopping cart full of food and clothes the man and boy take with them has to constantly be hidden and protected. Anyone else they encounter that isn't trying to eat them or steal from them is just as hopeless and downtrodden as they are.So for all this bleakness, why did I enjoy The Road so much? The way it is written makes it so believable that I couldn't help but get sucked into the journey of the man and the boy. The book almost reads as a series of journal entries except that it's in third person, each section a terse but nerve wracking passage. It also strikes home a bit for me as I have a son about the same age as "the boy" and imagining myself in their shoes is inevitable.Would I recommend The Road for everyone? Oh no. Anyone with the slightest case of depression would do well to skip this book. And those looking for a more traditional novel may find themselves bored with the pacing and the lack of singular plot (the only real goal the characters have besides survival is to journey toward warmer weather.) Cormack McCarthy's writing style can be a little hard to get used to as well. He doesn't use quotation marks in The Road and sometimes keeps dialogue exchanges in the same paragraph, though after a while, I seemed not to notice. He also likes to invent compound words, like Burntlooking, but I also became used to these as the book progressed. If you're able to look past the fact that the book is unordinary and able to stick with the characters as they go through one seemingly hopeless turn to another, you'll find a very deep and poignant book about the stubbornness of human life and family. It'll definitely be one of my most memorable reads.

Appreciating it more as I reflect on it ..

by J. Carangal

After all the talk and publicity surrounding this book, I wanted to read it to understand the "hype." This book was very thought-provoking. I did not "enjoy" reading the story, but it has stuck with me and ignited conversations with others about the meaning of the ending and the premise. Questions surrounding the story are hanging with me, two of the biggest are: what happened to the world? was the ending "happy" or "sad"? [don't want to say more about this 2nd question because I don't want to provide spoilers.] The further I move away from the actual reading of the book, the more I am able to appreciate the story. Not often does a book inspire me to ponder it so long after I am finished reading it.

In the midst of desolation and despair can good survive?

by J. Carroll "Jack"

THE ROAD is a brutal examination of what awaits mankind when the ultimate disaster strikes. A man and his son try to survive in the desolate wasteland the Earth has become; no explanation is given for this apocalypse, but the only survivors of it appear to be human. As the unnamed pair head south in the hopes of finding something other than the impending death winter will bring in the North, they confront what humanity has devolved into, wild packs that prey upon others for their own survival. Armed with a gun that has few bullets, the man uses his wits and a feral sense of survival to keep his son from falling prey to the elements and others. He finds himself hampered by his son's will to believe that he and his father are "good guys" searching for others like themselves, and when the situation class for drastic action, the boy is, in a way, humanity's last hope; the one thing keeping his father from descending to the level of the others they have encountered. McCarthy has succeeded in creating a realistic endpoint, the why and how are not important, it just is. The barren landscapes and the occasional breaks from danger that take place only continue to build the feelings of tension until the conclusion is reached, leaving this reader breathless. McCarthy's work is one of genius, an examination of how fragile our society is and it is filled with a sense of despair and wonder that few novels can hope to create.

McCarthy,'s King Lear is unbearably haunting, cruel, but still God and love are out there in the nowhere.

by J. Clemons "clotblaster"

I get really sick and tired of all the latecomers to McCarthy continually calling Blood M. his best book. Most readers (including academics and intellectualoids) missed his first 4 books completely. If they did read them, they knew that a writer was telling the stories of people who make other people turn to God or they realize that the soiled nature of man needs something spiritual beyond Joan Baez records and most nauseating confessional poetry and fiction. His first three novels were short and haunting and need to be read a few times before the horror of the plots and themes awaken the reader to the fact that McCarthy has something to say abou t life that won't Sutree has an epic quality with the Mc's most important and interesting protagonist. It mixes the sad, the happy, the bizarre, the romantic etc into a good story that doesn't cheat one way or another. Another underrated novel (and his best ) All the Pretty Horses reminds us that there really are people who take seriously a code of honor , fall away from it, but realize there is a right and a wrong in all situations. M's last novel was dismissed because of its overtly conservative theme (from the old sheriff) that the world is getting worse and there are bad people doing really bad things and the there is no way the "good guys" (liberals) are going to stop the bad people from committing mayhem. The Road shows where the world is heading and it is a monumental gloss on the insightful, if depressing musings, of tghe sheriff in No Country for Old Men (no country for those who disillusioned and broken realize that Revelation is true and is already here--Muslim terrorism and madness, not mentioned in any review I've read of The Road is the subtext. The Islamic terrorists wil not win, but they can ruin the world for so many people because they are global horrors who will go anywhere to kill and destroy. The future in the Road makes sense to anyone who has read Abasalom, Absalom and Kierkegarrd. A road is supposed to go somewhere, but more and more the road just takes people back and forth, back and forth from their jobs, their schools, their churches: there is no road of discovery, or driving towards enlightenment and the things of the imagination and salvation (think Lear's road) much like the road in The Road. Beckett believed in the exhaustion and continual diminishing of man--not to belittle man, but to show him that the simpler we get, the more we actually live in a meaningful, if limited and narrow way. For Beckett the more things leave the stage, the more life enters the world of his characters. The Road is not as garish and gory as many reviewers have said. It is the world we are moving towards and already have one foot in it--again think of the Muslim terrorists and the incredible destruction of the twin towers in N.Y. The hurricane sweeps accross the land, the world (see Blood M) and the pretty things of life are vanishing. The Road points the way to God and spiritual things as the only way to deal with life--but there is no real indication that they will succeed in helping people deal with all the horrors and weirdness of life. The killer in NO Country.. is the real and the turn away from him is fading and he will survive to kill and kill again. The world is barren already in its heart and imagination. McCarthy in the Road just makes it clear how desiccated life is today for the future in the Road is really embedded in today's present times. Global warming means nil; it's the madness of Iran's leaders and N. Korea and all the young men ready to die for all the love in the afterlive that characterize a present that was forseen by Eliot and Faulkner--there is no past, no present--it's just life where it all comes together in a howling cyclone of blood and death and a glimmer of hope--ala john grady cole in All the Pretty Horses. There is still hope for thoses who see evil and deal with it. Read M's first four novels and All the pretty horses and then read the road and M's vision of life will move and no doubt overwhelm you.

From night into darkness

by Jean E. Pouliot

Into the gloomy, post-apocalyptic dusk walks an ailing man and his emaciated young son. Wrapped in dirty blankets and scavenging for what little food remains after armies of the desperate and vicious have scraped the countryside clean, they press ever southward, hoping for warmth and safety. "The Road" almost belongs in the zombie genre, humanity having been stripped of its dignity and nobility. The earth itself is bleak and unyielding after having been ravaged by war. Cormac McCarty is at his poetic best as he describes father and son, hurtling from peril to peril along the road, shunning contact with the degraded remnants of a once-great civilization, searching for kinds souls who might not exist. Edge-of-your-seat suspense and a moving tribute to a father's love.(For Paul - traveler and guide, who came to the end of life's road last week.)

life burned down to it's purest essence....

by jeanne-scott

In a world where the potential for nuclear disaster looms, Cormac McCarthy's novel should strike a chord with everyone. His detail of the dust, ash and destruction is overwhelming and vividly bleak. The relationship between a father and his young son is pared down to the bare minimum as they struggle to survive in a post apocalyptic landscape. It is a brutal story of a life where just getting through each day is questionable and mistakes are unforgiving. As the father and son head south looking for sometimes nothing more than mere endurance, they encounter few other survivors, and those they do find are surviving at any cost. The father tells his son that they must survive without becoming inhuman, they must maintain hope, that they possess a light of goodness that must not be tarnished. The father and son find that this is not as clear a "mission" as they would think and sometimes the line is nearly crossed. The son questions the father relentlessly during these times saying, "..but we would never do that, right." The father reassures his son that they would not loose their "light" of humanity.Cormac McCarthy has rendered a clear picture at life burned down to it's purest essence. He clearly illustrates and differentiates the nature of man at his worst, bent on soulless survival and those who hunger for more, who have faith and the courage faith brings to stare evil in the face and know that goodness and hope will eventually supercede the evil.

Gripping & emotional

by J. England "jazzy9230"

Wow-what a deeply emotional book. Few words are spoken between father & son, but the impact of the words, the very tone imparts a solid father-son connection & a determination to survive for one another. I KNOW this element will be lost in the film (it always is), so you really have to experience this book. A lot of other reviewers have commented that it's a fast read, but I find the opposite was true, as I kept stopping to wonder what I would have done in that situation, or stopped to feel gratful for a comfortable pre-apocalyptic life. There was also a lot of obscure vocabulary used by the author, which slowed me down, but it was mostly because this novel really makes you THINK about life, the end of life, and the end of civilization. I gave it 1 star though, because I was really looking & for the explanation that never came--the how & why--who dropped the bomb-them or us? A LOT of sadness, poignancy, and definitely suspense in this novel--not a waste of time at all & I can see why it was chosen for a film. Brilliant.

`Tell us where the world went.'

by Jennifer Cameron-Smith "Expect the Unexpected"

A father and his son, unnamed in the story, walk alone through burned America. The landscape is ravaged: the only movement is ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and the snow that falls is grey.They are heading to the coast, where they hope it will be warmer. They don't have any idea of what will be there, but there is nothing where they are and it is cold. They have almost nothing. A pistol to defend themselves against the ragged, lawless bands roaming the road, the clothes they are wearing and a cart of scavenged food.They do have each other, and the father's loving efforts to care for his son are rendered that much more wrenching by the unavailability of food, of shelter and of safety. There is no companionship, and there is no real hope in this post-apocalyptic world. They scavenge in order to exist. And the absence of names, creates both distance and closeness. Distance because it is easier not to relate to the unidentified, closeness because it is hard to keep the reality of their experiences at bay. The past is becoming increasingly remote and inaccessible. There is a form of existence, and the prospect of death. Perhaps as an escape.`Can you do it? When the time comes?'I read this book in one sitting yesterday. I could not put it down. And the story followed me into sleep. Originally, I wanted to know what caused the apocalypse. By the end, it didn't matter. I needed the reassurance of a bright autumn day to provide some distance. I already know that I need to read this book again. But not yet.'Do you think that your fathers are watching? That they weigh you in their ledgerbook? Against what? There is no book and your fathers are dead in the ground.'Jennifer Cameron-Smith

I do not understand it

by jennifer griffithe

Just finished reading this novel, have no way of knowing if it is good or not, but my reaction: What is the big deal about this book?Oh, well.

Reading with Tequila

by Jennifer Sicurella

I was very excited to read The Road. I had heard such great things. I wanted to love it. I did not get what I wanted. The Road had a great premise, real emotional pull and some very appalling cannibalism scenarios. You really cared about the unnamed characters and what was happening around them. Unfortunately, it was also slow, had no regard for proper punctuation and the ending was without fulfilling resolution. The lack of quotation marks and the inconsistent use of apostrophes in contractions distracted me from being fully submerged in the story. For me, it was just okay.

A Post-Apocalyptic American Odyssey

by Jeremy Storly

Cormac McCarthy knows how to create a mood. In _The Road_, he effectively creates a dark atmosphere of hopelessness and impending despair. In this novel, a man and his boy follow a highway south, trying to escape the coming winter. They need to remain constantly alert for bands of dangerous men, which prey on the weak and unsuspecting.This book is somewhat of a post-apocalyptic _Huckleberry Finn_, the new American Odyssey; but if it is, the river is now devoid of life and undrinkable, the food only that which remains unspoiled in cans, and the antagonists heartless cannibals, even the trees lifeless skeletons of charred ash. McCarthy creates a world that is bleak, gray, and empty of life, in which the greatest blessing its heroes experience is the consumption of years-old fruit cocktail from a tin. He effectively weaves his world of misery not only through textual description, but also by format. Certain pieces of punctuation and chapter numbers are missing, seemingly burned away during the world's last days, never to return. Dialogue is cryptic and hushed. McCarthy could not have done a better job of creating his atmosphere, nor of effecting sympathy for his heroes, by contrast angels in this hostile environment.If the book has a weak point, it is its ending. No spoilers here. Suffice to say, it does not seem to belong. Nor is it ironic. It just seems unreasonable, a misfit ending more appropriate to a Stephen King novel rather than a serious piece of writing.Still, the flaws, if any, are minor, and should not prevent you from picking up this book. It is a great piece of writing, a rewarding read, and I suspect its popularity will be lasting.

This won the Pulitzer for...what?

by Jerry Hart

I'm not going to say this book was awful, but seriously, what was the point? It just feels so unfinished and lazy. I was expecting a surprise ending or something, but nope, nothing. Though I wasn't bored while reading it, I can't say I enjoyed the book all that much. Hopefully the movie will be better.


by J. F. Pa

I have not seen the move but I am sure the book (as they always are) was much better. Great!

McCarthy's power is in his prose

by JfromJersey

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy is a bleak post apocalyptic novel and a good introduction to the author, who is one of the great prose stylists around. I would venture to say that the strength of this novel is it's powerful use of language, but that is the real strength of all McCarthy's work.A father and son, both unnamed, struggle to survive in a nuclear ravaged American landscape, clinging to a glimmering, forlorn hope of reaching the coast and finding a remnant of decent humanity still in existence, while trying to avoid bands of marauding, cannibalistic subhumans on their grim journey.McCarthy does not paint pretty pictures for us, and he preaches things that are commonly preached by writers that have negative views about where mankind is heading..pretty much down the abyss. He does offer some optimism. The optimism which dwells in the basic goodness that can survive the worst evil. The faith in human love as the final consolation.These are not original literary conceptions, but they are forged in a very powerful style, searingly descriptive, yet simple in it's evocation of misery, anger, sadness, and ultimate hope. If THE ROAD is your introduction to Cormac McCarthy, and you like his style, read The BORDER TRILOGY, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, or his masterpiece, BLOOD MERIDIAN, a more complex, graphic, and chilling work, that explodes the romantic myth of the Old West.

Powerful Writing

by Jiang Xueqin

In "The Road," Cormac McCarthy has reduced the world to its bare-bones minimum. The writing is minimalist, and that makes the language beautiful, striking, and powerful. Society and civilization have been reduced to that eternal bond between father and son. There are neither names nor ownership of any sort (even the parantheses have been taken away so that the nameless speakers don't even have ownership over their spoken words). Sometime in the future, global warming has reduced humanity to a cannibalistic mob. The road is all that's in tact from civilization, but the road, while the only hope of a better life, is always where danger always hurts. In this dark unforgiving world, the only thing that's really left -- the love between a father and a son -- is raw and pure, and it's the flame that keeps the two walking south on the road.It's a brilliant novel is so many ways, except for the plot. And the ending is too Hollywood for my taste.

A father's love makes him fight for survival to protect his young son!

by jjceo

In post-apocalyptic America, a father and his young son travel looking for food, safety and a better life. They have learned to live off of the land as best they can as almost all plants and living animals are dead and everything is covered in ash. The boy's mother is dead and after waiting for as long as they can they have to move to find food and to get away from the coming winter as their supplies are gone.The trip is not easy as they must walk and carry every possession they own. They have to avoid thieves, murderers and worse on the journey. Every day is a life threatening ordeal and the father knows he has to train the boy to be tough and to understand the gruesome details of the type of people they meet....Cormac McCarthy, the author, has done a marvelous job in writing this saga and quest for safety. Every detail is described in this beautifully written story and it is a heart pounding tale of desperation. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and it is one of my favorite books.I strongly recommend it!I listened to this book on audio CD and Rupert Degas did a wonderful job as the narrator. It is a spooky and realistic tale about a cataclysmic event and Rupert's style in reading this book matched the storyline.

The future is now...

by JLind555

"The Road" is a work of stunning, savage, heartbreaking beauty. Set in the post-apocalyptic hell of an unending nuclear winter, Cormac McCarthy writes about a nameless man and his young son, wandering through a world gone crazy; bleak, cold, dark, where the snow falls down gray; looking somewhere, anywhere, for life and warmth. Nothing grows in this blasted world; people turn into cannibals to survive. The boy's mother is a suicide, unable to face living in a world where everything's gone gray and dead. The man and his son are "each the other's world entire"; they have only each other, they live for each other, and their intense love for each other will help them survive. At least for a while.But survival in this brave new world is a dicey prospect at best; the boy and the man are subjected to sights no one should ever have to see. Every day is a scavenger hunt for food and shelter and safety from the "bad guys", the marauding gangs who enslave the weak and resort to cannibalism for lack of any other food. We are the good guys, the man assures his son. Yet in their rare encounters with other living human beings, the man resorts to primitive survivalism, refusing help to a lost child and a starving man, living only for himself and his son, who is trying to hold onto whatever humanity he has left.Their journey to the coast is an unending nightmare through the depths of hell and the only thing that holds them together is their love for each other. When one is ready to give up, the other refuses to let him. I won't let you go into the darkness alone, the man reassures his son. But ultimately, as the boy finds out, everyone is on his own, and all you can do is keep on keeping on.The word "masterpiece" has been done to death, but this book is surely McCarthy's; with a style as bleak as the stripped terrain the man and the boy travel through, but each sentence polished as a gem, he takes us into the harsh reality of a dying world. He never says what caused this cataclysm, and it really doesn't matter; the past is gone, dead as the landscape all around them, and the present is the only reality. And deep down the man knows there is nothing better to hope for down the road, even though he keeps them both slogging on toward it, only to keep his son alive. There is no later, McCarthy says. This is later.Living in such a hell, why would anyone want to survive? The mother made her decision; she checked out long ago. But as long as there is love, McCarthy tells us, maybe there is something to live for, and as the book shows us at the end, maybe there is a even little bit of hope.Judy Lind

End Road

by JMack

In terms of the flow of language and gramatical structure, I really do not feel that Cormac McCarthy is a good writer. Though the book progresses clumsily at times, the engagement of the plot overcomes this flaw. With a morbid and disspiriting theme, the reader plots along toward the end, wondering what may happen next. "The Road" and its melancholy themes create an unusual bond of engagement with the reader that can compare strikingly with "The Grapes of Wrath".A boy and his father are progressing in a journey south after surviving an unnamed apocalytic catastrophe. Along their road they see shocking sights, struggle for food and shelter, while the father tries to disguise the fact that he is dying from his son. Alone in a world of villains or "bad guys", the father knows he must prepare his son for life after him. Reading the book while enjoying the luxuries of the modern world, it may even strike some readers as awkward as they read of things that no longer exist. As the story draws to a close, the conclusion of the heartbreaking journey to the South may catch some readers by surprise.The greatest flaw of this book is the style in which it is written. Once a reader gets past this flaw, it is a reasonable expectation to be entertained and even learn from this book. When one puts this book in the prespective of the movie "The Day After", it is difficult to deny the book's authenticity.

Bleak, horrifying, yet strangely detached

by J. Norburn

I am not sure what to think about The Road. The novel is bleak and depressing and strangely detached. A father and son struggle to survive in a post apocalyptic world, trudging across the Country without much hope. Even if they reach their final destination, it's unlikely that they will ever find happiness there.The novel is written from the perspective of the father but the narrative lacks intimacy. Even the father's flashbacks and dreams of the past keep the reader on the outside looking in, little more than horrified spectators. McCarthy seems intent on keeping the reader at arms length. The father, like the wasteland he walks upon, is barren. He has lost his humanity; his capacity to care about other human beings. Even the memories of his past fail to evoke much emotion. He is disconnected. His singular purpose in life is to keep his son alive, but even this seemingly altruistic goal isn't about the love he feels for his son. His efforts to protect the boy are largely selfish. He knows that his son may be better off dead, but can't bear to lose him.The son, on the other hand has retained his humanity. Despite the horrors he has seen, he is willing to trust people. He is concerned about others and is prepared to make sacrifices to help people, even if they would not do the same if their roles were reversed. While the ending to the novel could hardly be described as upbeat, ultimately I think McCarthy is trying to say that in the end, humanity perseveres.Ultimately though, as reading material, I found The Road lacking. Because we experience the novel through the eyes of the father, who is so detached, the reader (at least this reader) never felt invested in the story. McCarthy does this intentionally. His prose is sparce and he never gives us the names of his characters, never permits us to delve deep into their minds, never allows us to feel anything except futile hopelessness and a profound sense of anger and fear. Even the man's love for his son is overshadowed by his fear of losing him.This may be what McCarthy wanted, but it didn't engage me. I can appreciate the literary accomplishment of this novel, but I can't say that I was ever completely drawn into it. I felt like a spectator watching a horrible disaster on the evening news. I felt empathy, but ultimately I didn't feel like I knew the characters enough to be deeply moved.

The Road

by Joanne Harris "Serendipity"

I read this book in almost one sitting, and if only I did not need to sleep I would have read it all at once. This was a spectacular read, with a poetic and unique style that conjured up emotions and goosebumps for me as I read.I loved the dynamic set forth by the author, and unlike some reviews I read that stated there was no story I beg to differ. There was a story that keep me turning the pages, and the relationship the book was about was remarkable and heart warming. I loved this and look forward to seeing how this is adapted to film.

spare and haunting, but not quite perfect

by Joe Sherry

Cormac McCarthy brings us a brutal post apocalyptic story to modern America with The Road. Something happened. McCarthy never says exactly what happened and it does not matter. America, and probably the world, is in ruins. There is no hope, there is only survival. A man and his young son are walking across the new American wasteland heading south and to the coast in hopes that there things will be cleaner and there the weather will be warmer. Maybe in the south there will be a community of people wiling to take them in. Maybe there will be something to hope for. Maybe.McCarthy's stark descriptions and narrative style fits The Road perfectly. The language and the style is as bleak as the landscape these unnamed characters are traveling through. One thing McCarthy is known for is that he doesn't punctuate his dialogue. This aspect of his writing is more like he is telling us a story orally and not through the written word. It is a quirk that works very well in his novels and works especially well in The Road. The dialogue is spare and is perhaps what a father and son would talk about when the world has ended and there is no promise that they will live to complete their journey or even that there is anything to hope for at the end of their journey. Just snips of conversation, unfinished sentences and thoughts. It all fits organically with the description of the story and of the journey.Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Post Apocalyptic novels and are built on foundations of ruined societies and The Road is no different. This is not a pleasant novel in the sense that the reader will necessarily want to spend times in the American Wasteland, but it is a powerful and moving novel about survival and holding on to the last glimmer of hope not for your sake, but for the sake of your child.With all of this said, McCarthy's previous novel No Country for Old Men is a superior piece of fiction in terms of storytelling. The spareness of The Road is part of its power, but it is also part of its weakness. The unnamed father and son pair works in the abstract and works in the sense that it could be any father and son, but on the other hand we learn so little about the father and son that it is difficult to truly care about the characters. There is enough characterization to care, but we care more because of the situation than the character. Through all of the power and perceived power of The Road, there is also an emptiness at its core which is slightly unsatisfying.Cormac McCarthy is an American master and while The Road is far more hit than miss, there are enough misfires here to not give it my strongest possible recommendation. But, The Road is sure worth the time spent reading it.-Joe Sherry

we're the good guys, right?

by John-78

I think "The Road" is a masterpiece! My new "best book ever read". I'm sure I'll return to this amazon forum for years to come to read readers reaction to this great work of fiction. For me, it turned out to be an eerie tale of good and evil. One day I'll try to understand better why I started weeping during the last paragraph. I'll just say that the the boy (the son) will always be a storybook hero of mine. Suspenseful, unique, riveting, 6 stars!

Either or

by John Bowes

Half full or half empty. Enlightening or depressing. despair or hope. Arguments could abound. It depends on what you want to see. Amazing.

An Instant Classic of Dystopian Fiction from Cormac McCarthy

by John Kwok

"The Road" is not just Cormac McCarthy's literary masterpiece, a splendid example of literary fiction that will leave readers engrossed until the very end. It is also one of the great works of dystopian science fiction, and one that will be remembered alongside another contemporary classic, Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", as well as time-honored classics like Ray Bradbury's "Farenheit 451", Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz", and George Orwell's "1984". In sparse, and yet, most lyrical, prose, McCarthy depicts a near future America replete with the rotting corpses, both human and technological, of its prosperous civilization, with the few living survivors reduced to banditry and living off the land for their survival. McCarthy doesn't say what kind of calamity led to this dire state of affairs, though he offers readers tantalizing hints via abandoned cars and trucks fleeing deserted cities, left by their owners on interstate highways, abandoned cellars and storerooms of food, and everywhere, the sight of mummified or burnt corpses. Amidst this bleak landscape a young father and his pre-adolescent son seek sanctuary with unseen "good guys", making a most heroic trek despite almost daily afflictions of hunger, disease and despair. This is no mere odyssey, but an engaging, quite compelling, exploration of a father's love for his son (and vice versa) as they deal constantly with adversity. "The Road" not only affirms McCarthy's reputation as a great story teller, but demonstrates anew that he is also among the great prose stylists of contemporary American literary fiction.

Too dreary and boring to finish

by John Martin

I started to read The Road but only got to about page 20. It is just too dreary and boring. A boy and his father traveling in a wasteland. In the end the father dies. What's to like? I give it two stars because it is not just crap. But it is a real downer of a book.

Lost and Found

by John Van Wagner

Add another voice to the chorus. Despite the accolades, book sales, prizes, and baptism by Oprah that threaten to make "The Road" a cliche of popular success, this is a work of startling intimacy and unrelenting revelation. Chronicling the journey of a father and son through a post-apocalyptic somewhere, Cormac McCarthy raises the bar on the war between evil and good, choosing instead to create an intense psychic crucible between hell and hope.There are no names in "The Road", no places, no touchstone of familiarity to help make sense of the tormented landscape. We never know what cataclysm befell the earth, whether from space, or microorganisms, or our own martial insanity. There is no frame of reference at all, just a grim, twilight landscape and a state of being between a father and son who love each other, and decide to make a world of hope out of that love.McCarthy is merciless in the way he makes readers want for these characters, hope for them, love them. Simple, even banal badinage between parent and child, when experienced against the backdrop of the dead world they navigate, brims with pathos as the author chooses each word to perfection. So many times the boy tells his father, "I'm scared. I'm scared, Father." And each time he utters it, so are we.The duo follow a desultory course somewhere south, toward some ocean, looking for warmth and its corollaries, goodness and life. In the course of their odyssey they encounter heartbreaking reminders of how life had been, farmhouses now ransacked, trains abandoned in the woods along with luggage, gas stations with a few cokes still left in vending machines. But the cannibals who threaten them, the last vestiges of human life, lurk everywhere.The need for sustenance never leaves the father's consciousness, or ours. But the necessity of staying human, even in the face of agonizing hunger, stays constant throughout. "Are we the good guys, father?" "Yes. yes we are." And they are, and we know they are, and thus McCarthy offers us just a crumb of the soul sustenance we crave as readers.Savagery follows each savored moment of goodness between the duo, as the reader continues to cling to desperate and impotent hope. McCarthy asserts cruel authorial mastery, forcing us to confront emotions and truths we spend all our lives evading. The ache for salvation becomes so intense, and the probablility of it so minimal, that an urge to pray breaks out, even for a world that God seems to have a abandoned. We cheer the duo on, through trial after trial, horror after horror, just so we can share with them one fleeting ray of sunlight. And when the book ends, we yearn for the road to continue.

A literary triumph

by Jonathan Hakkeem

I was distracted by the incomplete phrases and run-on sentences...for about two pages. Then I got distracted by the fact that it's an incredible book. The scene-setting is fabulous and the plot is interesting, but the characters are what really make it a remarkable novel. While there is enough science fiction and action in here for fans of those genres, at its heart the book is about the bond between a father and son and how much love can hold life together when the rest of the world seems to be conspiring to take it. One of the best books I have ever read.

A Father's Love in a Shifting Moral Landscape

by Jonathan M. Lourie

While not my favorite Cormac McCarthy book I enjoyed it very much. Rather than simply a nihilistic story I think this book is focused on a father's love and desire to raise his child with good solid moral values when he is challenged to live up to those values in isolation from others who support these values. As the pair journey through a burnt and desolate landscape that clearly looks like the end of the world (you never know what happened), the boy constantly seeks reassurance that he and his father are the good guys. The father does not live up to the pure and innocent principles this term and often does not live up to this standard in our civilized sense. But against a background of killing, cannibalism, and desperation, we are sympathetic to the father's plight as he strives to keep alive and raise his son in an impossible situation. The father puts his love for his son and his son's survival ahead of all other things. The son represents more than just a son but also the future of humanity (if there is one). The fact we know nothing about how or why the world is ending only forces us to focus on the relationship of the father and the son. The lack of complex dialogue emphasizes that in a world where survival is unlikely, there is no time for lofty thoughts. Like so many Cormac McCarthy books, the ending settles nothing but it is powerful. There is more "tenderness" in this book than usual for Cormac McCarthy. I enjoyed the book, it reads fast and is accessible to readers new to this author.

Drearier and Drearier

by Jon Gerloff

I keep reading Cormac McCarthy hoping that I'll like at least one of his books. Although they're written superbly, there's something about his style that keeps me at bay. The Road is really dreary. I'm not sure I was even entertained by it, just depressed. But again it is written wonderfully and it'll probably make a good movie.

When Each Step You Take Is Worse Than The One Before

by Jon Linden

In this book, McCarthy captures a post-apocalyptic world that is so unimaginable as to put the reader into disbelief. Yet, truly the depiction is probably fairly accurate with respect to what the world would look like after a global thermo-nuclear war. Conceptually, there are very few people still alive. Perhaps a couple hundred thousand in the United States of America, and everything else is dead, including all animals, plants, trees, even bacteria. There is just nothing that survives the blast of a nuclear bomb if it is within range.However, that is not 100% true. There are always a few things that are resistant and lucky enough to find a place to be where they are not charred to cinders by the initial blast and are not close enough to an actual blast site to die from radiation poisoning within a few days. So, some things live on, including some people.The true beauty of McCarthy's book is his depiction of what such a life would look like and he does it so well, that he won the Pulitzer Prize for the depiction. The book takes the form of a Father and his 9 year old son trying to make their way across America on foot and hoping that when they get to the Pacific coast things will be better than they are as they go along. The illustrations of the sights encountered by the pair are gruesome and yet very poignant and well described. Everything is destroyed in whole or in part, and the job of the pair is to stay alive by foraging for canned goods while evading the few marauding, cannibalistic killer/robber gangs that they encounter on their way across the country.With a significant amount of symbolism and with questions about the existence of God and who is a "Good Guy" and who is a "Bad Guy" McCarthy gives a brilliant depiction of the world as it would exist after such a terrible, unimaginable disaster. The book is an almost imperative read in these days of nuclear proliferation and its potential consequences. It is highly recommended to all readers above the age of 16. Below that age, the depictions may be too intense for readers and generate questions and dreams that they should not be bothered with at such a young age. Nonetheless, the book should be read by all Americans and any country that has or is developing nuclear arsenals so they can just get a flavor of what the end result would be if they were to use these tools.

Apocalypse Soon

by Jordan M. Poss

Cormac McCarthy's latest novel is unlike anything he has yet written, and yet it shares many of the themes found in all of his work so far--loyalty, determination, love through hardship, and the unreachable connections between family. It's not his best novel, but it's very, very good and, in its own surprising way, very moving.What I found interesting was that, given to any other writer, this would probably have become a science-fiction adventure. The same ground has been trod before (Stephen King's The Stand comes to mind) but never has the post-apocalyptic world gotten such beautiful, moving treatment as McCarthy gives it. His narration is as spare and bare-bones as the world itself, and the science--and the apocalypse itself--remains in the background, incidental to the father-and-son story.McCarthy genuinely cares about his characters and what happens to them. The father and son--both of whom remain unnamed--are living, breathing people with feelings and pains that anyone can identify with. Were it not for the breathtakingly bleak landscape they live on, this could be any father and son on a trip together. Instead, they live with the consequences of other people and have to fight any number of hazards to survive. The father is by turns harsh and tender, the son curious and irritating, but the bond between the two is so moving that I found myself nearly in tears several times.As with much of McCarthy' work, the ending will make or break this book for you. I loved the book and was moved by the ending, but did not feel entirely satisfied with it. This was probably McCarthy's intention, as his world is so hopeless and bleak, but whether or not you'll enjoy it as much as I did is something you'll have to find out for yourself.Highly recommended.

a tale of the world gone gray

by Joseph Bernstein

This novel is a dark story of a post-Apocalyptic journey across a part of the United States,never identified,after an undefined disaster of global proportion.It concerns a man and his young son trying to survive to reach the sea in a world devoid of growing plants or animal life and with very few people,among whom are feral bands of cannibals.The unrelieved bleakness and depravity are in stark contrast to the relationship between father and son.Their love for each other tests their limits repeatedly,every bit as much as the hostile physical setting.The book is a no-put downer and leaves the reader stunned by half glimpsed horrors-nothing supernatural needed here.McCarthy writes serious tough stories that are literate and very effective.This is no exception.

A brilliant and gutsy piece of work.

by Joseph E Botts

THE ROAD is a difficult book to review. It is definitely not for the squeamish. The story is brutal and horrific and exposes the baser emotions of man, while addressing the more noble and tender virtues of fatherhood. That in itself, would be a challenge for any writer, and McCarthy is certainly up to the task.The book is written to make you think, not to just take you for a joyride, and it does that very well. This book is not light-hearted entertainment, it is an experience that will never be forgotten.

Very Dark!

by Joseph Guillaume

Dark is a perfect word to describe this book. While the writing wasn't necessarily bad, the plot was. Actually there is very little plot, I kept hope out till the last page that there would be a surprise ending. What was good though was the dialogue between the young boy (about 6yrs old) and his Father. The author nailed just how a child of that age would react in catastrophic circumstances. I believe most readers time could be better spent.

Bleak, Beautiful, Desolate, Powerful

by Joseph Pellerin

Wow. Not much of a review, I know - but it sums it up. Wow.Here, McCarthy gives us a lyrical meditation on love in the face of absolute hopelessness - and it is heartbreaking. Instantly intimate, every bleak, perfect word of this book carries the reader along, almost challenging them to feel nothing. Of course, it is impossible not to feel something, and what I felt was a bone-deep ache, and an abiding sadness.On its surface, The Road is an apocalyptic story, pitting a man and his son against all that remains after an unspoken cataclysm. Mostly this consists of hunger, hopelessness, the pitiless elements and the nonmoral scraps of what remains of mankind. Looming like a vulture over the story is a pistol they carry, with only two bullets, and the stark fact that these are not intended for hunting or protection, but to end themselves in case cannibals come upon them. Trudging through a strangled, silent world the man and his boy continue on, seemingly, to simply continue on. As an end-of-the-world tale, The Road is hard to match when considered from any angle.McCarthy, though, is clearly not just wasting ink on depressing us with a nasty story. He chooses an archetypal structure when he places a father and young son as his protagonists. It is a character combination that comes with deep emotional impact right out of the box, requiring almost no character building to engage our hearts in the story. He wants us to feel our way through the experience, and feel we do - every moment of silent trudging echoes in our minds, every snap of a twig underfoot when hiding from cannibals jolts us like electricity, every gesture of kindness by the man to his son fractures our hearts anew. The emotion that McCarthy submerges us in is smothering, suffocating.At the end of the book, however, the point of the story is not where it ends in its (very basic) plot. Instead, like all roads, the importance is in the walking of it - the journey being its own meaning. McCarthy gives us a final receipt, a reckoning of mankind in all its various shades - hopeless, hopeful, vicious, resigned, destructive, noble, loving, broken. I would like to think of mankind as the abiding love between the father and his son in the face of absolute hopelessness. I would like to think what that kind of nobility and steadfastness and stubborn grip on tattered hope says about us as denizens of this place and time. McCarthy, however, reminds us at the end, that none of that will matter if we let what we have slip through our fingers into meaningless silence, immemorial.

A memorable work, but one that you likely won't "enjoy" in the traditional sense

by Joseph P. Menta, Jr.

Without ever becoming self-consciously dreamlike, Cormac McCarthy's fine post-apocalyptic novel "The Road", nevertheless effectively delivers a virtually unrelenting nightmare, as it tells the story of a beaten-down father and son making their way over a burned-out, blighted landscape in a probably vain attempt to improve their grim lot.The book will probably reach you on one or more levels: as a survivalist tale; a post-disaster science fiction story (a kind of literary, more serious "Mad Max"), or simply as a drama about a family and how a huge outside force affects its internal politics. At various points, the book engaged me on each of these levels. Also, if you want to look for it, I suspect there's a lot of metaphor and religious imagery in "The Road", too, though I pretty much focused on the book's primary (to me, anyway) facet: that of being a plain but strong story, simply told.And for those of you who hate preachiness in their novels, don't worry: there's no obvious, clunky message, either from the left or right political spectrum, concerning how the Earth of the book got into its grim predicament, or what could have prevented it. The book is more subtle than that, and the characters have more immediate concerns to worry about than how things got the way they did.However, though I was fascinated and engaged by the novel from beginning to end, it's nearly unbroken stretch of grim, grey scenes, the frequent discoveries of an increasingly horrible nature by the two main characters, and just seeing the Earth so ruined by an unnamed global disaster, made me glad that "The Road" wasn't a terribly long book. I'm glad I got in and out of it fairly quickly.A movie adaptation of "The Road" now exists, too, and many fine, talented individuals took part in its creation. But I think I'll take a little break before experiencing this memorably grim, sad story a second time.

A review by Dr. Joseph Suglia

by Joseph Suglia "The Greatest Author in the World"

A Critical Introduction to THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthyby Joseph Suglia, Ph.D."When I first began writing I felt that writing should go on I still do feel that it should go on but when I first began writing I was completely possessed by the necessity that writing should go on and if writing should go on what had colons and semi-colons to do with it..."---Gertrude Stein, LECTURES IN AMERICACormac McCarthy's BLOOD MERIDIAN is something of an undergraduate exercise. It is a Faulknerian pastiche and, above all, hedonistic. Hedonism, as far as I'm concerned, is an enemy of art.We follow a nameless father and son as they wander through a post-American void, a "blastosphere," to use J.G. Ballard's term. (Blastosphere = Not the blastula, but the "implicit shape of the way matter is perturbed by an explosion" (Will Self)). They scavenge for food and tools. They encounter those who seemingly show their seamiest impulses and who behave in an unseemly manner.And yet I suspect that this is less a novel about a post-apocalyptic future than it is one about our atheological present. It is a theological allegory about a world from which god is manifestly absent. Eine gottesverlassene und gottesvergessene Welt.We find grounds for this supposition in those passages in which the grey waste is described as "godless" [4] and "coldly secular" [274] and wastes of human flesh are named "creedless" [28]."On this road there are no godspoke men" [32].What might have been a pedestrian trifle in the hands of a lesser writer has become a rich and compelling novel with author McCarthy. The most distinctive feature of THE ROAD is not the story that is told, but the manner in which McCarthy tells it: that is to say, the narrative. He writes so magically that a grey empty world is summoned forth vividly before our eyes.It needs to be said and emphasized that McCarthy has almost completely superseded standard English punctuation in the writing of this novel. He strategically, willfully omits periods, commas, semicolons, and apostrophes throughout the work in order to equivocate, in order to multiply meanings, in order to enlarge the literary possibilities of language.Of course, one could seize upon the conscious, literal meaning of the words. But does language not slip away from us? Are its meanings not dependent on the interpretive framework of the listener, of the reader? And is it not conceivable that the linguistic elisions reflect the consciousness of the central character?Proper punctuation would disambiguate and thus flatten the sentences -- sentences that are, liberated from such restrictions, both benign and lethal. We have before us a rhetorically complex novel, a work of literature that is rife with ambiguity.And the non-punctuation makes us feel. If the "sentences" were punctuated in the traditional manner, we, as readers, would feel nothing. We would not feel, viscerally and viciously, the nightmarish world into which father and son have precipitated. We would not be infused with the chill of post-civilization.The absence of standard punctuation in The Road is a fruitful, productive absence. It is a writerly, stylistic choice.I hope I have persuaded my readers that McCarthy's idiosyncratic use of punctuation is stylized. It most certainly is not unnecessary. One of the lessons that we can derive from the novels of McCarthy is how to apply typography in literary craftsmanship. If we adhere slavishly to the conventions of punctuation, our writing will resemble our speech. Our writing will no longer be writing in the strictest sense of the word. Let me invent my own ambiguously commaless sentence for the purposes of elucidation. If I write, "I want to eat my parrot William," this would seem to signify that I want to eat a parrot named William, a parrot that belongs to me. However, what happens if the comma is explicitly absent? Three contradictory interpretations are then possible: 1.) The narrator may be expressing the desire to eat a parrot that belongs to him or her, a parrot named William; 2.) The narrator, apparently, wants to eat a parrot that belongs to him or her and is addressing this remark to someone named William ("I want to eat my parrot, William"); 3.) The narrator may be expressing the desire to eat in general, and this comment is directed at his or her parrot, the name of which is William ("I want to eat, my parrot William"). Punctuation, depending on how it is used, can restrict or expand meaning. Commas articulate, determine meaning. The absence of a comma, on the other hand, opens up semantic possibilities inherent to language. Its absence opens the doors of language.As I suggested above, McCarthy's refusal to punctuate in the conventional manner is also intimately connected to the internal struggles of the main character and, perhaps, the psychology of the author. The narrator eschews commas because he fears the past. I suspect that, similarly, McCarthy's aversion to punctuation bespeaks a futile desire to escape history (a desire that he shares with Joyce, Artaud, and innumerable other writers) -- a charmingly fragile and recognizably human desire."[E]ver is no time at all" [28].The ephemerality of the instant. Hence, the relative commalessness of McCarthy's statements. A comma would pause an enunciation, rupture its continuity, the incessant flow of language, the drift of language into the future. What, after all, is a comma if not the graphic equivalent of a turn in breath, of an exhalation or an inhalation? Commas do not merely articulate a sentence. Commas stall, they defer, they postpone, they interrupt without stopping. A speaking that speaks ceaselessly, without commas, in order to awaken from the nightmare of history. McCarthy's language moves forward endlessly, without giving readers a chance to catch their breath. This is a writing that is unidirectional and decidedly equivocal.The thrusting momentum of McCarthy's language fertilizes my suspicion that THE ROAD is also a book about time. More precisely, a book about time's three impossibilities: the impossibility of ridding oneself of the past, the impossibility of eternalizing the present, and the impossibility of encompassing the future.The future is essentially unpredictable for the son, and the reader has no idea, at the novel's close, what will become of him. Will the son survive? Will he be bred for cannibal meat? An infinitude of possibilities... And here we come to yet another strange intimacy between McCarthy's singular style of punctuating and not punctuating and one of the leitmotifs of his extraordinary novel: The eerily open-ended "conclusion" of THE ROAD is no conclusion at all, a conclusion without a period. And the novel lives on inside of the reader's head and heart, growing within like a vicious monster fungus.Postscript: Re-reading the novel in 2013, I am less inclined to recommend it. With THE ROAD, Cormac McCarthy has given us a sappy religious allegory. Nabokov wrote of Faulkner's LIGHT IN AUGUST:"The book's pseudo-religious rhythm I simply cannot stand - a phoney gloom which also spoils Mauriac's work."I would say of McCarthy's THE ROAD:The book's pseudo-religious rhythm I simply cannot stand - a phoney gloom which does NOT pervade Faulkner's work.Dr. Joseph Suglia

Deep, Dark, and Stirring

by Joshua Lake

The Road is set in post-apocalyptic America, but one of the book's strengths is that McCarthy never wastes effort describing the apocalypse itself. Instead, this book focuses on a man and his son, and their attempt to stay alive.My favorite part of this book was the father-son relationship, in all its gritty beauty. The father attempts to shield his son from the worst horrors of a devastated landscape. The son clings to youthful optimism but trembles in fear as he watches his father's health fail. Their interactions and their love drive this story.McCarthy's vocabulary astounds me in its breadth and its beauty. The Road is squarely in the prose camp, but its lyrical style blurs the lines between fiction and poetry. Dozens of sentences stopped me in my tracks, forcing me to reread multiple times just to enjoy how well McCarthy writes. Like this one:"The blackness he woke to on those nights was sightless and impenetrable. A blackness to hurt your ears with listening. Often he had to get up. No sound but the wind in the bare and blackened trees. He rose and stood tottering in that cold autistic dark with his arms outheld for balance while the vestibular calculations in his skull cranked out their reckonings." (15)This story is far darker even than that excerpt. The father's despair sucks hope from the reader, and the hopelessness weighs heavy on the entire narrative. That darkness is simultaneously McCarthy's genius and one reason I can't give this book a five-star rating.Forgive me for a review that's more about me than the book, but I don't enjoy books as much when they lack a strong story arc, when they lack resolution of some sort. I loved the emotion and the relationship in this book, and McCarthy's writing is unique but powerful. But I wanted more resolution. I don't mean that I wanted a happy ending; I just wanted an ending that tied things up better. For a book with so much overwhelming emotion, I expected more at the end.I greatly enjoyed The Road, and I will likely find more of McCarthy's work in the future. While his writing style took twenty or thirty pages to get used to, after that it flowed quickly and pulled me along. This was a powerful story with many images that will stick with me.

A cautionary tale

by Joyce

The Road takes place in a tragic future time. It is about "the man" and his son, "the boy," who are on "the road" across what was once the U.S. and which has become a wasteland of few people, most of whom have become marauding cannibals in order to survive. The book is not only a prophetic story of where our present behavior might lead; it is also a model of how to best survive (even now), how to keep our humanity, and how to protect the coming generation. That is: be alert, make use of everything, do no harm except in self-defense, help only when you can, do not lose heart in the ambiguity of sorting out when to act for your own survival and when to risk for others' sake, keep alive the willingness to continue living when it would be easy to give up, trust that there are other human beings who have kept their humanity and with whom you can make community. The man made sure the boy survived. The boy made sure they kept their heart.

Best book read in years.........

by J. Probst "Jserialkiller"

It's been about 12 years since i've read a book in one sitting. This book moved me close to tears something no novel has accomplished since "Siddartha" which i read in my teens. Also has a father i was truly able to connect with "the man", a main character in the book. If anything in this world gives us purpose it's our children.

Absoultely riveting and impossible to put down

by J. Resnick

An amazing story told by a master storyteller. I loved Mr. McCarthy's style not to use quotations and just write a straight forward tale of life after a devastating nuclear holocaust. The prose was clear, crisp and right to the point. I finished the story two nights ago and still think about some of the scenes and what the unnamed father and his son went through simply to survive. I wished they could have stayed in that bunker for the entire story!!!!!!!! Highly recommended.

A Light But Compelling and Entertaining Read

by J. Robinson

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode island and grew up in Tennessee, but now lives in Tesuque, New Mexico. He is viewed by many as one of the more unusual and most talented of the current American writers. For example, Harold Bloom has written a number of things positive things about McCarthy. I selected this book after reading Pretty Horses and a few of his other works covering the years 1968 (Outer Dark) to 2005 (No Country). I was interested in the present novel, his most recent novel.This is McCarthy's tenth novel published in 2006. It is about a man and his son who migrate from their home to the ocean after some sort of cataclysmic disaster that has engulfed the whole planet killing most plants and wildlife. It is about the details of the trip with narrative descriptions of the desolate landscapes, descriptions of fellow travelers who they meet, and the story of their trip and the emotions that they feel.McCarthy has developed his trademark prose where he writes long rambling sentences to describe the natural setting and between these passages he uses mixed narrative and dialogue. McCarthy uses what is called polysyndeton, or the use of several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted. It is a stylistic scheme used to slow down the tempo and to describe natural settings, such as mountains, rivers, etc.That complicated literary style is in the present novel, and it works effectively. Readers new to McCarthy might wonder about the long sentences as they first begin to read, but after a while the reader grows to accept and appreciate the style.This is not dark novel about crime and murder as was his last novel, No Country for Old Men, set in Texas. There are some positive elements and sympathetic displays of emotion. Also, this is a faster and smoother novel than some of McCarthy's earlier works - but it is written in the same style as some earlier works. I was able to read the novel in just three or four hours: it is a light and entertaining read.The present read is very compelling and the book is hard to put down. It is among his best works and I highly recommend the book.

Heir of William Faulkner

by Judah

What is it you want out of a good novel? If it's obscure words and unusual punctuation canvassing a thin post-apocalypse plot with imagery that is supposedly profound but ends up very thin if you think about it, then this is your book. You'll enjoy the works of Faulkner, congrats. You like complex books that ultimately say nothing in a depressing, post-modern world filled with death and despair. Go re-read the Biblical story of Job in glee after clicking the 'not helpful' button for this review.If instead, you are like me, and desire a decent plot with a clear beginning, middle, and an end with resolution, then you'll hate this novel. TryEarth AbidesorA Canticle for Leibowitzif you want halfway decent literary post apocalypses. TryThe Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet)if you actually want to be entertained and in suspense while reading your meaningful post apoc-story.To sum my feelings, I really hated this novel because hope and faith were only demonstrated in the deepest, most hellish setting the author could construct. Focusing on that little light of contrast simply shows how expansive the darkness is. The obscure words were interesting distractions from the poor story. I prefer finding hope and faith inside my own life, and allowing them to guide me against dark and dismal futures. Following "The Road" [of life] through this fictional cesspit would be a waste of time for potential readers who expect a story instead of a metaphor.

"...they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through ash, each the other's world entire."

by Julee Rudolf "book snob"

Sums up the basics of this bleak but superb story of a nameless man and his son as they traverse an ashy barren land after a catastrophic disaster. The actions of both and thoughts of the elder shed light on the power of love, longing and loss. Amidst fear and famine, the two trudge along, enduring in a world where "By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp." Cart and knapsacks meagerly laden, man and boy cautiously attempt to avoid encounters with others like (and especially unlike) them. They are the "good guys" and are "carrying the fire." Much of the past is implied or alluded to versus flat out stated. Unusual but welcome: McCarthy breaks the rules of grammar and punctuation regularly, with his combinedwords and leftout apostrophes and quotes. Not your average Oprah Book Club pick, The Road is a clinic on how to write, and how to tell an amazing story without telling all. Other good reads: On the Beach by Nevil Shute, and Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.


by Julia Flyte

This is an amazing book. It really hits you in the gut. It's an easy book to read in a physical sense (I read it in one sitting), but so hard to read in another - it's harrowing. Cormac McCarthy's writing is so precise, there is nothing excessive about it. It's almost poetic and stunning to read.The story is simple. It is set in the future, a few years after a terrible event has destroyed the earth (the obvious implication is a nuclear holocaust but I've read other possibilities in other reviews). The few people that are left in the US must scavenge whatever food they can find in the charred and barren landscape. Many have resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.A father and son whose names we never learn are travelling south, to the sea. They are constantly in danger. They are freezing and starving. The father is focused on protecting his son and getting them to the sea where he hopes things will be better. His son is more interested in other people who they encounter. Things happen to them on the journey, but it's not a plot-driven novel. The ending is hopeful - but only within the context of a very hopeless world (and sufficiently ambiguous that you still can't sleep easily).It's a relentlessly bleak read and I felt emotionally spent when I finished it. But I also felt like I had read something incredible and powerful that will stay with me for a long time. It's a wonderful, wonderful piece of writing. Not an easy book, and one that I would hesitate to recommend for that reason. But a great book. A very great book.

Broody and brilliant

by Julie A. Smith "Julie @ Knitting and Sundries"

This is going to be a mini-review of an extraordinarily good, minimalist book. We have Papa and the boy. The boy is his Papa's son. The world is destroyed, and we never really find out why. They are journeying towards the coast in hope of finding warmth. Along the way, they come across a few bands of 'bad guys', as well as some other solitary survivors (both good and bad). The little boy was born into a world without a past, to a mother who eventually stopped fighting. There is the despair of the father, who tried to keep his wife from giving up. He knows he is ill, and he sees his son, his only reason to keep on going, becoming more downhearted and less child-like by the day. This is not an action-packed novel, but as you read, you can feel the sense of growing despair, a despair born of walking through days of twilight and nights so black you may as well be blind through a world where, years after the event, trees continue to fall and burn, nothing grows, and some have resorted to trapping and eating other humans for sustenance.This is not a book for the faint-of-heart or for those who want a happy-go-lucky tale. There's no real happiness in these pages (although there are flashes of humanity and light), only a deep, dark trudge that you feel in your bones, and an ending with a spark of hope.QUOTESThis is my child, he said. I wash a dead man's brains out of his hair. That is my job. Then he wrapped him in the blanket and carried him to the fire.The boy lay with his head in the man's lap. After a while he said: They're going to kill those people, arent they?Yes.Why do they have to do that?I dont know.Are they going to eat them?I dont know.They're going to eat them, arent they?Yes.And we couldnt help them because then they'd eat us too.Yes.And that's why we couldnt help them.Yes.Okay.When we're all gone at last then there'll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. He'll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to. He'll say: Where did everybody go? And that's how it will be. What's wrong with that?

Pulitzer worthy

by Julie Merilatt "julzddm"

This book was entirely enchanting and disturbing at the same time. McCarthy's simple narrative stirred up some pretty deep emotions. He never reveals the full story, but we are left with our own sense of wonder at what our own imaginations can conjure. I could not put the book down, even though the foreboding atmosphere was powerfully overwhelming, even suffocating, at times. Altogether worthy of the Pulitzer for its stark picture of human nature and survival.

Easily Among the Best Modern Books

by Justin

I had never read any Cormac McCarthy before (what with the World's Most Pretentious Title, "All The Pretty Horses" under his belt, I never even considered it) but I highly recommend *every*body picks up a copy of "The Road" as fast as possible. I heard a good review, thought the premise sounded like it had an interesting twist to the norm, and took a chance. It was absolutely amazing. I read dozens of books a year and I haven't been this blown away by a modern author in God knows how long. Probably since Alex Garland's 'The Beach' first came out (tho after about 4-5 readings over the years, I'm not as impressed by it as I once was, 'The Tesseract' is probably superior).You must take a leap of faith on this one. The writing is beautiful. The premise is cliched post-nuke/meteor/he doesn't say but his way of taking it is both morbid and frightening and poignant and beautiful all at once. The understated love between the father and son who are the books protaginists is complicated, fierce, desperate, lonely and thriving. They don't know where they're going but "heading south to the coast" and they don't know what they'll find there. They push a shopping cart down a melted, corpse-ridden road as their chosen path. I can't think of enough good things to say about this book or do it justice. And I don't want to spoil it. I'm certainly buying this for quite a few people as a gift in the future, and I'll be rereading it very soon, more then a couple times, I've no doubt.McCarthy is a great storyteller and this is among my top 10 favorite works of fiction.

A man of few words, but extraordinary imagination

by K. A. Maguire

Although the author is not elaborate in his character development, by the end, I was in tears. Do you realize how hard that is to do? There are a couple of scenes in the book that haunt me. This book is not for all... but I really enjoyed it.


by Karen D. Lee

Not sure how to even describe this one. Its great, blew my mind. At the end I closed the book and said to myself "Wow."

Haunting fiction

by Karie Hoskins "karieh"

This book was SO sad!!! I was very touched by the story of a man and the child he must protect and keep alive...even though he is unsure whether the life the child will face is worth living.The man's primal desire to stay alive is so strong - again despite the fact that dying seems far preferable. The loneliness, fear, starvation, sickness and abject horrors of the world as it remains...we feel these along with the man. We wonder, as he does, "Why?" Not why did this happen - McCarthy barely alludes to the disaster that virtually destroyed the Earth - but why is he going on? Why is he compelled to continue down the road...the road to nowhere? There is no end to this road, no happy ending, no salvation, no respite...except in death.And there, of course, was the crux of the novel for me. Is it braver to live in the face of unrelenting misery and pain or is it braver to die and hope for a surcease to the hell that the world has become? And yet - he has no choice because he must protect the child. The child that represents far more than the best of what was - he begins to evolve into the possibility of what this new world may become. The boy becomes increasingly aware that this world is not one of the man - but of the boy and what he holds within him.One of the most telling quotes: "He'd carved the boy a flute from a piece of roadside cane and he took it from his coat and gave it to him. The boy took it wordlessly. After a while he fell back and after a while the man could hear him playing. A formless music for the age to come. Or perhaps the last music on earth called up from out of the ashes of its ruin. The man turned and looked back at him. He was lost in concentration. The man thought he seemed some sad and solitary changeling child announcing the arrival of a traveling spectacle in shire and village who does not know that behind him the players have all been carried off by wolves."The man seems to see only the fight to stay alive. The boy sees past that to the fight to stay human.I did not envy either his journey.

Hope and compassion is what separates man from beast

by - Kasia S.

This book has been one of the most memorable and touching experiences I have ever had while escaping into the world of literature. The Road is an apocalyptic story like I have never read before, so stark and real I felt shivers upon opening the book. I was hungry for more words but at the same time I felt heaviness and sadness for the fate of the man and his son. We never learn their names or ages, we don't know where they are and what they like to do nor who they really are. All the personal differences that make use unique are blurred by hunger, coldness, malevolent people slinking around, eating babies and using others for a food source with no care for anything but their own momentary well being. The father and son are traveling through post nuclear explosion America, following a road with nothing but rags on their back and a shopping cart with some blankets and whatever dirty rotting food they can find along the way.I cried through out the story, for the father and for the son. I never felt so bad for having a warm home and a hot meal before I opened this book, actually feeling extremely fortunate for the blessings I can rely on daily to avoid their fate. After finishing the last page I knew why this book was so well spoken of, why this book is talked about by everyone. McCarthy and his use of words were nothing short of wondrous and amazing in this tale. The simplest descriptions of nature and webs and flows of life and its source, so poised and dramatically enhanced, flew off the pages and seared themselves in my brain. I cannot shake this book off days after reading it, the covers flashes through my mind here and there, the words resonate like a bronze bell chiming out the tale full of sorrow, pain and most of all a tiny shred of hope.The characters all shared some fine strands of hope, the father feeling as if he was living on borrowed time, each day felt like hell on Earth, so what could have possibly been worse? Death always seemed like a savior in disguise, but there was one thing that prevented him form using that last bullet in the revolver; his son. The father was ruthless towards others, but he was nothing but a warm well of love for his son, he was the protector and the backbone of the starved skinny boy, whom I grew to admire and adore thought the tale.Other than the story of a man and his son following the road hoping to find the coast, the words were so beautiful that my brain could barely process them. I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone who loves to lose themselves in a story, but I would definitely recommend reading it with a box of tissues, especially when one is a softie for sorrow such as me. Reading about them rummaging though abandoned homes looking for any specks of food and avoiding confrontations with those who turned to cannibalism was very hard, but it made for a take that literally blew me away. I promise that this tale will haunt the reader for a long time, which is a rich reward that one gets upon sampling one of Cormac McCarthy's books.- Kasia S.

Can't get this book out of my head!

by Katawampas

This is one of those rare books that I can't get out of my head. I read it months ago & still think about it. It's disturbing, thought provoking, frightening & beautifully written. I could not put this book down & spent the afternoon in my favorite chair until I finished. Then, I was in a fog thinking about these people. I'm not sure I want to see the movie version - hard to believe a movie will live up to the prose.

The Feel Good Book of the Year!

by Kate

Oh man what a depressing read. The story is basically two people (a boy and his father) trying to survive after some unnamed catastrophe hits the Earth. Food is scarce, there are gangs of people who get by on cannibalism, and the boys father is obviously suffering from some illness due to the ash in the air. These are all the challenges they're trying to overcome as they slowly make their way South to where they think they'll be more likely to survive.This was the most depressing book I've read in years. I just finished it, and honestly it made me feel awful about myself. I can't even go to sleep now. I'm going to need a Prozac prescription after finishing it. Upon finishing it, I said to myself "God, what an awful twisted book", but then I recalled somewhere in the last few pages where the author writes through the words of the father "not all stories have to be happy". I think he was writing about his own here. This is true. Not every book has to have a positive factor in it. McCarthy set out to write a book that would make you feel awful, I think, and he succeeded in a big way here, so I gave the book five stars because it met my expectations in every way and then went a bit beyond too.Also, a lot of people criticized his liberal use of grammar and vocabulary. So what? Good authors do this all the time. Shakespeare was known for exactly the same thing even. I didn't mind it at all. I think the book moved at a good steady pace. It was a really fast read. A quick reader could easily polish this off in a few hours. I'm not a quick reader and I finished it in less than a day. So the writing style certainly isn't cumbersome or confusing in anyway as some would suggest.

Interesting Read, But the storytelling with its loose plots lacks style.

by Kathy Dawson

There have been many reviews on this book, but I'll add my brief thoughts as to what my impression is of this literary work.The novel takes you on a trip with a man and his son, traveling along a very barren road that goes nowhere in a world that has disappeared. They are starving, tired, but also determined to follow that road no matter what may happen to them. Their desire is to find a better environment. Any reasonable existing of life form would be better than what surrounds them at this time in their journey.There wasn't much beauty in their barren Holocaustic world that is laden with tons of ash and grim dust. The author tried to weave some beauty in this world, but I didn't get any warm and fuzzy feelings from the author's attempt that there was any beauty in their world . What could be beautiful when there is nothing left in the world except you and your son, and some small colonies of other humans that have survived? Very depressing.I was surprised to find that this author's style of writing was so cumbersome with the constant use of choppy sentences and poor punctuation, lack of quotes etc., that it makes for an even more disappointing read.I'm glad my friend gave me the book to read. It was interesting, I wouldn't recommend it to my friends. There are number of well known authors and lesser known authors that can provide a reader with an educational, exciting and well-written novel, but this gloom and doom book with its one-dimensional characters, loose plots and erratic themes is not one them.

Hate it! Hate it! Hate it!

by Katya "No. 1 Eric Ambler fan"

This is THE worst book I have ever read -- and I've read many many thousands. Not only is it unbelievably depressing and repetitive, it uses only about 7 words for the unending dialogue between starving, freezing, sickly father and son."I'm cold, Poppa.""It's okay.""I'm scared. Poppa.""It's okay.""Will we be okay, Poppa?""Yas."That's the dialogue. If you don't believe me, go ahead and read it. It's the perfect book for masochists. Or people who believe the hooey about it being poetry (if you think using "cozzled" as an adjective is worth the plodding agony of the book, it's "okay." I don't.)SPOILER BELOW!So how does all this gray bleak misery end? The boy finds out that once he loses his taciturn dad, it's still okay. The new guy has the same 7-word vocabulary! As a touching footnote, we learn that fish in the river used to be fat and shiny, but not now. That's it!


by kebmo

very depressing. Although this was a quick read, I was glad it was over. When it wasn't depressing it was distrubing. I wouldn't recomend this one.

Repetitive, depressing; nothing we haven't learned from other post-apocalyptic reads

by K. Eckert "Devourer of all books fantasy"

I had heard a ton about this book so when I saw it for sale on Audible.com for $4.95 I decided to download it and give it a listen. It is an okay book. The contrast between poignant landscape descriptions and the sparse dialogue is interesting. The ambiguity of the story adds to the mystery of it all. I didn't think there was much here that I hadn't read before though. Much of the story gets repetitive...especially where dialogue is concerned.A boy and his father travel the Road South to escape the cold brought on my some horrible post-apocalyptic disaster. They struggle to survive and occasionally stumble upon the "bad people" who are basically cannibalistic cults.The audiobook itself was very well done. The narrator did an excellent job distinguishing between voices of the characters and his inflection matched the mood of the story perfectly. I think I enjoyed this more as an audiobook than I would have reading it since McCarthy doesn't do a good job distinguishing between who's talking in the writing but the narrator did an excellent job with that.There is a lot of ambiguity in this book. Some horrible disaster happened; it involved lots of fire and has ruined the air quality, it destroyed civilization as it was known reducing humanity to lone survivors and cannibalistic cults. You can only assume that the disaster was volcanic in nature because of the ever present ash, the occasional earthquakes, and the continuing growing coldness. I suppose it could have also been nuclear in nature or something like that. This is never defined well. I guess the point is the world has ended and all humans can do is survive.The two main characters are a man and his son. Again lots of ambiguity here. We never learn either of their names or the boy's age. I was very curious about the age of the boy, he both seemed very young and very aged at different points in the book. McCarthy is careful not to give away the boy's age, not sure what purpose this had, maybe to make him more relatable across a wider age group.Basically the whole story is the man and boy wandering South trying to find food and stay warm. It gets pretty repetitive. I stopped counting the number of time the boy said "I'm really scared" because pretty much that is the only emotion we get from the boy for the majority of the book. I also stopped counting the number of times the man said "It's really cold". I understand that fear, hunger, and cold were major driving forces in this book I just wish that more variations of language had been used to describe these themes.That being said the language is stark and there is a lot of repetition; despite that there are moments of wonderful description where McCarthy paints an absolutely wonderful picture with the phrases he uses. These moments are all the more distinct because of the starkness surrounding them.The relationship between the boy and the man is worth discussing briefly as well. They obviously love each other, but the man is a man of little imagination and few words. He loses his temper fairly easily and expects the boy to act more grown up at times. It is hard to judge how out of line the man's expectations are since we never learn the age of the boy. The boy acted much more mature than I would have expected any child to act in this situation; he has an innocence about him and a stoicness that is impressive, still he is more idealistic than the man. It was an interesting contrast in characters.I would recommend this book for young adult and older because of some of the graphic violence. There is a lot of cannabalism in this book. One of the worst scenes involves a newborn baby being fried on a spit over a flame. There are also humans that are captured and held as food sources. The boy and the man skirt these evil communes, but manage to mostly stay clear of them.Overall this was an okay read. It is kind of repetitive and there is a lot of ambiguity in the story that I didn't enjoy. It is a depressing read but makes an interesting statement about human nature in the face of apocalypse. I really don't think there is much here that you haven't read in other post-apocalytpic novels; this book deals with many of the same issues (food, weather, air quality) that you've seen in other books about apocalypse via volcano. The relationship between the boy and his father is somewhat interesting but pretty stark and it makes both of these characters somewhat hard to relate to. For those interested in post-apocalyptic reads I would recommend The Angels are the Reapers, Ashfall, Ashes, Blood Red Road, and Life as We Knew It over this book.

Post-Nuclear Picaresque

by Ken C.

"The Road" offers a stylistic change for McCarthy. Here he is much more stark, simple, and straightforward -- some might say too much so -- compared to earlier works. I do not count myself among the objectors, however; I think the style not only matches but enhances the subject matter, which is the no-longer United States of America, post-nuclear bomb(s).That's right -- gone is any semblance of humanity, unity, or patriotism, because all that's left now is the basic dance of life or death, from sea to frying sea. McCarthy's narrative follows a father and a son on a road trip through Hell as they seek the mythical, self-cleansing sea for some unspecified succor.Along the way they meet semblances of what once were "humans" and danger is only as far as the next door you slowly push open at a seemingly-abandoned farm house along the road. It's Sartre's "No Exit" all over again, and even if you were clever enough to stock your basement with boxes of bottled water and canned goods, you probably didn't count on the neighbors raiding not only for food but possibly for you.Any prospective reader of these reviews will know by now that this is not for the faint of heart and that you need to be able to swallow your existentialism well-done. Still, when you come out the other end, your eyes will be better adjusted for the dark and you'll be richer for the journey.Yes, it sounds overly simplistic when the protagonists keep seeking "the good guys," but by the halfway point in this narrative, YOU'LL be craving the simple pleasures of meeting one yourself. Point to Mr. McCarthy.As for the ending, it at first tempted me to award 4 stars instead of 5, but then I changed my mind. What other endings were available to him? When you reach it, I hope you'll agree. Dystopia has its own rewards. You will, too, if you take the plunge...

a look at the human will to survive

by Kendall Giles

I started reading this book soon after I picked it up at local independent bookstore while waiting for some cousins to arrive for dinner at a local restaurant, and I really had a hard time putting it down.Cormac McCarthy has a real skill at describing nature, especially desolate nature. And so this book, which is set in the US after some horrible armageddon, an apocalypse, is full of rich, but bleak, details on what life and nature might be like if some horrible catastrophe wipes out the entire country.I won't spoil the ending, but the main of the book is about a father and son who struggle to survive and travel along the roads towards some possible salvation or sanctuary after some horrible attack or accident occurs. Man has turned cannibal after the accident since almost all life has been killed, and so every single step is a struggle, every single step is one step closer to possible death, through violence or starvation.This is not a chirpy, happy-go-lucky book. But if you want a serious look at the human will to survive, then this is exactly what you need.

Apocalype then

by Kenman "Book Hawk"

This is a stark, dark but honest look at a post-apocalyptic world. A man and his son are on a mission to walk through the devastation left as a result of an un-named disaster and reach the coast-line of the southern (former) USA. Along the way, the boy becomes a man, because he has to. The novel is full of opportunities to speculate as to what caused the end of life as we know it and to be introspective about how you would handle the same situation. I would love to as McCarthy some questions about the book.

carry the fire with you..it's inside of you...

by Kerry O. Burns

a father and a son travel a road leading to who knows what or where...hopefully..people..good people..people who won't eat you or kill you..this is a land where the apocalypse has come..it snows ash..it rains ash..the sun and moon are blotted out by ash..devastation everywhere..bodies everywhere..food is the currency of the world..where it can be found..nobody knows..abandoned houses..unfound shelters..cans here or there..the rivers and streams are dead..the ocean smells of iodine..characters from a Mad Max movie wander the land..killing and stealing..a father and son travel the road..a stark, desolate land..how can a book so dark be so good..it's in the writing..where the love of a father for his son and what he passes on to him..leaves hope..leaves the fire burning inside..by far the best book I've read this year..by far the best book Cormac McCarthy has written..and he's written some masterpieces..I just finished this book and I know it will stay with me for a long time..I feel sad, hopeful..blessed

Prisoner's Dilemma Personified

by Kevin Joseph

The novel's main characters, a man and his young boy, remain nameless throughout. The cause of the apocalypse, whether a massive meteor strike or chain reaction of nuclear detonations, remains purposefully vague. And like the barren ash-ridden landscape over which the few survivors forage, the prose remains fittingly bare, stripped of all unnecessary conventions such as apostrophes and quotation marks.Yet I found myself mesmerized by this rough sketch of a novel, caring more about the survival of this nameless father-son duo than I have for any characters in recent memory. Perhaps it's because I have two young boys of my own and couldn't help but imagine how we might fare in similar, hopeless circumstances. Or maybe it's because this shell of a story exposes universal truths about humankind, including how quickly the thin veil of civilization can be replaced by utter anarchy in which unimaginable inhumanity is the rule of the day and the force of law is replaced by survival of the fittest. In a nutshell, Mccarthy has taken The Prisoner's Dilemma and elevated it to the nth power.This story's impact was so intense that I had to set the book aside half-way through and start reading another novel in order to establish a buffer, completing my journey on "The Road" only after I had established some distance between me and the horrors depicted. While an uncomfortable read throughout, the lessons that this novel conveys, most notably that the future of our species hinges on our ability to trust our neighbors and treat them as we would ourselves, are lessons that would benefit everyone on this planet.Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"

Shaken to the Core

by kidsncatsndogs

I wouldn't presume to think that my few words would add much to the 524 reviews already here, but I do want to make one comment. I read The Road in one sitting, and now can't imagine reading it any other way. The story enveloped my mind with both its bleak vision and its poetry, as the process of reading paralleled the journey down the road. When I finished, I surfaced into life and sunlight, but still bear the experience heavily on my shoulders hours later. I believe that reading The Road over the course of several days would have been an entirely different, far less compelling, experience, and urge anyone considering the book to wait until it's possible to set aside a few uninterrupted hours in a comfortable chair.


by Kim Boykin

"The Road" is the story of a man and his son struggling to survive in the incinerated and desolate remains of North America. And it's the story of a fragile spark of hope and willingness to live within the bleak disaster of human existence. The prose is spare and beautiful, and the story is quietly compelling.Even my all-time favorites of science fiction mostly seem like four-star books to me, and I've wondered if I need to adjust my scale, but I'm glad I've saved an extra star for books like this one.Some four-star post-apocalyptic novels: "Earth Abides," "Alas, Babylon," "The City, Not Long After," and "The Stand."

They walked, and they walked, and they walked

by Kindle Customer

They were cold, they were freezing, they walked the road in the rain, they walked the road in the snow, they walked the road in the slush, they walked the road, they walked the road. Does this sound tedious? So was the book. I guess I am one if the illiterate who don't appreciate what an incredible book this is. It is incredible alright, incredibly bad! They walk, they camp. Repeatedly on the verge of starvation they find enough food and supplies to continue to walk. I could go on and on as this short book also goes on and on and on. Others have already discussed the lack of coherent sentences, punctuation, senseless words, and the trite ending.I am annoyed with myself that I wasted $8 on this book. I have read several MCarthy's books, the last being "Blood Meridian" where they were cold, wet, freezing while they rode in the rain, they rode in the snow, they rode in the slush, they rode, they rode........Only 300+ pages of senseless violence to brake up the tedium while they rode. This is the last book of his I will bother reading.

an amazing book

by K. Josic

McCarthy was recommended to me by many people over the years,but I somehow never got around to reading any of his novels until now. "The Road"was certainly a good place to start. The narrative is sparse, it is notclear what happened to the world, or indeed where the Man and the Boyare heading. What they hoping to achieve, beyond surviving to the nextday? Yet, the world that McCarthy creates seems real. It is perhaps exactlybecause he stripped it bare, and the only thing he left was the thing thatmatters most - the bond that we have between one another.This is the first book I read by McCarthy, but I will definitely read more.

A Series of Boring, Depressing Events

by kjsem78

There were just too many unrealistic things in this book for me to overlook.First, why are the man and his son marching south now, some ten years after the apocalypse occured? Also, why are they doing it in the dead of winter? Wouldn't waiting until spring make more sense instead of freezing to death?Next, how exactly are there still people around for the cannibals to eat? Wouldn't these people have died off years ago if they themselves had nothing to eat?Furthermore, what kind of survialist is this man? If you find shelter and it's freezing outside, YOU STAY IN THE SHELTER until the elements won't kill you. The man was always saying that it was too dangerous to stay anywhere but was being out on the open road less dangerous? It would also be beneficial to have a reasonable plan. Making a torturous walk to the coast without having any inkling whether it's going to be better there or not is just asinine, especially considering that the man wanted nothing to do with anybody else anyway. So what was his goal?Still more. Instead of taking a shot in the dark and heading toward the coast wouldn't you go to the site of the nearest big city? I assume that they were making this trek in order to find the "good" people (even though, as I mentioned, the man wanted nothing to do with anybody but the boy) so wouldn't that be the best place to find such people instead of aimlessly meandering through the woods?I understand that the novel is supposed to be about a man's love for his son but that doesn't mean reason can just fly out the window. This, combined with an utter lack of proper grammar and good dialogue, made this book quite forgettable. I will concede that some of the language was beautiful, but that's the only compliment I can give it.

Sad and Compelling Movie

by K. M. Filkins-Sanders "geroprof"

I loved this movie and the book. Cormac McCarthy immediately makes us love the characters and we suddenly don't care why the world is ending, but root for the living

What the heck happened?

by K. Morris

All through this book I kept wondering, what the heck happened? And we are never told!Virtually all life is dead. Plants, animals, people. All apparently burned up because there's ash everywhere.For this father and son, they wander along the road, trying to survive finding food none of the other survivors ever found before, and staying away from them. Was it some natural phenomena? Was it nuclear war? Why then no worry about radiation? Plus everything wouldn't have burned in up in a nuke war. Furthermore, ash would have eventually been washed away by rain into the oceans and lakes, yet they constantly deal with ash. Certainly it rained a lot on them in this novel.I freaking love post-apocalyptic fiction, yet this book was a real let down. Most of it was just repetitive drudgery. Wander, find food, shelter, stay away from other survivors, repeat over and over again.

Brilliant and moving

by K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Specul...

There's no originality in saying there's a lyric power to this story. Its dark beauty is entirely born of its chilling evocation of an apocalyptic landscape, in which humanity is reduced to a doomed scrabble for daily survival. So in some ways, it's a difficult book to read. It's one you read with a knot in your chest and put aside almost gratefully. But it's so much more than a depressing glance into a possible future. McCarthy's sparse prose is trimmed down to bare bones, in a reflection of the story land itself. It almost reads like a short story, so focused is it and so vivid its single effect. Brilliant and moving storytelling, no question about it.

Unspeakably sad

by Kona

In the not-too-distant future, the earth has been laid waste...by nuclear war or natural disaster...does the cause matter? There are only two colors to be seen - black of night and gray from the falling ash that mixes with snow and rain in the wind and freezing cold. There are no living plants, nothing to eat except for canned food that hasn't yet been looted. When the cans are gone, there will be no more food. The Man and the Boy are trudging along the Road going south...it might be better there, the Man thinks...or maybe not...but they keep on going. Every night they leave the Road to hide among the dead trees until morning...hide from people who would kill them for their filthy rags...hide to live another day.Such is the desolate world of unremitting misery that Cormac McCarthy paints in this remarkable novel. He has given the characters neither names or descriptions, for they matter not at all in this new world. Even the written pages are bleak; paragraphs are not indented, quotation marks are not used, and few contractions have apostrophes. The writing is stark and simple, achingly sad, and unforgettable. I was repulsed by the story, yet could not put it down, even though it made me feel so very cold; I had to see what would happen next. It took quite a long time to read the last ten pages because I cried so much and had to stop every few lines to dry my eyes.The author writes, "There were few nights lying in the dark that he did not envy the dead." I wonder what I would do if I were on that Road; I guess that is the point of the book - to wonder. This is a story of a father's love that survives when nothing else is left. It was very difficult to read; I will never forget it.

I can't stop thinking about it

by konekodesho

I finished this book a few days ago but it keeps coming back to me. Some books you finish and your memory of them seems to start seeping away almost as soon as you close it and put it back on the shelf. But not this one.When I came onto Amazon and read some of the negative reviews, I was surprised. I can't imagine reading this and not being moved by the love between the man and his son. Yes, the characterization is sparse and the dialogue is repetitive and bare-bones. But I think that's the point, no? Your character would go gray and ashen along with everything else in a world like that. And the boy was born days after the catastrophe, whatever it was. This is the only world he's ever known. He's never played with other kids his age, or read books, or watched TV, or anything like that. So I think it makes sense that his verbal expression is so limited. And really, what CAN you talk about when every day brings such relentless and punishing horror?Some people questioned how the boy could be so compassionate towards the others, and the man so hardened and unkind to them. I thought that made sense as well. The man's only purpose in living each day is to protect his son. That outweighs everything else. So yes, he is "one of the good guys" as he likes to say, but he doesn't have the emotional surplus to care about anything other than his son. The son, though, has only ever known this blasted, wretched world and I think he's just trying to convince himself that there can be some good in it. That there has to be. So he's desperate so show compassion towards others, to create some of that goodness himself.Anyway, I was devastated and moved by this novel. I love post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels, and this was one of the most memorable of the genre that I've read.

Decent read, but nothing overly special

by Kristine Cook "affirmationchick"

I haven't struggled this much to rate a book in a while. I didn't dislike it, so I settled on three because the one thing I really liked about this book above a lot of other post-apocalyptic works is the realism. The desperate lack of food that leads to cannibalism, with hardly any humans around and those who are mostly ready to kill, is ultimately what would become of the world in this situation.I was really drawn into McCarthy's novel at first. Even though I abhor books with no chapters that make hardly any use of punctuation (what is so offending about quote marks?), somehow he was getting me to look past those features. The numerous breaks in the text probably spurred this feeling because it made the story move so fast. Before the halfway point, the sparse details worked because it made me feel like this had been their way of life for so long now that there was no need to make any further observations.Then I started questioning whether I should be liking what I was reading and where it was heading. I'm okay with minimalist style, but this went beyond that into sloppy writing and a poor ending (can you even term that a conclusion?). There were passages/sentences I didn't understand. There were many passages that repeated exactly what had happened 20 pages previously. There were passages that seemed like they were trying to convey emotion that left me feeling totally indifferent. It also became unbelievable after a while just how "lucky" the pair was.SPOILERThere is hardly even so much as a hint as to why the world has been plunged into this gray nightmare. I don't need the details, but some information as to why the sky is ashy and where they have come from would have helped give it much more depth. I get that they were heading south because it was getting too cold, and I can even accept that perhaps they hit Mexico (after all, with no sun, everywhere would be colder). What doesn't make sense is that the book presents the father and son as if they have been living this for quite some time. How did they end up that far north following last winter? Did they tough the winters before now out? I get the feeling McCarthy himself probably couldn't answer that.END SPOILERIn the end, I don't view this as a brilliant work of literature. It was a decent post-apocalyptic book that fans of the genre should check out, but I wouldn't recommend it to non-fans. Even On the Beach by Nevil Shute managed to make me feel more emotionally invested in the story.

Depth Expressed through Brevity

by K. Scott Proctor

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" covers topics of great depth, including the nature of a father's relationship with his son, in austere brevity. As in McCarthy's book,No Country for Old Men (Vintage International), the author utilizes a staccato and direct prose to address and probe issues of great scale and scope.The dark and foreboding background of this story is always hovering around the storyline in a manner that is rarely duplicated across literature. The simplicity with which the story arc evolves, combined with this ever-present background, make for a framework around which topics such as a father-son relationship stand out in interesting relief.I highly recommend this book.

Depressing... but a good read

by Lady Maxwell

I remember reading McCarthy's "Blood Medirian" in college and I hated it with a passion. I hated it because it was so bloody and so violent that it made my stomach churn and it became really difficult for me to finish reading it. After that book, I avoided all his books. But when everyone started talking about the "The Road" because it won the Pulitzer and was chosen by Oprah's book club, I decided to give his writing another chance."The Road" although nowhere near as violent or gory as "Blood Meridian", was a tab bit more depressing for me to read, yet I enjoyed it. I'm not the biggest fan of the post apocalyptic world, so I don't usually like reading stories like this, but I thought McCarthy did a really good job transporting the reader into his story and into this world.Although I don't think this book is for everyone, I do think it's worth reading just purely for his writing style. There is still no one who can capture the human spirit and thoughts quite like McCarthy.


by Lauren Magnussen

The grammar and wording of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a metaphor showing the slow decay of humanity through the breakdown of speech and the written word. There are a lot of things McCarthy throws at the reader, some of it painfully obvious, some of it challenging. The former are the religious overtures, which by the end of the novel become tiresome; the interjections of the author feel contrived. The latter are the numerous symbols McCarthy uses to convey the ideas of destruction, tenderness, and sacrifice. The novel is a bleak one: repetition drives the narrative (there are only a few ways to say 'gray' and 'cold'), and not much happens, but it moves surprisingly quickly and the horrifying images will stay with the reader for a long time. The ending is hopeful yet didactic in an unsatisfying way. Darkness is faced head-on, and the author artfully and sparely creates a character study that examines human survival in the face of total ruin.

a complex tale of horror and hope

by lazza

'The Road' is such an impressive novel on many fronts. The author takes a well worn subject, life in America after a nuclear holocaust, and invigorates it with such passion. Yes, there is plenty of death, gore and carnage. But the author does not dwell on these aspects. Most surprising of all, there is hope and love to be found amongst the ruins.I suppose what I enjoyed most about 'The Road' was the author's sensitive portrayal of the two main characters: a man and his young son. I was amazed at how complex father-son interactions were captured and put into words. The despair of the man and the bewilderment of his son were very heartbreaking.Bottom line: a totally believable nightmare with a humanistic twist. Highly recommended.

Dismal portrait of father-and-son duo in post-apocalyptic world

by L. Bravim

The Road follows a father and son in a post-apocalypse U.S.A. They slowly make their way South to avoid freezing to death in winter. Hunger, disease, robbery and murder are constant threats along the way. But the biggest risk is despair, which is what killed the boy's mother. Cormac McCarthy gracefully shows how easily we humans can became savages. With a prose reminiscent of Hemingway's Old Man and The Sea and a plot not terrible dissimilar to Hatchet, there isn't much to lose in a small, 250 page story.As a reader I desperately want a prequel (or decent prologue) on what happened to the earth to make it this way. But The Road is a story that takes place in the middle of a journey, both its beginning and end remain enigmatic throughout. A father's ultimate bond to his son is more important to the theme than any atrocity mankind committed to deliver this hellish fate in "The Road." McCarthy's sparse use of punctuation serves to further shorten the work and deliver a mood more sullen than any fiction in years.

300 Miles of Bad Road

by Leland "Pattern Watcher"

The description on the back cover gives the mechanics of the content of the book and does it as well as a summary photograph could do. But justice to the story won't be delivered until one finds themselves between the book's covers -- on the road with the man and boy in the abject nothingness of their miserable world.I bought this book for two reasons. First, I am curious to read Pulitzer Prize winning novels. I am an author myself and Pulitzer is a strong incentive. Secondly, I had read another of Cormac McCarthy's books, No Country For Old Men. I was impressed by the style and verve I found there.As I was well into the book I asked myself who in their right mind, other than another author tracing Pulitzer interest, would read this book? I knew that McCarthy wasn't big on happy endings. But I couldn't put it down. Gripping is not the word. Harry-chested, as author Jim Crace describes it. Near obsession, I came to think, was my reaction to it. And then I understood.As I became immersed in this book -- as it seeped into my being -- I became aware of stark contrast, as aware of the unmitigated blessings of my own life as of the unmitigated misery of the man and the boy in their hopeless struggle for life -- to carry the fire, as the man said.Never again will I ignore the beauty.A blue sky. Verdant color of living grass. Lush leaves of growing trees. Sparkle of sunlight on silvery water. Wheel and turn of large soaring birds. Twitter and flutter, sweet love songs of smaller birds. Ozone mist in the distance of blue mountain horizon. Puffy white clouds. Clean air to breathe. Sweet drinking water. Warm bedding and clothes. Shelter from cold and wet. More than enough to eat.And people. Happy people. Happy people who care.Reading this book is painful. I understand that childbirth has that characteristic. So, do I recommend this book? A resounding yes! The result is worth the agony.




What Russell T. Stodghill said...

by Librum "6nomad9"

...albeit pretty harshly. But then, The Road was a bit of a slog. Not to mention emotionally manipulative. And, hither and yon, cliched. Oh, and purple-prosey. Had The Road been a far shorter book or had it busted a bit more at the narrative seams, it might have been a great book. Prose excesses aside, CM is capable of some very fine writing. Many a memorable line graces the pages of this novel. One does come to feel after awhile, however, that the story in this novel serves simply as a backdrop for these occasional pearls -- pearls which, it must be said, are often totally inscrutable. The Road is a kind of poetic riff on post-apocalyptic storytelling. Though the story it tells is vanishingly small, it is, as far as it goes, rather beautifully told. By the end of The Road, my interest in CM's take on the end of days had long since flagged, but I don't regret the few days I spent with him on The Road. There is much writerly craft to be admired in this novel. Just don't expect to be wowed by it.


by Lisa C. Sundstrom

The absolute worst book I've ever read. I finished it in hopes that it would improve, which it did not! This is the first book I've ever thrown in the trash!

Moving, unforgettable, searing.

by Lois Lain

Some have called this tale of a post-apocalypse world hopeless -- but I completely disagree. I think the story of a man and his son traveling through a burned-out, desolate landscape in the hopes of a better tomorrow the very defnition of hope.The love between the two is simple and pure, nothing more or less than the love between parent and child. The writing is stripped to the very core -- not even punctuation clutters the sparseness. But it is rich all the same. And unforgettable.I will carry this book with me in my heart for a long time.

McCarthy is this generations' Hemingway

by Loretto Leary "Celticwoman"

The Road by Cormac McCarthy"The nights were blinding cold and casket black and the long reach of the morning had a terrible silence to it." Casket black, such is the simple language of McCarthy, yet the bleakness of the night is vivid and hauntingly real to me.In my mind McCarthy is this generations' Hemingway. His sparsity of language in no way inhibits the reader from envisioning the bleak apocalyptic world depicted in The Road.In no way did I find the description of the ash covered landscape repetitive or boring, on the contrary, I kept thinking how could the author continue to describe such a colorless landscape in such varied detail.This is a story of hope. Hope that though man has reached the very bottom of humanity, there are still a few who can bring humanity back to humans.I could not put this book down. The story made me think how all the things we have are just things, and that what really matters in life is our connections, emotional and physical, to others, this is what makes us hopeful.A great book.

An amazing piece of literature

by Lorna Freestone "Scottie lass"

Once I started this book I could not put it down and it has been in my thoughts since I finished it. It is so beautifully written in a poetic style and works on so many different levels. The father and son seem to me to be pilgrims as in John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress and the fact that they have no names makes the story all the more powerful. I thought this was a truly remarkable book.


by L. Quido "quidrock"

At the end of the world as we know it, comes despair. You don't have to know how life in this world as we know it came to an end. It isn't necessary to McCarthy's story. Instead you are haunted by what little is left to cleave to. Desperate to keep himself and the boy he travels the road with alive, McCarthy's main character sees this new world in all its frightening, shattered sadness. McCarthy, a master of his craft of writing, will affect you in the most profound of ways, in describing that apocalyptic result of mankind's follies.And yet, in his relationship between man and boy, McCarthy sets a stark contrast to the sadness of the landscape. Their devotion to each other, their resilience and resourcefulness, their ability to let optimism shine through when literally, "all hope is gone" is uplifting and redeeming. In one of his brilliant writing mechanisms, McCarthy forsakes the use of quotation marks for dialogue between the characters. In this act, their words blend slowly into the sad land around them.There are thousands of lyrically written passages in the book, but none deal with the sadness more than those that describe the passage of time in a world now destroyed....."The days sloughed past uncounted and uncalendared. Along the interstate in the distance long lines of charred and rusting cars. The raw rims of the wheels sitting in a stiff gray sludge of melted rubber, in blackened rings of wire..."Disturbing, stark, "un-putdownable", Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is the most powerful novel of 2006.

Disturbing, all-too-timely, but a bit precious

by Ludix

I listened to the unabridged audiobook, a fine performance by Tom Stechschulte.THE ROAD is a bleak and harrowing vision of post-apocalypse America. Unlike the epic treatment of the subject in books like ALAS, BABYLON and EARTH ABIDES, THE ROAD is intimate, focused on the adventures and relationships of a man and his son as they wander a cold, ashen landscape, fighting for survival.McCarthy is a master of concise word-painting. His descriptions of settings and actions are as lean as his starving protagonists. But when he shifts into Poetry with a capital P mode, the sense of you-are-there realism is spoiled. Characters spout profundities, the landscape turns from grey to purple, and you're yanked out of an unthinkable future into the pages of an Important New Work By A Major Author.McCarthy's nightmare is only a few bad decisions away. If this book helps remind a few influential people of this terrible fact, its occasional lapses can be easily forgiven.

There's beauty in it (*slight spoilers*)

by LufiaX7

*Slight Spoilers*Cormac's writing style (well, in this book; this being the only book of his I've read as of now) has a sort of choppy rhythm, unnerving and haunting. But don't let that deter you, because at times it can become downright poetic and beautiful. I guess I'm a bit bias as I liked the choppiness of it, the breaks in perspective (he'll go to first person point of view from third, but oddly enough not as often as I would've liked); it all works perfectly within the narrative of this book.The Road to me seems as if it has no real beginning and no real end. Instead, it's as if you're only viewing the middle of a much larger whole. It can be desolate and offers very little in the way of hope, yes, but I appreciated the honesty of it. It's just the cold, hard reality; this is how it is and though it may not get better for them, there's something almost close to hope (something encouraging, despite their fate?) in the love the father has for his son. You know there's nothing better for them, despite the empty promises of such from the father, and you know the father's fate practically before picking up the book, but still The Road is a wonderful read into the darker part of life.This book's not for everyone, but, really, what book is? The Road can be hard to stomach at times because of its stark reality. But I think it's worth the bleakness, if only because it illustrates wonderfully--and even at times pretty eloquently--the force of humanity and the willingness to survive despite the fact that everything is quite literally lost.I look forward to reading more from this author.

Life in a Devastated World

by Lynn B. Schornick "Eclectic Explorer"

As a reader, I enjoy being drawn into a story. What McCarthy has done is pulled us into the very darkest recesses of his tail. A father and son's ongoing struggle to survive in a devastated world is chilling.

Nihilistic poetry

by Marcus Sakey "Bestselling Novelist"

For my money, McCarthy is one of the finest writers working today. His prose is black magic -- look up from one of his novels and chances are your world will feel like the fictional one.It's perhaps unsurprising that a writer whose tone is often described as "apocalyptic" finally got around to writing a novel about the end of the world. The story follows a father and son as they trek through the scorched ruins of America, walking ever southward in hopes of finding warmer weather and some measure of safety near the coast. It's a bleak and brilliant journey that is near impossible to put down.


by Margaux Paschke

This story was an amazing tale that provokes many discussions after reading. It is a slim volume that could be easily read in one sitting but the material forced me to take breaks. I did have a problem with the ending; I thought it was a little too convenient given the circumstances.It is a gut retching tale of a doctor and his young son (9ish?) as they fight for survival in the new world of constant ash and no real sunlight. Something happened (it is never explained exactly what except for the impression that it was caused by man) that caused the environment to change as the sun is now blocked by thick grey clouds. Life has drastically changed in a matter of years. There is no constant food source left except for the unthinkable. Scavenging desecrated buildings is how the father teachers his son to survive. Others have chosen a more feral way of life. These two pilgrims are constantly facing life or death and their choices are dwindling along with their health and hope. This book made me think of the choices I would have made as a parent.Know that the story is depressing and harsh but hope never dies. The material is so depressing that I cannot fathom how this will translate into a movie that would sell, but I cannot wait to see it. I will now read everything I can get my hands on by this author.

What The Good Guys Do

by Mark Eremite "This Is A Display Model Only"

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is a sere and haunting book about a man and his son attempting to survive on a bleak, post-apocalyptic Earth. What caused the world's destruction is left intentionally vague, but the destruction itself is conveyed with heart-rending clarity. This is an Earth of greys and blacks, of ash and rain, a planet that has succumbed to fire and now -- it seems -- is succumbing to ice.McCarthy's prose seems to have been exposed to similar elements. Paragraphs are brief and scorching, punctuation seems to have been burnt from the page, sentences sometimes appear as fragments of shattered thought. The narrative has the same silent, arid quality as the planet which it describes. I have never read a book that so exquisitely (and frighteningly) depicts the calm chaos of a world undone. McCarthy's unsettling landscape is made even more so by the sureness of the sparse and quiet writing.This writing moves patiently but quickly. You could finish this book in one night, but close it feeling ages older. It is a troubling read, a frightening plunge into a place you may not want to go. This is a planet where melted windows sparkle like the tears of buildings, where whole forests stand as great ash copses, where starving cannibals roam looking for whatever food they can find.While reading, this reviewer was reminded of Thoreau's famous quote: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." This book is missing the mass of men, but that quiet desperation is on every single page. This is especially true for the man and his son. Indeed, if it weren't for the steady love they share, this may very well have been one of the most depressing books I've ever read. Instead, though, this simple but insistent relationship provides a small glimmer of nourishing light; to Thoreau's desperation, McCarthy adds a sliver of faith (or at least hope). "We are carrying the fire," the man says to the boy. And what a fire it is, made ever brighter for the seemingly illimitable darkness that surrounds it.Touching and terrifying in equal measure, this brilliant (truly brilliant) story offers up the naked truth of mankind's greatest virtues and most unsettling fears. It paints those things with a harsh, incriminating luminosity that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. At one point, the boy encounters a stranger in The Road. As they stand there amidst the desolation, the grim world fading around them, the boy says, "Are you one of the good guys?"You'll swear his words are aimed at you.

Its the end of the world. Again.

by Mark Nadja "Literary Outlaw, author *Hardcore...

At some point, it seems as if every author who deals with dark subject matter has the urge to write an "end of the world" story. Maybe the only crime left that can still trump the horrors of real-life is the murder of all humanity. In any event, *The Road* is Cormac McCarthy's version of the Last Days.We've visited this terrain before--the ashen rain, the empty cities, the scorched and desolate land. Here, too, are the shambling dredges of what's left of humanity--the rapists, murderers, and cannibals that the majority of us will inevitably be reduced to when backed against the wall of annihilation...the Hobbesian nightmare of the unending war of all against all. As such, *The Road* is rather standard fare albeit written in the hypnotically spare, eerily poetic style that is McCarthy's own. In this version of what's become an archetypal morality tale of our nuclear age, a man and his young son travel `the road' of the title. Theirs is a grim struggle for survival as they head south just ahead of what seems to be a nuclear winter. What's in the south? They don't know...hope. Hope that it may be better than it is where theyre at. After all, it couldn't be worse. Could it? Maybe they will find a few `good guys,' fellow carriers of `the fire.'On the way, they will encounter the armed marauders, maddened survivalists, and the aforementioned murderers, rapists, and cannibals. They will encounter starvation, sickness, and exposure to the poisoned elements. They will encounter their own demons and the temptation to give up.None of the above makes *The Road* a particular original, or even interesting read. What does, however, is the realization that you can read McCarthy's story as more than the story of the end of the world. You can read it as an allegory about the end of a life, each man's life, for with each man's death the whole world dies with him. Each of us faces a personal apocalypse. Death, in other words.McCarthy is 73 years old as of the writing of *The Road* and you can hear the soul-searching of a man looking down the last miles of his life and wondering...why? Why live? What's it all for? "Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave," McCarthy sums up the dilemma. "There is no God and we are his prophets." Elsewhere, he pares down a human life with an almost Beckettian precision: "The world shrinking down about a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he would have thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever."Who can not hear in this an old man's lament? A man who sees his powers fading, his world fading. With one fades the other. This is the dying of the light. The Great Forgetting. The Cosmic Alzheimers.We are each of us traveling *The Road,* going on hope alone, surviving against stiff odds...for the time being. Why do we do it? To carry the fire, McCarthy says. Because that's what the good guys do.*The Road* isnt a book about a nightmare that could happen, it's a book about a nightmare that happens in each of our lives--and all the more frightening...and inspiring...for that.

Dark and Brilliant

by Mark Stevens

This is dark beyond description and also a bright white light of stark reality, told beautifully. So much has already been written about this but I loved how "less is more" really carried the day -- and so much was left to the reader's imagination about what triggered the apocalypse, about the background of the boy and his father, about the bad guys...and on and on. Different, challenging, and yet easy to read. McCarthy has a way of setting a vision for a book and maintaining a wonderfully consistent tone and style that has few competitors. Read it.

a strange but compelling read

by Mark W. Watkins

This is a haunting and dark book that some people will not enjoy, and I can't say I blame them. This is not a fast paced page turner, but, rather, something to be savored. I enjoyed it, but sometimes am still not sure why. It clearly took tallent to put pen to paper with this book, and I think that just appreciated that talent as I moved my way throught it. For the right person, it will be highly enjoyed, for the wrong person, it will be a disappointment.

It kept me awake for a long time

by Martin Streetman

Wow this was one of the best books I have read in a long long time. Haunting is about the best word I can think of to describe it.

Thought provoking but not memorable

by Mary Reinert

I was almost afraid to read this book for as a child in the 50's living with the Cold War's threat of nuclear disaster, I had nightmares which were not far removed from the scenes that McCarthy creates. However, rather than bringing back these memories, this book left me strangely unaffected. I never could quite relate to the father and son; I just didn't know enough about them. They were so lifeless that I could not share the fear they were feeling and some of the dialogue, such as "You're kind of weirded out, aren't you," just doesn't seem to fit in a world where everyone is way beyond just "weird."The horrors portrayed in this book are chilling, but not any more so than the terrors that have occurred throughout history and that have been depicted in other novels: the slave ships coming to America, the Holocaust, the Inquisition... the list can go on and on of man's inhumanity to man. I guess the difference is that in those settings, the rest of the world was "normal." However, for the lives living in those situations, it doesn't matter that the rest of the world is "surviving." Their world is just as bleak as that of The Road. The world ends everyday for many people.I'm glad I read the book; it does provide food for thought, but it could be very disturbing for some. If you need something to worry about, I suppose this book could provide that, but there's probably plenty of other things in the world that we should be more concerned about - things that we might be able to have an impact on.

Dark and depressing majesty....

by Matko Vladanovic

When you look at it just the right way, "The road" starts to resemble several of Stephen King's books at once. Whether "The stand" or "Dark Tower" (heptalogy is it?) or any other post-apocalyptic book that has ever been writen since the invention of the genre. And in a way, Ursula Le Guin has every right to be pissed about double standards of literary circles who wilfully chose to ignore entire body of speculative fiction which, during one time or the other, concerned itself with these themes. But, soon as Cormac McCarty choose to write something that resembles the forementioned genre, everybody was suddenly up on their feet shouting how great and brilliant the book was and how it is going the change the concept of American literature in upcoming years. You may, of course, listen to those voices with sceptical doubt, or you may dive into this book and judge for yourself. I did precisely that (both actually) and was surprised - book was actually good.First of all, this isn't the action packed post-apocalyptic story, and the upcoming movie will probably be total disaster. Why? Because Hollywood in it's entire history couldn't make good meditational movie about human condition. And "The road" is precisely that - meditation about humanity which can (and does) work in medeium of language but is utterly untranslatable into anything else. Only person that could have done it in a way this books deserves is Michelangelo Antonioni and he's been dead for couple of years. So, that being said, you should know that narrationwise and plotwise this book is as simple as it gets. We have father and son which travel through destroyed country in search for someting. Hope, new way of existence, meaning of life or whatever you call it. Actuall process of getting there, travelling on the road, avoding band of savages, starving etc. is just the backside story, something which can easily be disposed off. All of it is a conventional, genre stuff, seen and experienced in many a novel out there. But, what makes "The road" different from great percentage of post-apocalyptic body of work is it's language, it's structure and tone which is deeply personal and evocative. One of those languages that pull you in, from which you have trouble letting go, constant staying into back of your head, nagging and being present. And that's one of the ingredients of great literature.McCarthy goes on introspective journey here. There is no moralty present, there is no hero or group whose ideology must always be shining beacon on the end of the dark passage. Every ideology is destroyed, every bond is shatterd and only thing that remains is mere instinct of survival. Question that concerns McCarthy here is this one - how can we, when confronted with total dehumanisation (and you may write anything inside this statement, from free market ideology to totalitarism), remain humane. Do we want to, why do we want it, and can we actually do that? If civilisation is destroyed, upon which grounds whe can build our identity. And final answer to this question is inconclusive, because lanuage in it's totality cannot represent the New World. And upon notion of New World this book ends, remaining silent on what comes next. Reader takes on alone.It's a pleasure to read this one, it's evocative and deeply disturbing, and questions posed here wait for us just behind the corner. "The road" sets direciton, but travelling we have to do for ourselves.

I believe and I hope that McCarthy really gets it wrong here.

by M. Emrich "embo55"

Let me begin this review by saying that I believe Cormac McCarthy is one of our greatest living authors, and there are moments of sheer brilliance in this short novel. It may just have been the wrong time for me to read this. It has only been in the last year that I have lost faith in mankind. There are just too many threats to our way of life now. Fifty years ago America lived in fear because a handful of men had the ability with the click of a button to start a nuclear war. Today the amount of individuals that have the ability to cause great damage to the world is growing exponentially. There are thousands of biochemists that have the ability should they go insane to unleash plagues upon the earth that could kill billions. Their button is now attached to the mouse on their computer where they can find formulas to achieve such destruction. Then there is terrorism and global warming. I don't obsess about it. I just thank God for every day I have the pleasure of living with my wife and daughter on this planet.McCarthy has always had a bleak vision of mankind. Prior to this novel his bleakest ruminations on mankind were exhibited in the savage west of "Blood Meridian", which shares more with this work than any of his other novels. "Blood Meridian" is certainly his most difficult read and I think along with this novel the favorite of literary critics. Myself I prefer "All the Pretty Horses". Where Blood Meridian succeded and this novel fails is that the brutal human race depicted in the old west can be believed, but I think he gets it wrong here. If and when the dust of the apocalypse clears or I should say begins a long process of clearing and there is almost no one left. I believe that those who are left will do whatever they need to do to begin rebuilding. The world he envisions is barbaric. It is filled with almost all, as he succinctly puts it, "bad guys". I believe that the survivors in a post-apocalyptic world would tend to be the "good guys" or realize the necessity of banding together to use a collectve resourcefullness to try to rebuild.I cried near the end of this book, which I often do during a film, but seldom while reading. Did I cry for the characters only known as "the boy and the man" or did I cry more for my child and those that were born during this century? I am not sure. I only know that I don't want to think about these issues when I read fiction. I get enough of these thoughts when I watch the nightly news. I feel sorry for anyone has such a bleak view of the human animal. Myself, I only have a bleak view about a handful of them. The only problem is that in the 21st century, that is more than enough to end this little existence of ours.

Not as good as I though it would be

by M. E. Newell

An unnamed disater has stucked a man and his son are stuggling to lived in a new lawless world as they head down the road, towards the shore. All the way the man and his son hunting for food, avoiding people. The Road is the Pulitzer winning book by Cormac McCarthy and while other seemed to enjoyed I really didn't. I found Mr. McCarthy style of writing a bit unnerving and there seem to be little delevopment of the character's. It seem that this book could have been written in a weekend. I had been looking forward to the DVD but after reading the book, I am not sure if I going to waste my money on the DVD.

Apocalyptic Love

by Miami Bob "Resurgent Reading"

Cormac McCarthy amazingly makes the relationship between father and son remarkably warm in the cold environs of post-apocalyptic United States - after the bomb or something similar has incinerated all of nature. The two main characters, each nameless and referred only as man and boy, allow us to watch their journey on the "Road" in the world we pray never to know.The book is merely a chronological story of the daily long walks by the pair to the coast and then south - all the time seeking food and other needs for sustenance. All in a world of no sun. Eternal clouds. No stars. "The nights dead still and deader black. So cold." You might think: Why live? The father, understanding the inevitable end to this daily torture ". . . would raise his weeping eyes and see him [his son] standing there in the road looking back at him from some unimaginable future, glowing in the waste like a tabernacle." Unlike most other adults, the man has reason to live - to love and be loved. This ugly world has a beautiful story.Fighting against all odds, in the moonscape left from the nuclear assault on man and nature, this book mixes two great movies' themes: "Two Women" and "Mad Max." Without sun, no food can be grown. Without light, temperatures plunge and winds sweep the lands. With the strange sunless weather patterns, the already burned trees fall like dominoes, expose the entire deforested continent to all winds, and leave all men prey to the badlands as most succumb if without masks or eye protection. It is not a jungle out there - all the flora is dead. It is hell. But, against these odds, the main characters fight on.People become desperate in such desperate times. Children, the weakest, are freely eaten by the adults. Every day, following the inevitably black as ebony starless night, requires energy to walk on. Day or night, animal-like senses are needed to assure self preservation. In one conversation, the two discuss this never ending stress in obtaining preservation.-If you're on the lookout all the time, does that mean that you're scared all the time?-Well, I suppose you have to be scared enough to be on the lookout in the first place. To be cautious. Watchful.-But the rest of the time you're not scared?-Yeah. I don't know. Maybe you should always be on the lookout. If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.-Do you always expect it? Papa?-I do. But sometimes I might forget to be on the lookout.After having read the heavier and less personal "Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West (Modern Library)" and seen the movie adaptation to "No Country for Old Men (Vintage International)", I feared this book of the post apocalyptic world would be strewn with endless pages of blood, guts, exposed viscera and nauseatingly horrific accounts of violence. Surprisingly, it is not. Not that this book is void of shockingly violent behavior, or occasional scenes of putrid details. But, such accounts are not nearly as great as included in the other two works. And, on a personal note, that is appreciated.This book moves incredibly quickly. The writing is clean, but skillfully done with strong words and Hemingwayesque minimalist style. McCarthy's success is not any surprise to any of his readers.

A Great Disappointment!

by Michael A. Newman

I don't know what the hype was about this book. It is a very short book (230 thin pages that could easily be read in one sitting), which may explain why you are waiting for something to happen and then you are at the end before you know it and nothing does happen.After some sort of world holocost a father and his son wander around whatever is left just trying to survive while trying to avoid cannibalistic "bad people." Occasionaly the father remembers his dead wife (she committed suicide) or has some odd dream remembering the past. He keeps insisting that he himself would be dead too if he was not tasked with protecting his son.The book does have some merit because the father must shield his son from seeing a lot of ugly things (decayed corpses, people that are essentially cannabils) and there are a lot of moral questions that come into play -what to do with the occasional stranger they meet? Should they help them, ignore them, kill them, etc.I see many people have given this book 5 stars. Having read far superior end of world survivor classics such as Alas Babylon or Lucifer's Hammer it was difficult to give this book a little more than two stars.

Get It Out Of My Head

by Michael Bowen "cobb_at_mdcbowen_dot_org"

Some books don't teach you anything but the arcane depths of despair that human beings can reach. Very much like 'Life in the Time of Cholera', this book was a tour through a macabre mind, a desolate wilderness of the desperate soul.If by some feat of technology or magic, one could take a guided tour through the hell of another's life, any sane person would ask - of all human experience why go here?McCarthy scores for those who are such tourists of despair. But even on technical merit, there is no redemption for this exercise in spiritual torture. Get it out of my head - it's like the mind chewing grubs from the Wrath of Khan.

A Quick Read

by Michael C. Tighe "Bookbinger"

Cormac McCarthy's slender new novel, "The Road," proved to be a quick read. The book takes the reader on a journey through a frighteningly imagined post-apocalyptic terrain. An unnamed father and his young son, "the boy," travel on foot toward the coast through a nearly deserted landscape, all living things having turned gray or brown, the sky ever dull, a coating of ash over everything.The man and his son wear improvised surgical masks as they walk along, pushing a sometimes wobbly shopping cart with the few items they scavenge from deserted houses and businesses along the way, a few cans of food, some blankets, a tarp to fend off the seemingly daily rain.The man carries a pistol with two bullets left for their ultimate suicide if need be. The boy and his father are "the good guys," ever vigilant to hide from "the bad guys," who roam in packs and are not above cannibalism.McCarthy shows his true mastery as a writer, somehow keeping the reader in suspense, hungrily turning pages, even though really very little happens in the way of action or plot development. It did not seem to me to be a novel of hope, the story ending with suggestions of more of the same to come

Amazing Novel

by Michael Mann

This is probably one of the greatest books I've ever read. It's uplifting yet extremely sad at the same time.

The height of literary snobbishness.

by Michael McLarnon

So Cormac don't have to use punctuation and things like that because he so far above the rest of us illiterate slobs that the rules of English grammar don't apply to him and he feels that by writing long run-on sentences like Hemmingway makes him a literary genius and by writing in a way the critics don't understand they would automatically call him a genius doesn't make the book good it just makes it pretentious.By the way, how does he even type books without punctuation? My word processor automatically puts them in.

Other post-apocalyptic novels have done it better

by M-I-K-E 2theD "2theD"

My cursor absent-mindedly blinks at me as I attempt to summon an opening sentence which is both neutral and all-telling. I have failed. I liked the fact that it took me less than a day to complete it but hereafter, I list my reasons why I didn't like The Road.Ah, the post-apocalyptic novel which spawned an apocalypse trend in modern literature. For those who read other books than what is on Oprah's book club list or the New York Times best-sellers, you would know that the art of the apocalypse novel has already been properly honed. A reader just has to research books; take the time to peruse some second-hand book shelves, nose around on some forums and just have a gut instinct into buying a book... rather than just following the Top 100 or having someone else tell you what to read. I read The Road because I found a free copy; simple as that. Let's take a look at this post-apocalyptic novel with five of its high-praised highlights from esteemed professional book reviewers across America (I don't follow book reviewers either. I read what I want, take the chance.) and compare those remarks to eleven other apocalyptic novels from the sub-genre:Bookforum: It has `raw emotional pull' but I wasn't impressed. One book that really tugged at my heartstrings was Nevil Shute's On The Beach. THAT one has me closing my eyes, holding back the tears, hoping that the baby wouldn't succumb to the long death of radiation poisoning, following the plight of a man losing his family one member at a time.Rocky Mountain News: It is a `violent, grotesque world' but not nearly as beastly as Zelazny's Damnation Alley or is it as poisoned as Strieber & Kunetka's War Day. The landscape may be monotonously gray and ashy but it's not lethal to the touch or populated by beasts or devouring civilization like Greg Bear's Blood Music.Chicago Tribune: It has a `huge gift for language' but it really, really pales in comparison to a literary artist like J.G. Ballard and his apocalyptic novel The Drought or the imagination and detail of Stewert's Earth Abides. The Road didn't have literary languid passages, keen insight or even remarkable dialogue. Even Adam Johnson's Parasites Like Us had a better flare for language.USA Today: It `captures the knife edge that fugitives in a hostile world stand on' but please compare this to the roving, searching, soul-seeking done in Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids. There the fugitives face armed bandits, murderous plants and a yearning over the distance. In Mordecai Roshwald's Level 7, one man is seeing his colleges die one by one while deep underground. He is the destroyer but also the last fugitive of the human race bent on destruction.The New York Times: It is `simple yet mysterious' kind of like Delany's Dhalgren where time and location have no meaning and even the flow of time seems to be disrupted, non-linear. The imagery is cryptic in Dhalgren also like Neal Bell's Gone to be Snakes Now whereas in The Road, everything is gray, cold, gray, cold and so on.In the end, it all came down to the dialogue. ' It was repetitive, like the scenery, to the nth annoying degree. Even the characters themselves (harrowing only in one or two parts) didn't mesh right. Like a Haruki Murakami novel, the characters didn't have names, only `the man' and `the boy.' The language and relationship didn't feel like one between father and son but more like man and recently adopted feral boy, hence the silly bits of dialogue. If they were father and son, perhaps naming as such would have been clearer- father and son, dad and boy- but instead we're stuck with something as generic as guardian and dependent, or shepherd and flock.Additional annoyances which irk me after reading the novel are McCarthy's affection for the word `effigy,' the profusion of canned peaches the two of them eat, and finally the inclusion of the word `okay' and the phrase `I don't know' in nearly every single conversation.Best quote from the book, I have to admit, was:Boy- `What's the bravest thing you ever did?'Man- `Getting up this morning.'

A portrait of two, a portrait of one -- after the apocalypse...

by Mike Smith

What an unbelivably atmospheric and moving book."The Road" tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which everything has been burned and abandoned, ash rains constantly from the sky, and the handful of people remaining in what was once America have almost all devolved into cannibalism, slavery, and inhuman cruelty. Civilization has fallen, and nothing remains but the road--the highways now weedy and half-melted. The story of "The Road" is the story of a father and son travelling together on these roads, pushing and pulling a rickety shopping cart full of all they own through the South to the coast, looking for someplace better, someplace safer, warmer. The story is unbelievably touching and intense in its description of the father and son's relationship, but like all of McCarthy's work, contains so much more than just its literal story.The Man and the Boy in this story go nameless, and thus in a way, are like the same person. The Man: the person's more worldweary, more wary, more protective side. The Boy: the person's purer, kinder, more untouched side. The person has to draw on all his years have earned him to protect that part of him that hasn't yet been ruined by a world gone to hell. The Man learns more of goodness and hope from the Boy, the Boy learns caution and survival (and love) from the Man, and their collective personage grows and survives.On so many levels, this book is brilliant, its words evocative and enfolding, and its conclusion unexpected but full of hope.

Dark reading

by M. Jacobsen "I am not young enough to know ev...

I'm afraid I didn't enjoy this book as much as so many other readers did. Everything about this novel is dark - the characters, the descriptions, the plot line, and even the scenery contribute to a feeling of darkness closing in around you.America has been burned and there is little left except for evil and outlaws. A father and son travel a road, supposedly heading for the coast, and they walk - following 'The Road' - across what is left of America to get there. They encounter mostly evil along the way, but a few bright spots of sad goodness. Don't expect an action-packed thriller here. Rather, the book is introspective and focuses on the father and child and how they relate to the changed world around them.Very dark reading indeed.

Instant Classic

by M. Mellen "macdadtexas"

Remember this important work so that you can discuss it with your children when they read it in college. One of the most moving, original, thoughtful, and just starkly brilliant pieces of fiction I have ever read. I am an avid reader, who like most of you reading this review I am guessing, find the majority of modern fiction derivative and very un-original. I find myself picking up many classics for the 5th and 6th time because I am continually disappointed by modern writers so when someone puts out such a brilliant career defining book, it's an event to be celebrated.The subject matter is so disturbing that the book sat on my library shelf for 3 months before I could make myself pick it up. I completely understand some of the reviews, it is not an easy work to connect with. You must completely detach from the story which is not easy. I found myself checking on my children more than ever. Holding them tighter, thanking God for our lives. It was a very, very affecting book.One of the great books I have ever read. I would place it in my personal top 10, and with more reflection I believe it will move into the top 5.Congratulations Mr. McCarthy, absolutely brilliant.

Brutally Elegant

by M. Meszaros "acadia2431"

It's hard to go back to reading normal authors after a McCarthy book. At least for me. The journey with him is never easy but always worth the trip. There is a real craft to giving the reader just enough detail to get them to fill in the blanks with their own imagination. Small, seemingly forgettable, details can ultimately have the largest consequences.

The Road Was A Long One For Me...

by M. ONEILL "Mike ONeill"

I heard alot of good things about this book so I was happy when my wife gave it to me as a Father's Day gift last year. I knew it wasn't going to be my favorite genre but I was looking forward to taking a quick break from my suspense/mystery books. Well it took about 2 months to get through this somewhat quick-read...partly holidays but also the book just was a chore for me to get through.Like others reviews posted here, the book had grammatical flaws that stuck out like a sore thumb to me. The short word sentences like an exchange of "okay"s was distracting. The book started out very slow and depressing. It got slightly interesting toward the middle and end as I wanted to see if there was going to be a huge surprise or twist but it just sorta ended in an expected and depressing fashion. I understand the underlying "faith" meaning of the book...that was nice. I thought the end was a bit too coincidental when the boy meets the man.I definitely give the author credit for writing the book. Most published books are works of arts given the work involved in outlining, writing, editing, publishing, etc. But a book must provide entertainment value to me and this book just wasn't a book that grabbed me.

A haunting read.

by Monet

Heart wrenching, haunting, harrowing and nerve-racking are just a few words to describe this incredible story. A father and son making their way through a nuclear winter. Never knowing where they are going, each intense encounter could be a step closer to their death. You will constantly be on the edge of your seat, filled with sympathy for the duo, leaving you emotionally exhausted when finished. A must-read.

Experience the (possible) future.

by Monty Rainey

I had never read any of Cormac McCarthy's work before. What he typically writes is just not the normal fare I would have on my reading list. However, over the past few months, I've had several conversations with other readers in which THE ROAD was mentioned as a "must read", and being one who enjoys an occasional apocalyptic vision, decided to venture from my normal staple of reading material.In the first few pages, the most glaring feature was McCarthy's lack of punctuation, most notably, quotation marks. At first, I surmised this to be an almost intolerable omission and lack of respect for the reader on the author's part, but after reading on a few more pages, found it to be sufferable if not annoying. McCarthy quickly grabbed me with his story and erased the annoyance from my mind as my focus turned instead to a well developed storyline and character development that made me a quick ally to the two main characters.At first, I also found it odd that McCarthy gave only slight evidence to the cause of the post-apocalyptic world, but later realized how the world came to such a state was unimportant to the story. In the end, McCarthy gives a brilliant vision of what the end might look like when mankind is snuffed out like a candle, regardless of the cause. He paints a picture of reaching that point in time when survival is no longer an ambition of individuals, yet somehow, somewhere deep within our psyches, that want of survival remains within us all.This is an unusual book. There is nothing uplifting here, so don't expect it. There are, however, slight morsels of humor interspersed among the conversations of father and son, but you have to look closely for them. There are also occasional spiritual references here to reflect that the light of hope and faith is a hard light to extinguish. For the most part, the book is dark and grim and reflective of what could in fact, be the final story of mankind.If post-apocalyptic, or end of the world (EOW) scenarios are your thing, this is a very well developed story. It is a vision quite uniquely presented and, though I am no expert on EOW fiction, I don't believe you'll find anything quite like this.

as a new father, it moved me like no other book.

by Mr. Ditto

First, I was deeply skeptical of this book going in since I did not like McCarthy's "No Country For Old Men" at all (nor his writing style that doesn't use quotation marks!).But this book moved me like no other. Forget about the missing details of the story (or the missing back story). The story is about the deep love between a father and a son.If you aren't a father, then you won't get it. I know that I would not have thought highly of this book pre-fatherhood.Simply put, I teared up for the first time in 10 years.


by M. Richard Roehl

"we were always lucky. you'll be lucky again. .... you need to go on. I can't go with you".something loving fathers have to say to their children at some time.really got into this big black book; was so happy when they found all 'that stuff'. I love all his books (except blood Meridian), my favorite author for 25 years.

Sci-fi, McCarthy style

by mrliteral

I suppose if you had to categorize Cormac McCarthy, you'd probably call him a Western writer. This would only be true, however, in the broadest sense, as some of his stories don't take place in the traditional Western settings, and his writing is a bit more stylized than is commonly found in the genre. With The Road, he takes his unique style and goes off in a whole new direction, into the world of science fiction. Even with the change of genre, however, this is still distinctly a Cormac McCarthy book.At some point in the near future, a man and his young son (who are never named) wander the blighted landscape in search of food and shelter. It is never fully clear what has happened, but it is most likely that a nuclear war has occurred, resulting in a world of ash and nuclear winter. The two walk along a highway with their meager belongings, heading towards the coast where it will hopefully be slightly better.Beyond what I just mentioned, there is not much true plot in this book, which is fine. Instead, we get a series of adventures as the pair encounter various obstacles and occasionally other people (who can rarely be trusted). For the father - who has still has memories of better times, including his late wife - the only purpose he has left is to protect his son. The boy, who has no recollection of any other life, struggles with the standard fears of childhood and the moral ambiguity of this new, savage world where civilization is dead, with only its bones (buildings, roads, etc.) remaining.This is a grim novel but a good one. For McCarthy, an author who sometimes is a challenge to read because of his literary style (for example, his lack of any punctuation but the essentials: period, comma and question mark), this book is one of his most readable. With many non-science fiction writers, their excursions into the genre are often flawed as if the authors felt like they were slumming and had no real idea how to write sci-fi. McCarthy, perhaps because he avoids the cliches of science fiction, doesn't fall into the trap. Instead, he has written a dark but gripping story about survival that should satisfy both his fans and those who've never read him before.

Gets You Thinking

by Mrs. Garside "Reader and Writer"

I actually finished this a couple of months ago, and I can't stop thinking about it. It's such a clear, hard-headed look at how average people would cope with the total collapse of society.A nameless father and son travel a ruined interstate highway through an utter wasteland. It's cold; the sun is blocked with clouds of ash. Nothing grows. The few people who remain are phantoms, or they have reverted to an animal state that includes cannibalism (Yikes). But these two people keep going, walking toward the gulf coast in the hope that they'll find an unspecified 'something better'.It took me a while to figure out why the father decides on this long hike through Hell itself. It's a goal, something to do, something to accomplish. When the world had fallen apart, people need something, anything, to do. And this seemingly pointless journey is just that.The book ends on the tiniest moue of hope. Maybe this isn't the end. Maybe humanity will survive. But that journey will be even more difficult than the journey to the gulf coast.

A Road Not Easily Forgotten

by Nancy "Stepfordmomto2"

After reading the first page I was ready to put the book away. The writing style didn't grab me. But after that I got into the books flow and was swept away with it. The tone is haunting and mesmerizing. The subject matter depressing. But it will stay with me as one of the most intense books I have ever read. Post apocalyptical journey of a man and boy across America to the West Coast.

Not up to McCarthy's standards, but still worthwhile

by Nathan W

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is an astonishingly bleak portrait of survival. A father and son, on the run from brutal savagery, struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic civilization not far removed from our own. The story is a poignant account of the love between a father and son. As is typical in McCarthy's work, desolate landscape plays a crucial role as an overbearing secondary character. The ashy snowfall is a constant reminder of the dire situation the man and his son are in. Despite not knowing the name of either character, McCarthy is still able to create an emotional bond between the reader and the man and his boy. Perhaps it is this lack of first name basis that thrusts the reader into the position of the father, creating the strong emotional ties. For all this good, however, there were some flaws in the book. McCarthy's usual wonderful prose is substituted for a much simpler and more direct writing style. Although I'm sure this was done on purpose with the intent of mimicking the dreary atmosphere of the novel, his typical style is missed. Also, while The Road is relatively short, it still feels somewhat repetitive and many times while reading it I wanted it to pick up a little. These down times are when McCarthy's breathtaking prose would have sustained my interest despite the slow-down in plot. Even with these flaws, The Road remains immensely readable and is a must-read novel by perhaps America's greatest living author.

If the world were to end...

by Nelaine Sanchez "All About {n}"

This book was so dark and gloomy. I kept expecting something horrible to happen around the next corner. I had bad dreams for two nights in a row thanks to it, yet the relationship between the father and son was most inspiring. The only bright thing in the whole book was their love for one another.

Haunting, Emotional Work

by Nelson Aspen "Author/Journalist"

I was completely taken aback by how wonderful I found this book! Emotional, suspenseful, haunting. Beautiful in its simplicity, this post-armaggedon Father & Son story is engrossing from first page to last.Viggo Mortensen is an inspired casting choice for a movie version, but regardless: this book is not to be missed. It is a powerful story of love and survival.

Don't waste your money

by Nico1908 "NTF"

This is one of the most over-acclaimed books I have ever read! It is basically a novella, drawn out to novel-length by means of large print and generous line spacing.A father and his son, a boy of about 7 or 8, have survived several years after Earth has been made uninhabitable by an unspecified and undescribed catastrophic event. For some reason, the father decides to take his son to the coast. What follows is a description of these two struggling through a desolate landscape, pushing a shopping cart with their few belongings and whatever food they manage to find, dodging hordes of cannibals and other enemies on the road.My biggest peeve is that every time the situation seems absolutely hopeless and the protagonists are on the brink of starvation, they miraculously find food and/or shelter. Every. Single Time. I HATE luck as a plot device!Besides that, there are several things that make no sense. For example, we are constantly told that the landscape is burnt and covered in ash, and most of the time it is drizzling or raining. If everything's burned, how come the father and his son find enough (dry) wood to make a fire every night? And then the encounter with the old man on the road: Given the struggles of the father-son-team, how can an old blind (!) man possibly have survived to this point, especially given the fact that the road is swarming with bandits?! And the people in the cellar: what are they eating and why are their captors not eating that food themselves? - To name just a few...The whole thing reads like it was written by a cranky old man who is trying to cope with his fear of death.

I can handle cannibals but....

by Nina Matthews

...babies on a spit is a bit much for me.This is a strange book. Not a whole lot happens but I still think that it is engrossing. You don't know the human character's names and they don't talk very much. The main character, I think, is the world around them. It's what the reader hears about most. But we never know what happened to the world, just that there was some sort of massive fire. Its up to the reader to speculate if it was from a meteor or war or whatever else it could be. I think the best way to describe this book would be that it is similar to an end of the world zombie movie, without all the "non-human" zombies. There are sort of zombies, but there are real people who are desperate and hopeless.Clearly the author doesn't give two craps about punctuation, he uses it sparingly, but I don't think it was distracting.I took away one star because the ending was a little too neat for me. It's not completely happy, but just kind of unlikely.

Pretentious...but still good

by nodice

A grammer rebel who gives a pretty good argument for the 'less is more' believers. This book has a little bit of everything. There are times when you come across beautifully written proses but there are also passages that come off as sheer laziness. This book has no plot or purpose, the book just IS. After hearing so much praise about how brillant this work is, it still sort of hit me like standing before million dollar abstract painting and just not getting it. I agree that the descriptions and dialogue becomes repetative and nothing truely happens, but the last twenty pages still drew on my heart strings and earned an extra star from me. Recommended.

Civilization is a Very Thin Veneer

by Nora Westcott

I disliked this book so much thatfor the first time in my life, I threw a book in the trash. The only reason I give it two stars is that the novel shows that society reverts to anarchy if civilization as we know it is destroyed.I don't want to give the ending away so I will state that I don't understand why so many people are raving about it. The man is amoral at best and the ending is so contrived, it's laughable.

Life in Death

by not me

Let me add a word or two of praise to the acclaim already heaped on "The Road." The book is a razor-shop meditation -- almost a thought experiment -- on what it would mean to remain human if the social and physical world and all hope for the future had died. The writing is hypnotic, poetic, almost Biblical. The vistas of planetary environmental death are heart-rending, yet make the moments of loyalty and kindness seem like flashes of grace. Once I started "The Road" I could barely put it down, except for the last 20 pages or so, when I had to stop reading in order to collect myself. Few novels drill down to human bedrock the way "The Road" does. It will endure.

Love in Stark Relief

by Oddsfish

The Road is a very rare book. Like just a few books that I can think of (The Great Gatsby and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn come to mind), it seems to have articulated something right at the essence of its time. What's more, it's done so with symbolic resonance that can and is understood, at least on some level, by so many people. The wide popularity that The Road has attained has meant, of course, that it's reached beyond its more narrow original audience and has been exposed to many people to whom it's not likely to speak. But it's undeniable that this is a novel that so many from the seventh grade to college and beyond find to be enjoyable, challenging, and meaningful.I can think of few novels in my life that are as satisfying an experience as The Road. From almost any angle, it is fantastic. Its prose and dialogue, though tough and spare, is rhythmic and beautiful. Its warnings of environmental, spiritual, and moral decay are trenchant, and McCarthy is unflinching in the questions he asks, both of his readers and the cosmos.Most strikingly, though, the story of this son and father, driven on only by love to survive, offers something beautiful and hopeful, despite the world falling apart around them. The father and son are love, set in stark relief against a backdrop of misery, violence, and despair. And no matter how dark the novel is, this is the image that shines the most brightly, the one that I'll always remember. The Road is one of the most important and chilling novels I've ever read--and also one of the most beautiful.

"There is no God, and we are his prophets"

by olingerstories

McCarthy's THE ROAD is a brilliant book that expounds his "God is dead" theology. He is relentlessly consistent in his approach, and the result is a philosophical-theological lyrical story that keeps one engaged from beginning to end. Now, as to whether one agrees with his presuppositions, that's another matter, but in this book he gets to dictate the rules.


by Oliver W. Robertson

If you liked the movie you will love the novel. Movies can not depict human thoughts, dreams, regrets, and hopes. Cormac McCathy is truly a great writer, and in his novels you get all of these. This is his best novel, in my opinion.

Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink

by Olly Buxton "@electricray"

This is a truly beautiful novel.The scenario in which McCarthy places his characters - a post apocalyptic wasteland - seems so hackneyed that nothing of value could be wrung from it, but McCarthy's sparse elegance and unrelenting cinematic vision draws nourishment from this dead metaphor just as his main subject, an unnamed man (in this regard, as in many, McCarthy invokes his "Western" roots) draws nourishment from handfuls of dead chaff scratched from the floor of a barn.McCarthy's writing is really exquisite: it these post-ironic times it is almost a guilty indulgence (and is that ever ironic, given the content!) to be treated to such master craftsmanship in the construction of simple, stark sentences. The imagery is consistently arresting, whether it be of wallpapered mansion walls bloated and buckled with years of seepage, the heavy sea heaving and lagging, like some ashen, gunked-up pit of slag, or of an emaciated person likened to a human skull inhabited by an animal. (I'm trying my best to paraphrase, but alas I'm no Cormac McCarthy)I found poems repeatedly came to mind: not just Eliot's The Wasteland, but Shelley's Ozymandias, in the shape of the buckled mansions, abandoned cities and wrecked, over-blown road, and Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in the visualisation of an environment so unrelentingly wet, yet utterly devoid of any life. There is no hint of even a new shoot of vegetation - let alone a life force like drinkable water: for all the rain and snow, the ash contamination means the couple are continually on the point of dying from thirst.A few commentators have remarked on the "saccharine" ending, but I found no such thing: As a father, I found the father's dilemma as the book concludes was almost too unbearable to read, and the irony of the child's eventual resolution only accentuated the book's grim process.Beautiful, haunting, and lyrical.Olly Buxton

Plot - 4, Characters - 3, Theme - 4, Voice - 4, Setting - 5, Overall - 4

by One Guy's Opinion

1) Plot (4 stars) - In post-apocalyptic America, one man tries to bring his son to a better place; but the road is long and fraught with dangers. There was plenty of tension in the story about whether the man would survive and what would happen to the boy if he didn't. But sometimes I wanted more to happen than just walk, search for food, get scared, sleep, repeat.2) Characters (3 stars) - The man is resourceful and brave and willing to do anything for his son to survive. The boy is kind and wants the world to also hold hope and goodness, and not just survival. These were both great starting points for characters, but I didn't feel like they developed much over the story.3) Theme (4 stars) - In a world where everyone is reduced to survival, and the future looks like it will only get bleaker, is basic human kindness and empathy and happiness still worth it? It's an interesting question. For if it's not, is survival enough of a reason to keep on living? It might seem like a fanciful message to ponder, but in some areas of the world, I'm sure people have to make this decision; and even in the abundance of modern America, I know people who look at our future of overpopulation, environment degradation, and economic disparities, and ask this same question. So, for me, it was definitely worth the pondering.4) Voice (4 stars) - It was an interesting style, missing punctuation marks, as if the author was too tired for them and they don't really matter anymore, which amplified the theme and mood of the book.5) Setting (5 stars) - McCarthy paints a grim future--cold, dark, lifeless--and places you right in the middle of the misery. Every scene is painted with these colors, and the mood works on you as it works on the characters.6) Overall (4 stars) - This is a dystopia about mood and the struggle of two humans, not larger societal commentary like 1984 or Brave New World. And I think it succeeds wonderfully in this dimension. I'd recommend it.

I don't know. It's OK. I guess. [no spoilers]

by Oscar "DaRK KNighT"

"The Road" chronicles a father and son's journey along a road in post-apocalyptic America. The duo avoids teasingly potential events that might have heightened the uninteresting storyline laden with strange sentence structure and short quotation-free dialogs. Although the only reading breaks are between scenes (sometimes four brief scenes to a page), the novel rambles perfectly to deliver a lackluster life but through flashbacks the chronology may be difficult to understand.I realize one might enjoy the story as the rigors and tediousness life would be in such a world. Yet I'd rather be entertained with other than brief events in two people's mundane existence to find food, water, and shelter as they avoid survivors of an unidentified holocaust. Consequently you won't miss any critical plot developments by skipping fifty pages. Though most books in this genre have an element of action and fantasy, good versus evil while battling the natural elements, what gives "The Road" its uniqueness is the most realistic scenario of a non-hero protagonist, in itself quite gloomy. The only redeeming feature was the sad and mysterious ending.Thank you.

An "End-of-the-World" Classic

by OtherWorlds&Wisdom

I've always been fascinated by end-of-the-world books and films and this book ranks as one of the best. McCarthy's dialogue style adds to the imagery and tone of the book, though sometimes at the expense of real conversation. What caused the "end" is not explained, but that's not the point of the book. These books are about how man survives the evil other men perpetrate on each other. This still applies even if the end was caused naturally. It's also about a man and his son. And it's about how excessive our lives are as compared to this dire opposite scenario. We'll see if this translates well to the movie screen, and it should with the right direction. See alsoThe Book of Eli.

I hope there's other Roads

by Ozgard "Oz"

Although I ultimately loved this book, it deals with a world that none of us wants or wants to face. We face Nuclear threats now more than ever in our world. The aftermath of Nuclear War is beyond our imaginations. I cannot fathom how it would be for me to watch my wife kill herself, my son waste away to nothing and feel myself lose a battle within. It gives you an uplift at the end but until that moment it's as bleek a read I have ever read.I recommend this book to all as a smack in the head about nuclear disarmament.

Why the hype?

by Packrat

I cannot see why this book has been well reviewed. It is not that interesting. The plot is thin. There is little character development and leaves many questions unanswered. A small example is when the boy (who was born after the disaster when everything shut down) sees an immobile train he makes train sounds. He would never have heard them.I am sorry I bought the book. I never saw the movie but it must have been deadly boring unless they added to the story.


by Pamela A. Poddany "Book Freak!"

THE ROADI have had this book sitting in my book case for over a year and now I keep asking myself WHY? Why did I wait so long to read this masterpiece? This is one great book.It's the end of the world -- how and why are never revealed and that's OK. We meet a father and his young son on the road -- the road to nowhere, for there is nowhere to go. McCarthy writes with such chilling intensity that he scared the beejeebers out of me. I have been reading horror forever; this one really frightened me. Perhaps because it could happen, it surely could. And what a horrible place this world has become in this book. Horrible. I admired the father and son for their courage to never give up. I also admired the father for never letting his son see the actual hopelessness he felt constantly. I loved how the father was such a good father that he kept on a smiling face, trying to keep his son's spirits and hopes up. How many of us could actually do that? Giving up would be so much easier --Everyone is gone. Everything is gone. There's no food, no noise, no electric power, hardly any people left, {and those who are left are mostly murderers or nut jobs or who have turned to being cannibals!}, no animals, no birds, no blue sky, no sunshine. There is nothing but a bleakness and a desperate hope and a need to keep moving on down the road. The road to where? To a slim hope that there may be somewhere or something waiting that will help --The father and son love each other and only have each other. They face each gray day with determination to move on and find food and hope and pray to just stay alive one more day. They travel a few miles each day and encounter horrible situations and face death daily. How bleak. How terrifying. How frightening.I was on the edge of my seat reading this book. I have read many other books based on the survivors of whatever diaster befell Earth. None of them had the impact on me that this one did. The deep love between the father and son was so pure and honest. The situations they found themselves in were hopeless, yet they carried on.McCarthy has a gift and uses it well. I loved the format of the book -- there were no quotation marks, no apostrophes, just stark and bold writing. I cannot stop thinking of this book and recommend it highly. McCarthy has earned yet another fan in his legions of many. Me.Thank you!Pam

A Morbid and Disturbing Trip

by Parrott

This father's road trip with his son is more morbid and disturbing than any other apocalyptic fiction that I've read. Yet, I couldn't put it down. It's a stunning story about parental love and sacrifice that overrides the overwhelming violence, and a destroyed environment that the protagonists did not create and cannot control. The story pushes further the theme of hope, which is embodied in the small, brave man-child. That the man and boy are never named served to make the story more intimate, more personal to this reader. In the telling, McCarthy is repetitive, but never boring. Best of all, he knew when and how to end the story. The book doesn't bear a second reading to uncover its beauty. You will either love it or hate it with the first reading.

The Road: Beautiful

by Patrick J. Jones

Title: The Road by Cormac McCarthyPages: 287.Time spent on the "to read" shelf: None.Days spent reading it: 1 day.Why I read it: I heard that The Road was a post-apocalyptic book and that it was stark and good. That's all I need to convince me to read a book.Brief review: I am scared to write this review because I know I cannot communicate how unbelievable I think The Road is. Cormac McCarthy may easily be one of my favorite authors ever, and this was the first book I ever read by him. Reading McCarthy was an experience I will not soon forget. People say he's like a cross between Hemingway and Faulkner. He's sparse with some details and conversations like Hemingway, and you feel like there's something more there. And yet, at the same time his words are almost poetic and describe the scene and situation with a beauty that I have found unmatched in the books I have read. Faulkner is often described sort of like this from what I've read about him. I have only read one Faulkner book, so I'm no expert. The writing was smooth, deep, beautiful, and powerful. At the same time there are moments in The Road that are deeply disturbing and unbelievably dark. I loved it.The short synopsis is that The Road is about a man and his son (never named) who make their way to the West coast along a road (duh!). However they do it after an apocalyptic event, which leaves humanity in shambles. There are evil men on the road. They hunt for people to enslave and sometimes to eat. It's a stark world. But the man and boy push on bravely despite the fact that they are slowly starving and have few prospects for long term sustainability. The hope of reaching their destination is what drives them forward in the midst of great despair. They encounter hardship, loss, and unbelievable evil in their journey. But they also inspire the reader to have great hope in the power of love and loyalty. The boy is a great foil to all of the evil around him. He is loving and caring even to people he does not know. He shows great compassion and trust when the world outside has never shown him these traits. He obviously gets these lessons from his father who is jaded, but tries to teach his son how to have hope and love even in the darkest situation.I believe The Road will be considered true literature and read in schools in the years to come. It was a gem that I hoped would be good, but did not expect to be as good as it was. It was perhaps my favorite book I have read in the last year, and definitely near the top of my top 10 books ever. I started it at 10 pm, trying to finish a little while Susan finished up a book of hers. I did not stop until almost 3 am when I finished it. I felt compelled to finish the story in one sitting, and I would definitely recommend that kind of experience to the reader if possible. There are no chapter breaks, only occasional hard paragraph breaks through the text. It is one continuous story, which is part of the driving force of this book.I loved The Road, but must warn potential readers there are some harsh realities of evil depicted in this book. They are not glorified, but there were some very ugly moments in the book. Not for the faint of heart, but worth the read. Because in the midst of great despair there is a story of great hope as well. Just wonderful. I think there are many great Christian themes presented in this book, even if not intentionally Christian (although perhaps?). Depravity, sinfulness, hope, redemption, love, and justice all show up, just to name a few. This is a book that provokes thought and reflection. There is a great depth to the themes that are presented, and I can easily say it is worth reading and then taking time to reflect on the themes McCarthy writes about. I highly recommend.Favorite quote: He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in a party game. Say the word and pass it on. So be sparing. What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not.Stars: 5 out of 5.Final Word: Beautiful.

A Sharp Etching

by Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat"

Here is a book with very little action, an abbreviated set of characters who aren't even named, and a world so bleak it really can be described in unremitting shades of gray, yet nevertheless manages to not only hold your interest, but find a way to grab your emotions.The post-apocalyptic world of this book is one of darkness and ash, so dark that the plants can't grow anymore, ash so thick it not only covers everything in a blanket but hides the sun and moon. In this world we follow two travelers, a father and son, in search of a better place while avoiding the `bad guys', those who have been reduced to cannibalism to survive. Now all this has been done many times before, in books both good and bad, but what differentiates this from prior works is the absolute leanness of this book. Nothing is introduced that is peripheral to the pair's journey and their relationship, the prose remains both simple and sparse, the current world situation taken as a given, without need for long explanations. The daily happenings quickly find a rhythm of repetition, with just enough variation to avoid boredom while strongly enhancing the general depressive tone. However, the very vagueness of how this situation came about, or how scientifically plausible such a situation may be, may bother some readers, even though one of McCarthy's points is that it doesn't matter how or why the world got this way, what matters is what you do now to cope with it.In some ways, this book is allegorical in nature, and there are some allusions to both the Bible and other works of classical literature. If you so happen to miss these allusions, though, I don't think it will harm either your enjoyment or understanding of this book, as, as simple as it is, McCarthy has not forgotten to tell a story, first and foremost.There is a ray of sunshine here, but its brightness is more because of contrast with all the other bleakness. When you reach its illumination, it will say something to you about what it means to be human, as opposed to just being animal. But because this book is so unrelentingly one-noted, it doesn't quite reach the level of greatness attained by things like Steinbeck'sThe Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)and other books that have delved deeply into the depths of despair and hopelessness - but it's still a worthwhile and rewarding read.--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)

Another great one from Cormac McCarthy

by Patti "PattisPages"

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a fast read and lives up to the hype as his masterpiece. It's very dark and therefore may not be for everyone. It's a post-apocalypse story with virtually no women characters. Churning up memories of Stephen King's The Stand, it also shares some themes with the Mad Max movies and Will Smith's current I Am Legend, based on the Richard Matheson book, but its imagery is more effective than any of these. It's a very emotional story about a father and son in the bleakest of circumstances, and I highly recommend it. You'll have a lot of questions about what actually happened, but that's the author's way, I guess, of saying that it doesn't really matter, because it's not about how we got here. The form of the novel reflects the unstructured world being described, in that there are no chapter breaks. Not all complete sentences either (like this one). It won the 2007 Pulitzer for fiction. Don't miss it.

No plot; no character development; no theme conflicts; no point!

by P. Barrett Coleman

First, after reading all these reviews, I would like to say that the idea that this is "Great writing that makes reading easy and quick" is just wrong. There is no punctuation really and incomplete sentences which makes the reading very choppy and hard to flow into. People think what makes this novel a "quick" read is that the book was 280 or so pages, but the Font size was jacked up along with huge spaces between the lines of text. Not to mention the 3 or 4 lines that are skipped continuously within every page in between conversation, paragraphs, or new events.Second, I don't need plot. I don't need action. Hell, I don't even need a complete explanation of what happened to the world. I wasn't expecting any of these. What I was thinking I was going to get was a story with characters that we knew and could know something about. The problem is that we learned nothing about them. Who was the dad? What did he use to do before the world? How did he even meet his wife? What about the son? Who knows? Who cares? That is the last question you'll be asking yourself.With no Character development, there had to be some plot. But the thing is there wasn't any. They just walked endlessly. It was tedious. But they didn't have anything new to do. Walk, set up camp, find food, wake up, walk. No discussion of any feelings or opinions or any insight to what this man was thinking about any of these situations.There were some themes to play around with here, but guess what? Without a plot, then without character development, the conflict that exists is obviously going to be nil. There was no chance to really show off any themes or commentary on them.After all this, I have to say this book is worthless. It was an empty read. I took nothing away, I didn't get any enjoyment out of it, I didn't EVEN get sadness or depression or being upset. The most that happened was me being disappointed, but that isn't something I like after reading a book, definitely when it is about the book itself.

Just incredible............

by Peter

This is my first Cormac McCarthy book as I have been avoiding him as I thought that based on all the praise he has been receiving from the influential critics of literature that the author would be too "arty" for my tastes.I was wrong. The book is just simple incredible, I am blown away by the magnitude of it and am so tempted to re-read it immediately. It was that good.The bleak and dark background to the novel of a post-disaster age is food for thought in itself but the story told of the man and the boy is just so poignant. The survival instinct in the human being is a strong focus of the book.It is not a hard book to read as the author has a pleasing and breezy style even when he is detailing events that are just too awful to contemplate.Highly recommended.

The most depressing book ever written? And yet...

by Peter Kobs "Peter Kobs"

This could be the darkest, most depressing book ever written by any author in human history. No kidding. And yet, there's something amazing going on here -- something that will challenge your most basic assumptions about human nature and love. Read it...if you can stand the pain. (Caution: This book is most definitely NOT for children or teens.)The novel is set in the southeastern United States (possibly North Carolina) in the near future. The world has been shattered by a nuclear war and now, 10 years later, a father and son are wandering south to escape the cold and desolation of nuclear winter. Most people are dead. The landscape is covered by ash from a million fires, and the only food available comes from scavenging the ruins of abandoned houses and towns. Cannibal gangs roam the countryside with the most horrific results ever described in fiction. To survive, the father and son must stay on the move down back roads, always on the brink of starvation.We learn a little about the past from the father's brief dream flashbacks -- the boy was born shortly after the nuclear war occurred. The mother has committed suicide several years ago. The only thing that keeps the wandering duo going is their love for each other and their vague sense of hope for something better."What are our long-term goals?" the boy asks at one point. The father, surprised to hear his own words in the boy's mouth, has no answer. "We've got to keep moving south...."Cormac McCarthy uses simple vocabulary, basic syntax and good storytelling to raise the most fundamental questions about humanity: Does the evil in our hearts ultimately outweigh the good? Is false hope better than no hope at all? Is survival always better than death? Is there anything in the world more powerful than a father's love for his son (or parents' love for their child)? Where does God go in the darkest hours of history?Elie Wiesel raised the same questions in his classic memoir of the holocaust "Night." McCarthy raises them again -- in this gut wrenching "sequel" set in modern day America. Kyrie eleison...

Left wanting

by Peter M. Bush "Peter Michael Bush"

I always think of great literary fiction as being low on action, but so compelling that you find you MUST read it in order to find out what is going to happen. I found myself, with The Road, slogging through to the end just to say I finished it. I suppose there was too much hype. I was told it was the greatest novel of all time, that classes could be taught on it and that it could slice bread. Rather than making me think, "hm? What can I take from this novel?" I wound up thinking, "huh. Something(s) seemed missing.This was my first McCarthy novel, as such, his style took me by surprise. I despise the fact that quotation marks are left out and that contractions get an apostrophe only when they do. Other than that, the literary aspect of the novel, his supposed perfect narrative, felt tacked on. As if to say: This here is a literary novel, in the darkness we lose meaning.The themes of the book are old hat for the most part, having been covered in Streiber and Straub's expansive Warday and Stephen King's The Stand and Cell. Heck even the low budget "A Boy and his dog" had similiar effects.What I did like and found interesting was the concept that when these things of the world pass away, they are gone forever, as if they never existed.There were some exceptional passages and some haunting thoughts, but the drudgery of their miserable lives does not make for compelling fiction. We are exposed to a lot of camping, a lot of hunger and a lot of dirt before we get to the crux. In the end, I felt that we are supoosed to laude the man's decision, but that decision lacks depth of consideration, lack of planning and utter selfishness.For me, the most obvious theme was that Man is evil, but a man can be good. It was the them that carried the most weight as McCarthy goes to great lengths to espouse the horror of what Man has become. As for Light vs. Dark, give me the original edition of The Stand anytime.What passes for great literature today does not hold up to the works of Steinbeck and Hemingway, or even to Lord of the Flies or the more contemporarty Mosquito Coast. McCarthy is likened to a modern day Faulkner, but there is an inherent pretentiousness to the idea that this is a literary novel of the highest order.Great line: "He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins."Unfortunately, we are left with an Every(Good)Man story that only hints at back story. Perhaps the point, but still very boring.

Love endures, even in the worst times

by Philip B. Yochim

"The Road" is a bare, grim story set in an even more grim world, one where hope is dead, but the love of a father and son remain.It's a minimalist story. An unnamed diaster has destroyed the world. The landscape is covered in ashes and dark snow, and the bitter cold breaks rocks.The forests are charred. Even common animals like cows and crows are extinct. An unnamed man and his unnamed son trudge in an unidentified portion of North America to an unspecified coast in a vain search for a better chance of survival. The man's unnamed wife committed suicide years ago. All the man and his boy have are a wobbly shopping cart of scavenged food and filthy blankets, and two bullets in the man's pistol. Cannibals prowl the landscape.The man and boy are almost always cold, hungry, wet, and dirty. Still they drag on, vainly clingly to hope. The man knows they are doomeed, but will not let himself or his son falter.Even though they know their situation is hopeless, the man and boy are still different. The man has sold himself to resignation for his son's sake, but the son still sees good in the world, attempting to help the few other travelers they meet.Any parent can sympathize with the father in the book. After reading this, I'll never be afraid to kiss my own children.

Powerful Masterwork

by Poogy

McCarthy is the kind of writer who can, in the space of a paragraph, or even a sentence, evaporate your fantasy that you, too, could write a novel with the best of them. His mastery of the language, of dialogue, and of description is extraordinary. Conversations between his characters are burned in my memory forever. There is no one else who can do what McCarthy can do.None of these qualities is at its peak in The Road, which remains a very worthwhile book. McCarthy's earlier style of dense, almost opaque descriptions has been stripped down greatly, and The Road is a very fast and easy read in comparison, perhaps even more so than No Country For Old Men. His entrancing language has been replaced by a subtle emotionality that remains tightly controlled and only becomes really evident when the experience is over--then you know you've read something written by a master.Although the novel is set in post-apocalyptic America, as in any excellent novel the setting is incidental, and could just as easily be viewed as a metaphor for everyday life: (most) people may not be literally cannibals, but our behavior towards each other may not always be all that different. The relationship between the only two developed characters is universal; after I finished, I felt like giving it to my son and saying "Here's how I feel about you."

Fantastic and very thought-provoking. Unique style of writing.

by Prabal "All paths lead to God..."

Really enjoyed the book. It is slightly difficult to understand as the writer seems to be a master of metaphor and his use of words and resulting sentences is something I don't remember coming across. The father-son bond is conveyed very beautifully. The man is almost feminine in his love for his son, but masculine in the way he protects his boy. The last few pages are heart-rendering and the end is open ended, as it should be.

The Road

by P. Robles "Love to read"

Interesting book. Loved the writing. Author kept me guessing all the way through and even now when I think of the book. Am sending it to my brother-in-law who loves to read. It is definitely not a soft and gentle book, but it is one that makes you think. I recommend it highly but be sure to read the synopsis of it before you delve in.

Post-apocalyptic world

by pswinn

Although the story in the novel was good I didn't like the way it was written, The copy I read didn't use correct puncuation and the sentences sometimes seemed to go on and on and on.

McCarthy's Masterpiece

by Quiet Summer "SummerKY"

It has been said that this is McCarthy's masterpiece. He won the pulitzer prize for this novel, so there is no higher acclamation than this.This novel is beautifully written, and by that I mean the language, because the world he writes about is anything but beautiful. This really is a look at the very worst of humanity and the very best. The unspeakable atrocities that people are capable of in a time of desperation in stark contrast to those people who manage to still cling to hope. The man's devotion to his son, even among his own despair, is beautiful; he looks at his son's face and he gets up and goes on. And the boy, who is, to spite being born into this terrible new world, full of compassion for not only other people, but creatures as well. These two, the main characters are the beauty in an otherwise dark and horrifying world. We need this balance in order to get through this story and McCarthy is a true master.It has been remarked that this book is very dark, but I prefer to think of it as gray, because that is the new world in this novel, ash and dust and gray skies with no blue and no sun. In this depiction you come away with a feeling of appreciation for the simple things: the ocean, sunlight, the light blue of early morning.This book is presented in a very unconventional way, the man and the boy never have names, their dialogue is not in quotation marks and is not very often identified, but you know who is speaking simply because the two characters are so well drawn, that it is clear in your mind, or atleast it was in mine.This book is not for a quick beach side read, this is a work of literature, it's harrowing, thought provoking and at times disturbing, but it still manages to identify what is good in the human spirit.I highly recommend it to anyone interested in something a little more substantial in its undertaking.

The Road Of Destruction

by R. A. Barricklow "Scaramouche"

Take a dark journey on a postapocalyptic road, with a father and his son. It is a cold, stark, barren, lifeless empty world. Sudden terror! And then back to starving and no where to hide, no where to run. So real is this world; you have no doubt of its existence. You feel their plight only too well. You know where its ending, still you turn the pages. Any realist cannot but dread, are we headed down that road?For the father and son, so beautifully drawn in this novel, there was no turning back, no way in hell out, for their journey had arrived, they we there: on road of destruction.It is IPSO FACTO. Can we help the father and son before THE ROAD?Highly Recommended!!!

A view from England

by Rainmaker

I'm not a Cormac McCarthy mindreader so all of the following may be rubbish, but here's my take on this book:- The whole book is entirely a metaphor. There's nothing literal or factual in it at all. We can't determine whether it's the aftermath of a nuclear or environmental catastrophe because the question is simply immaterial because the literal landscape and the literal journey don't exist. It's a story the author wants you to take as a parable. The landscape is dismal because the landscape and tribulations that can beset your own soul can be dismal. The man is you, and the boy is the fire within you that you have to hold, nurture, and, eventually pass on without any agreement from you. In stoking this fire you are stoking the fire that God himself put in you. It is his unconditional caring for the boy, in his caring for the fire, which makes the father human, and seperates him, and by implication, you, from the beasts whether the beasts have four legs or two.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

by rainpebble

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

Dark tale

by Randy Cook

'The Road' is the story of a father and son making there way through a wasteland after some global disaster (war?). Cormac McCarthy story is set is a world devoid of plant and animal life, filled with ash, cold, and lacking sunshine.The story set in such a stark world is told with just as stark writing. McCarthy uses very little prose to tell such a deep and moving tale. We get very little background as to what happened and to how this journey started. I have gathered that the duo are moving south to escape the cold and hope to find more 'good guys'.It is a very moving story, watching the two travelers move from place to place, from highs and lows. It is a story of a father's love for his son. How to keep faith and hope alive in such a bleak world. While the setting gets very depressing the reader can be moved by how the travelers manage to keep going. It is a very dark story, but one worth the read.

The Road - A Post-Apocalyptic Classic

by Ray J. Palen Jr. "Ray"

Cormac McCarthy's writing is different then nearly any other writer out there today. Some find his style a bit disarming and cannot get past the narratives that don't include speaker names or quotation marks. I say, if you can get past the unusual style, you are in for a visual and intellectual treat.This book us unlike any of McCarthy's prior novels and is no where near "No Country For Old Men" in style. This tale of a nameless father and son wandering the wastelands of a long destroyed America is one of the most real and tender post-apocalyptic depictions I've ever read. There is no need for explanations of why or how - the reader is simply thrown directly into the "world" these two characters find themselves in. They are in a world with little food or shelter and have no idea where or why they are moving towards "the coast".It reads quickly but leaves quite an impression. I will be very curious to see if the film version does this great novel any justice.

Brilliant, dark but hopeful view of humanity

by R. C. Kopf "curtis kopf"

The Road tells the simple story of a man and his son (they are not named in the book) struggling to survive and find meaning in a post-Apocalytpic world. The novel carries many of McCarthy's signature touches -- brilliant language, violence, a grim view of human nature and an Old Testament flavor. But this book is more endearing and hopeful than other McCarthy works, with its focus on the tender love between the man and his son, as well as its enduring belief in the goodness of humankind, even in the worst circumstances.

An Incredible Journey

by RCM "beckahi"

I'm not sure what can be said about Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" that hasn't already been said. His vision of a postapocalyptic America is bleak and desolate, a fearsome possibility tinged by the tenacity of love. It is more than the tale of its two central characters, a father and son making a seemingly endless trip to the coast; it is a tale about the essence of what it means to be human, what it means to have faith, what it means to hope."The Road" begins after the unnamed catastrophe, most likely a nuclear attack, has occurred. Readers are introduced to a father and son who are eeking out a meagre survival as they try to make sense of what it means to carry on. Along their journey they find some bounties out of sheer luck, but also must defend themselves against the lawless bands that patrol the road and are only contented by bloodshed. The father acts as a narrator, and in flashbacks, readers can see moments of the past as the narrator tries to live in a world where the past is no longer a possibility or anything that he can pass on to his son in this new world. Despite all their hardships and the increasing likelihood of death, they keep trekking towards the coast, even if they do not know what awaits them there.Cormac McCarthy is a brilliant storyteller, interjecting poetry into his stilted prose and sparse sentences. The bleak landscape is brought to vivid life; it is a world not hard to imagine. "The Road" is a compelling read, a book that is extremely difficult to put down and one that will certainly leave readers hungry for more.

Horror literature

by reader 451

Enough reviews already, so I'll cut to the chase. The style. It's actually easier than most Cormac McCarthy. Sentences are cut. Descriptions lapidary. Single words. But it fits the bare and depleted world of The Road. It works.The story is horrifying. Rape, impalements, cannibals: that sort of thing. It doesn't pretend to psychological or even anthropological veracity. The apocalypse that has taken place isn't explained. It is there for the thrill, and a good, scary, first-class thrill is what you will get.For a subtler, more argued, and emotionally filled version of a post-cataclysm world, see Auster's In the Country of Last Things. Then there is Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano, which will make you reflect how much American culture has changed since the 1950s.

Fascinating, horrifying, heartbraking, wonderful, un-put-downable.....

by Reader "toronto-reader"

I read this book in one sitting. I can't remember the last time I did that. I've started re-reading it in order to savour it a second time and make sure that I picked up on all the details. Reading the book is like being inside of a bad dream, and yet I enjoyed reading it so much I was disappointed when I was finished.I won't spoil anything by discussing the details, but I will say you won't be able to put it down.

What a day brightener... not

by Renfield "Up the Irons"

Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country For Old Men, has an interesting twang to his writing- he does it in a way nobody's ever seen before. And here, he doesn't use punctuation, he makes us feel like we're seeing this actually happen. I have not read a McCarthy book before reading this book, although I did see the movie "No Country For Old Men" and absolutely loved it. I hope to sit down and watch the movie of "The Road". So I picked up the book.At 287 pages, The Road manages to be a "never-a-dull-moment" read. The story is very fast paced, and you'll be able to read it in one day, like I did. It is not a happy read- it is a very depressing and bleak book, and a lot of sadness happens. The world has just survived the apocalypse. Very little people are left alive. Our protagonists, a man and his son, both nameless, have survived and are making their way across the city to carry on life. They make various stops along the way, because it's hard to find food or anyone else living. They grow increasingly weak with each day, and they do everything in their power to survive.This book may sound plotless, but it isn't. But for what it is, it's so complex, with so many layers of the story, and the whole time your breath is held for the characters. In all, I recommend this book!

Go lick an ashtray and wash it down with sewer water.

by Richard Dicanio "Rick DiCanio"

This tale of apocalyptic earth is a wonderfully descriptive and disturbing look at just what we could face when the term "nuclear winter" comes to mind.It is a brutal outlook to say the least and McCarthy continues to pound it in with the power of steel sledge hammer meeting anvil.The basics of life, food,safety,warmth,sleep,sex and piece of mind are all compromised and replaced with fear,hunger,despair and horror.Two are left to the characters,a father and son,hope and love,with not much else.Survival in such a scenario is bleak at best and one can only hope to be vaporized instantly if the bombs start falling.I say bombs because that was my own interpretation.The hows and whys are never really addressed in explaining just what did occur.It is full of lasting imagery and is very tactile.Reading this book makes you feel cold,you can almost palpate the heat of the fire,you taste the ash falling everywhere,you feel dirty,and hungry.You can sense the constant fear with every step but most of all a growing paranoia envelops you right up to the end.Mad Max,The Day After,A Boy and His Dog and for some strange reason Charlton Heston kept popping into my mind as I read.You won't want to put it down because every page brings new challenges and being on the road with this couple is an emotional roller coaster as they journey toward a core goal.The constant search for food,water and dry heat makes one appreciate what we do have and stand to loose if the right disaster strikes.If the earth dies,so do we plain and simple.Maybe not right away but life would be most unpleasant.The Road will take you there instantly.I don't know if it is worthy of a Pulitzer but it is written in an unusual style enabling you to zip through it quickly.It captures a global concern and reduces it to a minimalistic, isolated struggle.Hopefully mankinds urge to survive until the last person is standing never has to be put to the test as it was in The Road.Read it,file it away and think about it the next time you hear the term 'Cold War' which may be sooner than you think.

Gripping, gritty, gruesome, grrrr

by Richard

Great book. Cormac Mccarthy has a wonderful knack for writing easy to read, yet dark and compelling fiction. Set in the Mad Max 2 style post apolcalyptic near future, this is a hugely enjoyable horror thriller, even if it is a little flawed (but so are most horrors technically). Borrrowing from many other ideas, not least of all that low budget flick 28 Days Later of which it shares a number of ideas (all good mind). If you like your horrors, gruesome, dark and not loaded with unneccesary overblown attention to detail then The Road is near perfect. This is probably Mccarthy's best novel along with Blood Meridian and The Crossing. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but the cover of The Road is, well, just plain dark, so judge away. I actually enjoyed this so much I'm tempted to read it again within a week. That's the highest praise I can give.

It Touched Me Deeply

by Richard Pittman

This is abook that inspires a lot of different opinions. I always enjoy reading the One Star reviews of books that I love to keep me honest about my biases.There are lots of One Star reviews of The Road and I don't for a second think they're wrong. This book does NOT have an intricate plot. The punctuation is unconventional. The dialogue is sparse. The mood is consistently bleak. The details of the horrible post-nuclear circumstances are never explained.So why are so many people so touched by it? For me, it simply hits all of my overwhelming, instinctive, crazy parental fears about protecting my children. It scores an absolute, direct hit on how much I love my children and to what lengths I would go to protect them.I relate to every agonizing step that the father and son take and I was completely emotionally bought in while reading the book.I've purchased this book as a gift for many people and talked to many others about it. Most people, like me, love the book, read it very quickly and are on pins and needles for the entire novel. It is a harrowing read. One friend described completing the book while at her daughter's swimming class and completely breaking down crying upon finishing.There are a couple of people I know who simply didn't relate and didn't really care for it. One friend told me he was halfway through and wondered if anything was going to happen.This is a story of a father and son and their struggle in unimaginable circumstances. If you're not gripped within the first 20 pages then maybe it's not for you.I loved it and it really is one of my favourites of all time.

Stark and unforgiving

by Rich Stoehr "Idle Rich"

There's something about Cormac McCarthy books that just doesn't resonate for me. I read all three books of the Border trilogy and wasn't as dazzled as everyone else was, and I never planned to read another. When 'The Road' came out, it was recommended to me by several people who know of my love for apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories. I decided to give McCarthy another shot...and once again, I find I am not as impressed as so many others are.'The Road' is a simple story of a father and son trying to survive in a world devastated by some sort of disaster. The disaster itself is never really described in detail, but we see the aftermath and that is enough. There isn't much of a plot in the traditional sense, just a description of the day-to-day struggle to avoid violent confrontation, stay healthy, and find enough food to survive. The descriptions of settings and characters are spare and stark, very black-and-white in nature. Dialogue is minimal. Like the Border trilogy, very little of the characters' motivations or state of mind is described or even implied with any depth, leaving much up to the reader's interpretation...perhaps too much for my taste.As post-apocalyptic stories go, 'The Road' is successful in some ways and fails in others. Because of the stark nature of the prose, it's a very distant and cold sort of story, but in this sort of story I prefer a more personal perspective. In this sense, Stephen King's 'The Stand' is a much more successful book, placing rich and full-bodied characters in a post-apocalyptic situation. To a lesser extent, King's 'Cell' works better too. Perhaps the best example, though, is Jose Saramago's 'Blindness', in which the characters are never named, but we still get to know them on a very intimate level. The situation in 'Blindness' is original, and the stories of the characters drive it forward in a compelling way to a moving conclusion.I never felt compelled by 'The Road,' though. Much like the characters, I slogged my way through to the end and then moved on, detached and disaffected. The idea is good and I can respect the unique take on it, but for me, there are just better books than this. 'The Road' is distant, cold, unrelenting...ultimately too much so.

Poetry of Despair Back On The Road

by R. J MOSS

Cormac McCarthy confirms the contention that an artist has only one story which they refine throughout their working life. He has, on the course, shifted and expanded his cast and locales. But his imprint is firmly embedded, his voice(and I've thought often of David Eugene Edwards in his 16 Horsepower years, even Johnny Dowd as American musical fellow travellers)clear from the start.From,'Orchard Keeper','Outer Dark', 'Suttree', 'Blood Meridian','Pretty Horses', to 'The Road', the intensity of his bleak vision is paradoxically thrilling. My one hiccup was,'No Country For Old Men' where McCarthy's mastery of dark language and acutely dour rythyms seemed to desert him, as if he'd succumbed to his own forbodings. Then, of all places, in Sicily, whose public spaces clearly are a place for old men, I noticed that title in translation in a bookshop indicating that the Cohens had opted for its movie treatment. Perhaps this explained its relative freedom from profoundly internalised language. Now my confidence in McCarthy's powers has been restored, though I wonder how long he can sustain them. Where can you go from the cheerless zone of ,'The Road', especially when the outside world more closely resembles Mccarthy's fiction, as if the ghosts of'The Orchard Keeper', buried decades past, now walk among us? The book is presented in brief passages like news bulletins, clipped but poetically pitch-perfect. p150'Bleak dawn to the east. The alien sun commencing its cold transit'. Or a few pages later,p152 beginning,'They began to come upon from time to time...' writing that is at once tough and tender, stripped to essentials, anonymous people and places, the weather a doomed curtain, the ocean equally unpromising. That said, there is a glimmer provided by a changing of the guard when the boy is taken in by another family of walkers.If my mind veered through the reading it was only pausing on like-minded literature, William Golding's,'Pincher Martin' or recent John Crace, though I hasten to add, McCarthy's prose has no peer. Prepare for devastation.

A bleak, dark post-apocalyptic tale.

by R. Nicholson

"The Road" is a work of fiction by Cormac McCarthy.*SPOILER*This is a story of a man and his young son (maybe 9 or 10 yrs old) and the relationship between them as they struggle to survive. Because survival here is not usually by the fittest, but more likely by the most vigilant, the most ruthless and occasionally, by the luckiest.The world is in an ever deepening apocalyptic winter that occurred after an event that happened several years previously. So the goal is to go south (to where it is hopefully warmer) and find/steal any previously unfound food/clothing and try to find somewhere safe to spend the long black nights. But paramount to things mentioned in the last sentence, is to avoid the 'bad guys'...not easily done.*End SPOILER*A pleasant book?...decidedly not! In fact, this is one of the darkest books I've ever read...the ongoing bleakness, the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and futility seems to weigh heavily on the reader as he gets deeper and deeper into this living nightmare.However, towards the end of the book I became acutely aware of the loving, trusting relationship between father and son. I probably should had perceived this relationship earlier on but I was 'blinded' to it for much of the book because of the many repetitive one or two word conversations they shared throughout much of the novel. In fact, it is hard to grasp the 'sensitivity' of the relationship between the two (both who BTW, remain nameless throughout) while actually reading this story. It wasn't until after I finished the book and reflected on the dire situation that confronted them on a seemingly moment to moment basis, that I began to develop a sense of appreciation for what McCarthy has written here.Conclusion:A bleak, dark novel...definitely not for everyone's tastes, but it does have some reflective moments in it. And maybe the human spirit to endure and survive, to never give up, has never been better demonstrated. 4 1/2 Stars

Post Apocalyptic World Bad!!!

by Rob "Coolerking"

Open this book to any page and begin reading.Repeat this whenever you return to read more.It doesn't matter, it will be the same thing happening. Heck, you can skip 20 or so pages and not miss any plot.The same thing happens over and over relentlessly, like the diary of an Alzheimer's patient.So this must be what makes Cormac MacCormac so great: he has a perfectly circular and repetitive style of writing.It's like he wrote one chapter and repeated it until the predictable ending.So if you enjoy reading about a miserable day after day in the life of some guy and then he dies, this is for you.

Another winner from McCarthy (surprise, surprise!)

by Robert Beveridge "xterminal"

Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)There's a fantastic scene about halfway through The Road, Cormac McCarthy's brilliant new novel, that sketches out the entire situation in relatively few words, illuminating most of the novel's subtexts, conflicts, and thrusts in one small prayer that is not recognized as such by the character who's speaking it. It comes out of nowhere, and is magical-- a small miracle in the middle of a vast American wasteland.Much the same could be said of The Road itself. For the first time in recorded history, the notoriously sparse output of Cormac McCarthy has included two books in the space of fifteen months. (For that matter, this is the first time there hasn't been at least twenty-four months between McCarthy novels-- and he only got that frequent with the Border trilogy.) In any case, this would be an embarrassment of riches, but it's all the better when the two books put out so close to one another are so good. No Country for Old Men was classic McCarthy, spare, ugly, and violent; The Road is something entirely different, and yet still classic McCarthy in many ways.It is ostensibly a science fiction novel, but where genre is concerned, one would be hard-pressed to tell it from one of McCarthy's usual western survival thrillers. (And when you think about it, how many sci-fi novels have seemed rather like western survival thrillers?) We are in America somewhere, and we open about three hundred miles from the coast. What coast we do not know, although our main characters have to travel South to get there. Something devastating happened to America a number of years ago-- recent enough that a presumably middle-aged man has some memories of what life was like before, distant enough that a presumably preadolescent boy does not. These, father and son, are our two main characters, and McCarthy comes relatively close (with the exception of characters encountered in memory, the two have only direct contact with four others throughout the entire novel) to achieving the two-person narrative. The book is essentially plotless; it is the story of the father and son's journey to the coast.McCarthy's somewhat odd turn towards readability continues, as well; we're used to the big, sweeping epic scope of a Cormac McCarthy novel. The Road is an entirely different animal altogether; it's almost a bedtime story. It reads like nobody's business-- fast and hard. Which is pretty amazing for a plotless novel. (Think of Stephen King releasing the story of Trashy's journey through the desert in The Stand as its own book, and you start to get the idea.) The entire thing is character-driven, and yet it is compulsively readable. You get to love these characters, and you get to do so quickly, despite the many reasons we have not to like them.As well, the simplicity here is deceptive; there's a whole lot going on underneath the surface. McCarthy has, in fact, written another big, sweeping epic, with all the usual moral quandaries, shifting subtexts, and subtle characterization, he's just packed it all in a surprisingly small and easy-to-read box. This is a book that, twenty years from now, will have as many masters' theses written about it as Blood Meridian does now. It is, in fact, his best effort since that book. If you are already a Cormac McCarthy fan, you will want to queue up outside the bookstore on October 2nd, 2006; if you're not already a fan, this is just about the best book of McCarthy's you could possibly start with. Easily one of the finest novels of 2006. ****

One of the most powerful novels I have ever read

by Robert Moore

I have long thought that Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy are perhaps the two greatest living American novelists. This novel has fully reinforced that opinion. While I've had nothing but enormous respect for McCarthy, I've frankly found his books to be a bit too depressing to enjoy. I marveled at his poetry-like prose in books like BLOOD MERIDIAN, even while finding them too violent. THE ROAD isn't a feel-good book, but despite the nightmarish world that it depicted, it is a profoundly moving one. It is also far and away the most human of McCarthy's books.The story is a simple one. The earth has been devastated, denuded of all life except a very small number of humans. Since there is no other life, whether plant or animal, eating becomes an overarching concern and is not, for some survivors, restricted to old human canned food. Cannibalism is something to which many resort. It has becomes Hobbes's universe, where life is "nasty, brutish, and short." We don't know what has reduced the earth to such a condition. There is apparently no radiation, which would seem to rule out nuclear conflagration, but on the other hand we see the man and boy in the story come across numerous signs of the world destroyed by fire. What has obliterated life is not important to the story; what is important is that the two main characters in the story, a man and his boy, are striving to flee from the frigid temperatures of the north to warmer weather in the south. Appropriately, to each other they affirm that they are carrying with them "the fire." This is not literal fire, but the fire of living, the refusal to give up, the insistence on preserving their humanity, to be one of the "good guys."In keeping with the simplicity of the story, McCarthy employs a clean, plain prose style, much simpler than what one encounters in his other novels. His sentences, like life in the novel, have been reduced to the bare minimum. So also with the events in the story. Highpoints are reduced to finding dried out apples or old cans of food. And the Man is a genuinely heroic figure.The end of the novel - which I won't reveal - is one of the most moving that I have ever read. In the hands of a lesser writer it might have come across as too neat, but it felt right. I defy anyone not to cry like a little baby in the novel's final pages.I have to thank my brother for encouraging me to read this. I knew about it, of course, given McCarthy's stature as a writer, but I usually have so many books that I'm hoping or planning to read that it is hard to squeeze new books in. But my brother convinced me that this was something that I would need to read sooner rather than later. He, by the way, is currently working on a critical survey of eco-disaster fiction. This novel, as one of the finest dystopian novels ever written, will play a major role in his study.I strongly recommend this novel to any mature reader. I do not recommend this for beginning readers. Just notice the low ratings given the book by students who have been forced to read it for classes. But I can't imagine any competent, experienced reader not finding this brilliant novel as anything less than a masterpiece.

The Fire Inside of You

by Robin Friedman

Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road" is spare, minimalist and bleak. The book tells the story of a father and his young son, both unnamed, as they wander the wasteland of what was America in the aftermath of an unspecified catastrophe. Civilization has ended, dead bodies are everywhere, as are the rusting remnants of culture. The few survivors resort to cannibalism and to mutual distrust, and we have a Hobbseian picture of the "war of all against all".McCarthy makes full use of the depressing, ravaged character of his story. The paragraphs are spare, the two protagonists speak tersely, laconically, and obliquely to each other (sometimes no more than "ok", "ok") and the scenes can be chilling as father and son, the "good guys" fight against others to stay alive and frequently act callously. Yet, I think there is more underlying this book, and its ultimate message is one of fortitude.A major theme of the book is the love of the father for his son, as the father stays with his child and protects him, come what may. Another theme is the possibility of goodness, as the child protests on several occasions on the cruelties which the father deems necessary to practice on others in order to stay alive and to preserve the life of his son. The book is, in a sense a tribute to the values of the lives we currently enjoy and take for granted, as ruins from that life -- everything from ships, roads, grand pianos, books, and coca-cola -- make their cameo appearances to remind the reader of the value of life in the everyday.Throughout the book, the father encourages the son to hope and discourages him from giving up or for indulging an understandable wish for death. There is a sense of a spiritual search in the journey for a distant and possibly non-existent God who remains present as an ideal. At the end of the novel, the father exhorts his son to "carry the fire" and when pressed for an explanation he explains:" It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it." (p.234) The message is tough and hard but with more than an edge of hope.This book reminded me of the cliched poem "Invictus" by William Earnest Henley:"Out of the night that covers meBlack as the Pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may beFor my uncomquerable soul".I found this a good book, but it was ultimately predictable in its themes and approach.Robin Friedman


by Rocke Harder "Mr Pineapples"

This book propelled me along - it was as if I was walking that road with the man and the boy - feeling their fears and exploring this new world they were in.The paragraphs are short and encapsulate their daily routines of never-ending searching for food, building fires, finding shelters and hiding from predators. All the time I am thinking: why are they doing this? Where are they going and what do they expect to find at the end of their journey? Where does their hope lie?I appreciate for some this might seem like a book of desolation and in many ways it is: the world has been all but demolished by some catastrophe (the author doesn't say what) - but the human spirit (in some) remains alive and hope never dies.The love from the man to his son is very inspirational - he protects always and never complains - always tells him it will be alright and they plow on. The son acts as the man's conscience and reminds him that he must always do the right thing - for instance going back to help the old man.This book is fantastically well written - almost poetical - - with beautiful and memorable prose. I came across a lot of new words - such as "torsional"This book will live in my memory for a long time to come - I will buy it for friends and family - to gird them up when life becomes burdensome - to remind them that we should never give up in our hearts.My definite book of the year 2011.

A Father's Love

by Roger Brunyate "reader/writer/musician"

Post-Apocalyptic fiction is not normally a genre that interests me, but this took hold from the first pages and wouldn't let go. An unnamed man journeys with his young son through a devastated landscape that must once have been the Southeastern United States. Most people have died in some unexplained catastrophe, but there is still danger from sparse groups of survivors living by cannibalism. Through ingenuity, luck, and sheer determination, the man shepherds his boy through the Appalachian Mountains to the coast, in the slim hope of meeting up with others who have not lost their humanity. What lifts and sustains the book is the same as what sustains the central pair: the deep love of the father for his son. It is impossible to see them together without being aware of a heart-stopping beauty -- a beauty that shines even through that ash-shrouded darkness.

Lives up to its reputation in spades

by Ronald H. Clark

This novel has been out for a while and has attracted a good deal of critical praise in the process. I had never gotten around to reading it until the Dean of the National Cathedral here in Washington made reference to it a sermon as manifesting important insights into the trouble insecurities we currently face in the post 9/11 world. Well, I don't know about that, but it certainly is a gripping read and a real page turner. This is one of those postapocalyptic stories, after some horrible disaster (usually man-made) has decimated the planet leaving a bleak environment and few survivors. The central characters are a father and his young son (probably 11 or 12 years old) as they are on "The Road" walking seeking some manner of escape and always in quest for food. I had never read any Cormac McCarthy but his style in this novel is very interesting: the dialogue is flat, almost mechanical; we never learn what caused the disaster; we do not know in which country the story takes place; the zombie-like folks who present a serious risk to the survivors remain clouded in mystery since we don't know what made them into whatever they are. But the survivors are always on the move, never knowing what they will encounter. So the chills and suspense are abundant. I was not too pleased with the ending, but that is a minor consideration in comparison with the great merit of the novel. Now that I think about it, perhaps the Dean was correct in his assessment.

end of the world?

by Ron Braithwaite "Hummingbird God"

I very much enjoyed the tale, probably more for the story of the relationship of a man with his son during a time of incredible hardship, rather than for the larger tale of an apocalyptic asteroidal, cometary or nuclear winter.I am not one who believes that an author needs to follow grammatical conventions as long as his unconventionality is easy to read and follow. In the case of 'The Road', however, the author veers too far from the grammatical path and I found the story hard to follow. I had to reread entire passages to avoid confusion....which makes for a slow and difficult read.Still, the story itself is compelling, albeit illogical. Virtually all complex life has succumbed to an unspecified disaster...the consequence of which is a global cooling cutting off photosynthesis, killing plant and animal life. The pitiful remnants of humanity wander the wasteland eeking out an existence based on the occasional finds of food and other items from the previously fecund mankind.What caused this holocaust? The author doesn't tell us but there are hints. The skies are gray [suspended smoke and dust?] permitting little sunlight to come through. The surface of the earth is cold to outright freezing. Despite this, there is evidence of broad zones of fiery destruction. It is reminiscent of the asteroidal [cometary?] apocalypse that supposedly destroyed the dinosaurs and many other species.Although the author doesn't specify the cause, the cause would not seem to be 'nuclear winter' because the protagonists seem not to be experiencing radiation sickness nor do they appear to be concerned about radiation. Nevertheless, the scenario, although harrowing, is less than realistic. Plants and animals, probably after suffering near extinctions during the late Cretaceous and Permian periods, did rebound. Somehow, though, 'The Road's' apocalypse would seem to be more terminal. Except for the barking of a dog, there is no evidence of living plants or animals except for pitiful human survivors.Let me postulate that 1] a simultaneous detonation of all the nuclear weapons in the world would not produce an apocalypse of late Cretaceous dimensions. 2] a massive asteroidal hit large enough to destroy all complex life, would quickly...probably instantaneously...destroy all humans, as well.Even so, the story of the man trying, against all odds, to protect his small son against inevitable fate, is touching.Ron Braithwaite, author of novels...'Skull Rack' and 'Hummingbird God'...on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico.

Brilliant!! But not for the faint of heart.


McCarthy requires the reader to draw upon their own deepest strength to follow "the road" with his characters.

Post Apocalytpic Roaming

by Roy Pickering "Roy L. Pickering Jr. - Author ...

I expected another good read from this Cormac McCarthy book and as usual he did not disappoint. If you're looking for optimism or to be uplifted, steer clear of this novel. If you can appreciate a masterly set tone of isolation and despair, a brilliant exploration of survival instincts, and a somber ode to parental love in a post apocalyptic setting, this is just the book for you.

A Tale of Hope in a Hopeless World

by R. Silva "Rick Silva"

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthyA father and son, neither of them named, travel south across a scorched and empty landscape that was once America. McCarthy's post-apocalyptic setting is a dying world seemingly devoid of hope. The story takes place ten years after an unspecified and almost entirely unexplained event brought a fiery end to civilization.Only two brief flashback scenes take the reader back to the moment of destruction, which might have been a nuclear war, or possibly a series of meteor strikes, or something else entirely. There were explosions, the power went out, and everything began to burn. That's all the explanation that McCarthy is interested in giving, and in a story that is largely metaphorical, the details of how it all happened are not entirely necessary.Interestingly, though, McCarthy chooses to focus on meticulous levels of detail when it comes to survival in the post-apocalyptic world. The father's survival skills, as well as his every mistake, are brought to light through copious detail of every useful remnant scavenged and every precaution taken.The Road paints a bleak picture of humanity as well. Father and son push a grocery cart along the road with a scavenged motorcycle mirror clamped to the cart to watch their backs, and a pistol with only a couple of bullets remaining at the ready. Father assures son that they are "the good guys" in a world where people have turned to cannibalism and rape as a way of life.McCarthy writes in a format that is as relentless as the harsh world he has envisioned. No chapters to break up the narrative, and no quotations around the dialogue.Interestingly, the dialogue between father and son, while understated, is one of the strongest aspects of this book. McCarthy has a way of conveying what is left unsaid through the simple communication, much as he is able to address questions of life, death, and hope in his descriptions of moment-to-moment details.This is a good book on multiple levels, and definitely worth a read whether or not you are normally into post-apocalyptic SF.


by R. Smith

This book is incredible. Somehow, despite working 8 to 5, I was able to finish this book in a single day. I'm a fast reader, but I don't think I've ever shred through a book this fast and feel so impacted by it at the same time. Despite the tragedy, you should find good in this book...

A very well written book

by Sahra Badou "Bibliophile"

This is a fun and entertaining book that is extremely well written. It is the story of a father and his son in a post-apocalyptic world. It is a very touching story. However, don't expect any twists to the story line. This is not a thriller to keep you at the edge of your seat. This is a very human story told in a very human way in beautifully written prose. It is a story of relationships, trust, and survival.The main comment I have is that we do not learn much about the characters or what happened to the world to bring it to such extinction. Was it a nuclear war? A natural catastrophe? Why are some people good and others bad (cannibals)? Answers are not given. Furthermore, the whole story is about survival, with no twists, as mentioned above. So some readers might find the book tedious, repetitious, and boring!I highly recommend the audiobook, and found it to be much more captivating than reading the book. The narrator does an excellent job with the dialogues, bringing the characters to life.

father and son in a post apocalyptic world

by sally tarbox

I found this something of a chore to be honest. The writing style didn't keep me focussed, especially for the first 100 pages or so.As the Man and the Boy travel through a post apocalyptic country, fighting against cold and hunger and avoiding the gangs of cannibals, I couldn't help thinking this would have been better pruned down somewhat.The most moving aspect of the novel for me was loss of innocence in the Boy's having to confront the reality of their situation: their impotence to help others for fear of losing their own lives. Although the Man repeatedly tells the child that they are the good guys, the Boy can't square that with what he sees.And after an unremittingly stark novel I'm not sure that the end wasn't unrealistically optimistic.For a truly horrific tale of a futuristic world, Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never let me go' wins hands down.

The Road 2006

by Sam Adams

Plot Kernel - It's the end of civilization and the people are nearly gone. A man and a boy walk south. They have a plastic tarp, a grocery store pushcart with a mirror attached to see behind them, and knapsacks on their backs. The man has a revolver. Along the way they speak in grammatically simple, short, childish sentences like characters in an old Dick and Jane learning-to-read book. There are no quotation marks. Do you see that? Yes, I see that. What is it? I don't know. Of course you don't. Are we going to die? Of course we are. Oh, I am afraid. The narrator drops his verbs. The wind cold. The hunger and thirst and cold. Everything ashes and dried and burnt. Memories of her. Fear inside them. The poetry of apocalypse around them. He breaks sentences in two. They sat down. Sipping water. Such poetry. Give the man acclaim. This is so wrenching. Award him a Pulitzer. I am about to weep.

Beware - this book will alter your mood !

by sandra papas "sandy"

I read this book last year well before Oprah and most other people got hold of it. It left me comepletely speechless.There are a thousand reviews here telling you what it's about. I'm hear to warn you how it will make you FEEL.Be very careful of your state of mind before embarking on this novel. You will read it in a day or two and it will leave you emotionaly assaulted. I am a faily unemotional person who was reduced to a blubbering mess. I picked a fight with my husband and drove my friends insane forcing them to read it. Luckily they all love it ( if that word can be used appropriately with this subject matter).The most thought provoking book I have ever read.


by Sarah Few

Not a bad book. I didn't enjoy the lack of punctuation though (the English freak coming out in me.) It was a very quick read and I would recommend it to someone who wants a change in novel reading.

In Love There is Hope

by Sara W.

In a post-apocalyptic future, the Earth has been ravaged, nothing left but cold and ash. In this inhospitable world, there is a road, and on that road a nameless man and boy on an endless journey of survival. They encounter few, starving and frozen, and those they do encounter are as wretched as they.This story is heartbreaking in so many ways. The contrast between the desolation of the world and the love between father and son was so incredibly well written that I felt on the verge of tears through most of the novel. The emotions were so vividly expressed that I felt them along with the characters. There were moments of such stunning beauty and insight throughout, particularly when they met the old man in the road and shared their fire with him. Set against the bleak world and the overriding sense of desperation and fear, those moments are all the more beautiful.I know some found this book to be overwhelmingly dark and depressing, but for me all I came away with was a sense of hope and even inspiration. This may be one of the best and truest love stories I have ever read. And in love, there is hope.I half read and half listened to this book, and I rather wish I had just read. I felt that the narrator, Tom Stechschulte, read the story just a bit too fast, and I rather disliked the voice he gave the man. He came across as scary, and you couldn't hear any love or kindness in his voice at all when speaking to the boy. Given the style in which it was written, I can't help but feel that this is a book that looses something when heard rather than read. The text is a quintessential part of the experience.This is a book that has been on my to be read list since it was first released, and I am so thankful I finally took the time to read it. Cormac McCarthy is clearly a master at his craft, and has inspired me to start writing again. I look forward to reading more of his novels, and can't recommend this one enough.

Chilling Scenario

by Sargon

I would hope the future isn't this bleak but it could happen. This is writing at it's best though--in prose style. Some sentences are so elegant, I don't even know what he's saying, but like French, it sure sounds nice. For anyone in ill-health, this cross country trek would be a difficult slog to duplicate. I've done such cross country treks (Special Forces training) and it's not easy. It's exhausting.The ending was especially sad. I hope mankind would not stoop to such barbaric depths but we've proven we are capable of it.

Stunning prose..... haunting, horrific and ultimately humanely tender!

by Savvy-Suz "A Book holds a house of Gold."

What McCarthy has done in THE ROAD is magically and masterfully unique! I have never had a novel plague my present thoughts with such penetrating percipience.Long after the closing of the last tear stained page, THE ROAD winds back, weaving uncertainties, begging the old question of 'what if everything I believe in is wrong?'Are you traveling on the endless road of 'godlessness' or on the one with a 'guiding god?' Each reader will take away conclusions based on his or her ethical reality or moral certitude and those beliefs will be tested!One of the passages that still shadows me is found on pages 88-89 of the paperback edition: "He tried to think of something to say but he could not. He'd had this feeling before, beyond the numbness and the dull despair. The world shrinking down around a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things in to oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he would have thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever."Are we losing our moral compass, dimming our senses, inviting an apocalyptic wasteland, a nuclear winter? What is it that is fading away, leading to "the numbness and the dull despair?"In spite of the strong setting of the book, the strength of it's soul lies in the unwavering love between father and son. From the opening lines: " 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 beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset on some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath."We are given both hope and hopelessness in this rare book that resonates so acutely on both the personal and the universal levels.Eventually, we come to realize that Cormac McCarthy has wisely crafted a novel void of color, yet deeply intense, painted with a veritable verbal palette of staggering prose in an enigmatic setting. Within this landscape, he gives each of us our very own path on which to ponder a destination, our very own personal image of the immanent 'moral road.'He guides us finally to the water, he leads us with the light. The future is ultimately left in our hands!Some controversy has ensued over the choice of this book for the Pulitzer this year. Many feel some of his earlier works were more deserving. Given the discussion and dept of reactions to THE ROAD, I'm reminded of an observation by the famous writer/poet, Luis Borges."The fate of a writer is strange. He begins his career by being a baroque writer, pompously baroque, and after many years, he might attain if the stars are favorable, not simplicity, which is nothing, but rather a modest and secret complexity." -Jorge Luis BorgesDoes this not echo of McCarthy's THE ROAD???............. Is there not a "secret complexity?" in this novel?Suzi

Wonderful Read!!!

by S. B.

I book is one of the best that I've read. McCarthy's writing is exceptional and highly descriptive, and I was completely captivated by the story, drawn into it entirely. The writing was deep, poetic, and genuine. I found the relationship between the father and the son so touching. There was not too much dialogue, but what was said between the characters had meaning.Great read. Can't go wrong.

Call it as it is

by sbissell3

It would be difficult to give this book more praise than it has already received. It is a very well written, moving, uplifting, and altogether rewarding read.Having said that I wanted to add a comment about 'literature' and literary critics. Most of the critics have jumped on this book as McCarythy's best, but if you read the reviews none of them seem to want to mention that this is not only SciFi, it is in the specific genre of post-apocalyptic SciFi. Kurt Vonnegut once made the observation that literary critics put all SciFi in the same drawer and then used the drawer as a urinal. This is high literature and it is high SciFi. Read it and enjoy and ignore what critics say; if they had any talent they would get a real job.

3.5 Stars. Tragic and bleak, but lacking heartfelt embodiment

by Schtinky "Schtinky"

This is the first Cormac McCarthy novel I've read. His odd styling reminds me vaguely of Selby. The novel is crafted in short, separated paragraphs with no punctuation for speech or thought, everything flowing into one line after another.A nameless man and his boy walk the world after an unknown disaster, a world painted vividly bleak and gray. What few people are left are terrified of each other because of the rampant cannibalism. Canned goods are long since pilfered, food rules the day, and the black icy cold makes tarps and blankets invaluable goods.The tale is a dreary one of the man and boy's travels toward the coast, hoping to find good guys there waiting. Pilfering what items they can find, pushing an old shopping cart, and counting on love and luck, they make their way through perilous roads and desolate landscapes.The writing is good and the story acceptably apocalyptic, but I felt there was just something missing. The characters weren't fully fleshed out, perhaps from the lack of punctuation. While I felt their sadness and despair, I couldn't quite feel what was really inside their minds. That they loved each other is obvious, but the driving force behind the move to the coast isn't.While I found 'The Road' to be a worthwhile read, I recommend waiting for the paperback. Enjoy!

Fairly interesting read but didn't live up to the hype

by Scott

I wish I could give this book 3.5 stars. I didn't find it to be bad (what I generally think of 3 star reviews), but I'm not sure it's worthy of 4 stars either. I had heard all of the hype surrounding McCarthy's "The Road," and the praise lavished upon it by publications like Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly, which called it "the best book of the last 25 years." However I just didn't see that.It's certainly an interesting story. I always find post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories interesting and this one is no exception. McCarthy doesn't explain what the event was that lead to everyone's death and just brings the read straight into the thick of it. Presumably, most of the world is dead, we have no idea how, but that doesn't matter, because the focus is on the man and the boy. McCarthy doesn't want to distract us with events that do not directly affect their relationship and the story he is trying to tell, and this makes for a great narrative. It is much more interesting to conjecture on these events and leave it up to the reader than to tell us that a big plague hit.McCarthy has done an excellent job of creating a realistic look at what society (or lack of such) would be like. If all of the animals died, where would humans get food? How would they treat each other if their lives depended on it? Would humans really digress into the image portrayed in "The Road?"The real focus of this book however, is the relationship between the Man and the Boy. McCarthy uses the environmental and external backdrop of the story, especially the looming threat of brigands, to describe two people who have a lot of affection for each other, and how their relationship is defined by their situation.The reason I didn't think this was the "Book of the Century" is that there just wasn't enough there. The writing is pretty good, but there's not enough "meat" in the story. I've seen comparisons of McCarthy to Hemingway, which I can see, but even Hemingway had more plot in his novels to grasp onto, and didn't rely completely on character development. This would be okay if McCarthy did rely on his characters in "The Road," but too much of the novel (maybe 40%), is focused on mundane tasks that the characters have to do to stay alive. Further, McCarthy's unusual writing style is too distracting. Conversations between characters lack quotations, which can be very confusing, and I frequently found myself starting at the beginning to try to figure out who was talking. He also selectively uses apostrophes. Why? What is the point? I know this was done purposefully, but instead of going for some kind of symbolism or unique writing style, wouldn't it be more beneficial to make the book easier to follow?Overall, "The Road," is a very short and quick read, and I would recommend it to others. The story, while not "energetic," is certainly engaging, and is sure to appeal to a wide audience.

Carrying the fire in a post-apocalyptic wasteland

by Scott Schiefelbein

Cormac McCarthy's latest effort, "The Road," may be his leanest, darkest work. Far from the bloody epic that was "Blood Meridian," "The Road" is a tightly focused story of a man and his son slogging through a post-apocalyptic America filled with corpses and the occasional band of cannibals. Spare does not even begin to describe this book - long passages of dialogue between father and son consist of one-or-two-word sentences sent back and forth - any words other than those that are truly necessary are wasted effort in this battle for survival. And while McCarthy creates a hellish world of ash and slag, bereft of wildlife and civilization and peopled only by the forlorn and the damned, there is remarkably little violent action.Instead, this is a novel of introspection, largely of despair. And yet what elevates it is the core element of love between the father and the son. A novel of crushing weight, "The Road" builds to a shattering conclusion that nevertheless inspires hope. McCarthy is a magician, creating images of hell and (occasionally) hope. A can of Coke, the memory of a trout, or a mystical reference to "carrying the fire" can leave the reader amazed and pondering. All in all, a book deserving of a more informed and literate review than this one.

Style Reflects Plot

by Scott William Foley

The Road by Cormac McCarthyI heard many positive statements about the work of Cormac McCarthy, and so a few weeks ago, I gave him a try with No Country for Old Men. I was not disappointed.Because of such a sublime experience, I couldn't wait to read another of his works, this time opting for The Road. I must admit from my previous exposure to McCarthy, I had a very difficult time finding what possible allure The Road held for Oprah Winfrey, who named it her book of the month (or whatever she may call it) a while back.Nothing against Oprah, but I made sure to buy a used copy, one produced at a time when they weren't yet stamping her approval upon the cover.The Road had much in common with No Country for Old Men, but it also had many dissimilarities. The commonalities included the lack of quotation marks, the terse sentences and paragraphs, and a minimalist approach to description.In contrast, however, The Road did not grab my interest by the throat and demand I give it my full attention as did No Country for Old Men. In fact, I found myself rather uninterested in The Road and struggled for the motivation to finish it.I must wonder, however, if the slow, mind-numbing style employed by McCarthy meant to reflect the despair and melancholy his characters fought to overcome with every breath they took.For The Road is the story of a post-apocalyptic world, one covered in ash where little to no life has survived. A man and a boy travel a road, desperately heading to the ocean, though they know not what they'll find upon arriving. The boy has known no other world, but the man can remember a time without hunger, without death surrounding them like a second skin, and he wants more than anything to keep the boy alive. The hope of finding the boy a better life is the only reason the man has for subsisting.Nevertheless, because this is McCarthy, a happy conclusion is not guaranteed.The composition of The Road mirrored the plight of its characters, and while this is an interesting stylistic choice, it ultimately left me dispassionate. Though I am glad Oprah enjoyed it.However, The Road did NOT turn me off McCarthy, who I still believe is an extraordinary writer, and I look forward to reading more of his work.~Scott William Foley, author of Dr. Nekros: The Tragedian (Volume I, Episode I)

A road to read and travel

by S. Deeth "Sheila Deeth"

The Road won a Pulitzer Prize, so I knew it had to have something special about it. Also it's being made into a film, which is probably not the best advert. It has an intriguing cover though, with man and boy in a gray world in the rain, so, living in rainy Oregon as I do, I decided to give it a try and was immediately hooked: From the first bleak vista, a nameless man reaching out to check the breathing of a nameless child; through miniature scenes, each carefully crafted, no excess words to describe a dying world; through steps and details and how will you open a jar when the lid's stuck and there's no tools left in the strangers' house to grip it...; through conversations with no punctuation because the words themselves punctuate the silence; through sickness and knowing what's coming and not wanting to know--and through knowing what's gone but not wanting that either; through to the point where I know the book's going to end but I hope maybe it won't; to final, lonely, impossible satisfaction.A few weeks ago a jar of peaches leaked in my kitchen cupboard. Brown sticky fluid dripped down the inside of the door into a puddle on the floor. The tin itself looked rusty, slightly blown. Father and son might have found it there and discarded it rightly as unsafe. McCarthy's book makes me see it again in my mind, and wonder how the rest of my stocks will fare when the world ends.The Road is a truly beautiful, masterful book, scarily real, emotionally draining, absorbing and haunting and sad. It deserves its prize. It foreshadows everyman's last hope. And I'm glad to have finally joined the ranks of those who have read and enjoyed it.

dark read.

by Sean

McCarthy's writing style, for me, is the takeaway quality of the book. His peculiar sentence and dialogue structure provides for a very unique feel. It needs to be noted that chained child sodomites was a bold move, even for ole' Cormac.

Depressing beyond belief!!

by SelmaSue "Susan"

This is easily the most depressing novel I have ever read. Please do not buy this book if you are at a low point in your life- it might just send you over the edge. There is not one ray of sunshine in the entire book; it is an endless series of disappointments and horror, all in a similar vein, so it becomes redundant and boring. Walk, starve, hide, walk, starve, hide. That's the entire book, in a nutshell.

Just wonderful

by Seth J. Frantzman

This brilliant book covering the world after the nuclear holocaust follows the story of privation and hardship and the love of life between ffather and son in a world gone gray. A true story of foreboding and love and the greatness of being alive. This is about struggle, there is little love of the protagonist and the reader sometimes gets a little sidelined, but this is McCarthy at his best, a truly wonderful book, everyone will be suprised by the twists and turns and reverberations for our modern culture.Seth J. Frantzman

Most Overrated Book

by shiftingsandy

Here's an excerpt from page 88 of the paperback:What are we going to do?We're going to drink some water. Then we're going to keep going down the road.Okay.That's it. Keep going down the road. You don't have to read any more. This is a "The Road Warrior" rip-off which is not one tenth as entertaining as the movie was. And it won the Pulitzer? Who is giving out those awards? Very dull book.By the way, I didn't fail to put in quotation marks in my excerpt from the book. The author apparently doesn't use them. In fact, half of the rules of punctuation are ignored in this book. Very artsy, isn't he? Very modern. He dont need no stinkin punctuation!Easily, the most over hyped, overrated book of the decade. This is a second rate book taken much too seriously by critics, for some reason.Reading it is a waste of time.

Sad, but Spiritual

by Silvia Bridger "Publisher of The Truth About ...

This amazing story of a father and son is as tragic as it is gripping. All sides of the human spirit are explored.

Vivid, engaging and subliminal

by Simon Cleveland "S. Cleveland"

Did you know McCarthy wrote 'No Country For Old Men'?I was really surprised at the depth of the movie, but didn't know it was based on McCarthy's book until I started reading 'The Road'. Well, this changed the way I approached his book.'The Road' is a very vivid, very engaging and at the same time very subliminal read.It's a story of two survivors (of a mere handful) from a nuclear obliteration. They, a man and a child (McCarthy never names them in the book, or their ages) make their way to the Gulf Coast while at the same time battling their fears, the utter desolation, the human savagery (apparently all others have turned to cannibalism with no other food in sight) and the unknown that lays ahead.In the midst of painting this environment, McCarthy explores the inner struggles of each of the two characters and make for a good case of what makes a man human and what makes him a savage. The book is written with exceptional clarity, the dialog is kept simple yet very meaningful.I recommend it and if you haven't seen 'No Country For Old Men', put it on your to-view list.by Simon Cleveland

A Dark, Lyrical Meditation on Love's Dedication

by Sir Charles Panther "Life is hard. It's hard...

"The nights were blinding cold and casket black and the long reach of the morning had a terrible silence to it.""...Creedless shells of men tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland."I neither buy nor read collections of poetry. I can count the poems I know, at least the non-limerick ones, on a single hand. I'm not a fan of poetry, and I truly see much of it as overblown, a good thing taken to a ridiculously inflated extreme. This book isn't poetry, but it's also not pure narrative. It's somewhere in the gray between, and I enjoyed every single page of it.McCarthy had me on the 14th line when I read "granitic beast." No, I didn't have to be told this was a reference to stone. Its use here, early in the work, deliberate, familiar yet uncommon, communicated to me exactly what this book would be about, and more importantly how it would be told, and I couldn't wait to ingest it. The contemplated and intentional use of this word in this place told me of texture and color and temperature, and its context told me of fear, uncertainty, cruelty, and the close specter of menace. I was hooked before the first page was done.I enjoyed this book's writing style immensely, its story simple and told in a manner that came to me clearly, instantly creating depth with a minimum of prose. Words like "envaccuuming," and phrases like "isocline of death" were absolutely brilliant--I bite my hand melodramatically wishing I'd written them. This highly evocative austerity was mirrored in the father's and the son's conversations, in which so little was said, but in which I was seeing absolutely clearly the cant of a head, a look in the eyes, the faintest curl of smile. I was reminded very happily of the magnificent work of James Dickey, especiallyTo the White Sea.And the wonderfully lyrical story unfolded. No, I didn't need quotation marks or crucial apostrophes. There was never any question what was happening, who was saying what or where the story was headed. Honestly, do they care about proper punctuation in the wasteland? I didn't miss a thing, and the modestly different narrative presentation didn't faze me in the least. In fact, it reminded me instantly of e e cummings. Ah, reluctantly back to poetry. Later on when the pair made it to the sea, and the prose touched on "...shuttling..," instantly T. S. Eliot's classic came to mind.I very much enjoyed the father, an object lesson in survival and just what that takes. He not only was educated, but also remembered it and knew how and when to apply it. He was inventive, attentive and observant, and deliberately learned from every experience. He anticipated, adapted and showed the courage to take immediate action, having thought through consequences beforehand. He was no MacGyver, but from the opening minutes of the crisis he knew what was at hand; his survival, and his son's, were due to his seriousness and intelligence and his application of them.This book is not about the end of the world. It's not about nuclear winter, man's inevitable murder of the planet, the inherent barbarity of man, none of that. This book is about the only thing that matters, a parent's love for a child, and what at the absolutely basic level of survival you can and cannot do for those whom you treasure most, what you will go through and what you must decide upon for them to have all they need and deserve. This book is about the rapture and the agony of parenthood. It took me two nights to read this book, and both nights after midnight when I reluctantly put it down, I went upstairs to re-tuck-in my daughter and my son, and to kiss them in their sleep, through the silent tears of adoration this book brought forth.This unpleasantly dark, ominous book reminded me of a few crucial things: My daughter and my son are the most incredible and important things I have ever done or will ever do. Their well-being is never assured, and I can never, ever stop looking out for them and teaching them what I know of their world. One day I will move on, and they must be ready when that happens.Bottom line: This is not a cheery, happy, frothy and light read. It is cold and hard and painful. But there is joy in it. Be ecstatic it is only a story, that tonight you sleep in a bed in a house, with food, water, and your dog on the hearth. Be aware of and happy that you are reading this expertly rendered, magnificently crafted work of highly evocative prose, and look forward to the next one, whatever the subject.

Spectacular and horrific.

by S. Silverman "ReaderGeode"

A father, a survivor of the apocalypse, and his son seek to eke out life and survive in the gray mostly dead world which remains. The two dazzling goodnesses are their love and relationship and McCarthy's words, with an honorable mention to the father and son's resourcefulness. The horrific is the `world' in which they must set forth, one with nothing ostensibly alive besides humans, and they're rare and often dangerous. McCarthy's writing takes a bit of getting used to, often forsaking conventional sentence structure for fragments and run-ons. It is, however, easy to adapt to and it quickly becomes a smooth flow, a flow of clarity and vividness of unusually high quality. The relationship and setting play off of each other well, providing counterpoints of the best and worst of humans. The Road is among the most powerful and moving pieces of writing I've ever read. Amazingly well written, completely accessible main characters, a totally unique and unsettling setting, and much to think about and feel extraordinarily strongly. Not for the faint of heart, but as good as reading gets.

My Review

by Stefan Yates

Dark, bleak, depressing, heart-breaking and utterly fantastic. Cormac McCarthy has created a post-apocalyptic world that has been entirely devastated of all things good. Life as we know it has dwindled down to walking the earth in search of food, shelter and the dream that somehow, somewhere is a place that has not been devastated and covered in ash. The characters are so realistically rendered that you feel like you have actually gotten to know them well before the novel's end. A great thought-provoking read that I would heartily recommend.

A fable of the South

by Stephen Balbach

It might be a mistake to callThe Roada novel. As Anthony Burgess said in the introduction toA Clockwork Orange, a novel shows a character changing and evolving and learning and hopefully becoming a better person in the end. Anything else is a fable. WhileThe Roadis well written and very good post-apocalyptic fiction, complete with flesh-eating "bad guys", and while it strikes a deep chord withgenerational zeitgeist in America, that is all, no deep truth.For a real-life and ultimately more satisfying "Road", see John Muir'sA Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf(1911) - two years after the end of the Civil War, John Muir walked from Chicago to Northern Florida, crossing the Appalachian mountains in the cold and snow, passing through the wasted and desolate lands of the South. Bivouacking in abandoned farm houses, passing burnt and destroyed croplands and forests, he was constantly at threat from bands of ex-Confederate bandits who patrolled the road and would "kill a man for $5". Not to mention the "wild negroes". Many times he almost starved to death, became sick and in the end his life was saved by a family who took him in. If "The Road" is a fable, it is a fable of the South after the end of the Civil War.

The aftermath of a secular apocalypse

by Stephen McLin

My reviews are not written to tell you what the book is about, as you can read that in a lot of places, but why you might like it (or not) and other books to look for if you do like it.I was drawn to this book because when I was not much older than the boy represented in this book, I read Nevil Shute's book On the Beach which deals with the issue of nuclear war having destroyed all the people in the world except for Australia. And, the fallout was slowly headed there so everyone was doomed. It made a big impression on a 12 year old. Then the movie in 1959 was really scary.Shute's book came out in an era where people built fallout shelters and there were practice evacuations of Topeka, Kansas, where I lived in 1958.I do know a Road from a Beach, and realize I am reviewing The Road. But if you like The Road, you will like On the Beach. If you liked Stephen King's The Stand, you will like this book.The Road gives you the most microscopic human view of survival after a nuclear holocaust, without ever really focusing on the big event. The love of father for son (and the reverse) is represented about as thoroughly as I have ever read.I think Mr. Mccarthy paints a fair and true and sad portrait of human behavior, seen through the eyes of father and son.

Soul-shattering, but ultimately life-affirming.

by Stephen Richmond "Librarian/Teacher/Reader an...

Bleak. Dark. Desolate. Unrelentingly sparse. All describe the plot, the setting, and the prose of this towering postapocalyptic masterpiece. Indeed the grimmess and griminess of it all is only relieved by the love, the innocence, and the faith of the father and son protagonists as they encounter ceaseless despair and agony in their journey "south." McCarthy is generally recognized at a highly literate and eloquent, if gritty novelist. As demonstrated mildly in his BORDER TRILOGY, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and BLOOD MERIDIAN, this work is truly a bravura performance, an uncomfortable American masterpiece in the grandest traditions of Hawthorne, Faulkner, and Poe, ringing true with all the gamy gothicity of those writers. I applaud Oprah for including this meaty tale of the slenderest means in her reading society. There's so much here for tender sensibilities to struggle with. Excellent, fast-paced, and ultimately, life-affirming reading.

If you think you have it bad....

by Stephen Thoemmes "All sins are just efforts t...

As a person raised under the threat of nuclear annihilation, and dreaming of apocalypse till my mid 20's this is perhaps the book that I should not have read.This novel nails the father and son bond. It goes way beyond crazy, it survives horror, and it ends in sacrifice.The world has been killed by an unknown apocalypse. The sky is always grey. It may be a nuclear winter. It really doesn't matter. It is cold. Always cold. Everything is dead. There are no animals, the trees are all dead, there are no fish. The land has been stripped bare by starving survivors. The snow is grey, streams are grey, the ocean is grey. But the horrors never cease. The earth has been gleaned of all food. Here are two, then there is one. A messiah? I don't believe so. Only a young survivor who has met a compassionate couple who may have already sealed their fate by taking him in.When I walked out of my home after reading this, I was so astonished at seeing the sun and blue sky. Now that is a sign of a great author.

Not so much a novel as a movie tie-in

by Steve Benner "Stonegnome"

I wonder when it started being fashionable to write in incomplete sentences? And to abandon punctuation? As though such things were merely unnecessary luxuries from a time before the world was consumed in fire. Just more cloying components of the grey ash of literary convention that Cormac McCarthy seeks to sweep away with his writing. Oh, if only...In "The Road", Cormac McCarthy portrays a world laid waste by some nameless catastrophe which has consumed all civilisation and destroyed most of the life on the planet. A man and his son journey through the lifeless and colourless world that remains, struggling to survive against the cold, the hunger, the sporadic wildfires and the ubiquitous grey ash that now fills the air, choking out the sun, blocking out the moon and stars, making even breathing a challenge. And, of course, avoiding contact with other survivors like themselves, few of whom are likely to look upon them as anything other than the source of the next meal. One way or another. Following the road that they hope will lead them to somewhere -- or someone -- better.The book makes grim reading just about throughout, although there is less of it than it may appear -- the print is large and widely spaced and most readers will have it finished within a day of picking it up, I suspect. The only thing likely to slow anyone down is the author's affectation of abandoning the apostrophe and the quotation mark in his writing, making the frequent long sections of dialogue hard to follow in places. Mostly, the book reads like a padded-out screenplay and, perhaps not surprisingly, the motion picture version of the story has already been made. I would imagine that it follows the book closely--which won't be hard given that nothing much happens--and I don't doubt that it will be every bit as grey and colourless as the book. And that viewers will sit riveted from beginning to end. And then go off in search of something to eat...As a novel, the story works less well, however, for it is not so much a story as a portrait. And although it is never less than engaging and remains believable throughout, with a few instances of quite prophetic insight, it nevertheless left me curiously unsatisfied.

Essential McCarthy

by Steve

This is the novel Cormac McCarthy's been preparing us for for more than 40 years now. Though I certainly hope it's not his last novel, it's difficult to read "The Road" without thinking of it as a coda to his career."The Road" reads like vintage McCarthy--stark visions of human depravity, gnostic imagery, prose that sounds like it was torn from the pages of the Bible and delivered from on high. His portrait of a post-apocalyptic world--one where ash falls like a steady rain, cannibals prowl the countryside, and the scorched earth offers nothing in the way of comfort or hope to its remaining occupants--is unremittingly bleak; and yet the tender bond between the nameless father and son offers a glimmer of hope. (Indeed, it's ironic that a novel about the end of the world is one of McCarthy's tenderest.) The book can be read as a cautionary tale, an allegory, or a horror yarn. It's McCarthy's gift as a writer that the book can be enjoyed on any and all of these levels. It can also be enjoyed for the sheer power of its prose, which is some of his very best since "Blood Meridian" was published two decades ago."The Road" deserves (and will undoubtedly garner) a wide readership; hopefully, it will lead many to rediscover McCarthy's earlier work. This book is further evidence as to why he is America's greatest living writer.

Extraordinary -- McCarthy "Carries the Fire" for Us All

by Steve Koss

The setting is classically post-apocalyptic: cities in ruins, forests burnt to charred shells of tree trunks, the cindered forms of instantaneously flash-fired human bodies frozen in place where they died, and lightening storms raging in the ash-filled sky of a borderline nuclear winter. The place may or may not be what's left of the United States some five to eight years after the "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions." Those (un)lucky few still alive are either nomadic scavengers or members of ravaging, cannibalistic gangs, all engaged in the ultimate form of survival of the fittest.Into this bleak setting, Cormac McCarthy drops a nameless father and his equally nameless young son, the latter born too late to know any world other than the one he now inhabits. The two travel alone, guided by a pieced-together map along an abandoned highway, heading inexorably southward to the coast. Along the way, father and son encounter ragged and dying survivors, some desperate to live, some aging and nearly dead, some imprisoned as future meals, and others who will kill without remorse for the few blankets and canned goods the two wanderers have scavenged along the way. Survival is the only objective, since as the father tells his son, "We are the good guys" who together have to "carry the fire." "My job is to take care of you," he tells his young son. "I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you."Their lives are reduced to a constant search for food (canned or plastic packaged, since no new plant growth appears possible), water, self-protection, and avoidance of the danger represented by other survivors. Perhaps this is the ultimate hell, where the indelibly social human animal is forced into a nearly permanent state of anti-social behavior. The boy innately understands this paradox, constantly worrying about the people they've left behind and wondering whether they have effectively stolen the food and other items they manage to find (even when there are clearly no signs of life anywhere nearby). In a nave yet oddly Christ-like way, he fears that their failure to leave a bit of extra food with a blind straggler is morally equivalent to killing him.Perhaps more so than in any of McCarthy's past novels, THE ROAD is not as much about a story as about a milieu, an atmosphere of ruin and decay where humanity is stripped of all but its most elemental drives for survival. In this post-apocalyptic nightmare, even sex would seem a luxury -- perhaps that explains the virtual absence of females in McCarthy's tale. All instead is focused on the father-son relationship, on survival of the species and the question of whether it is better to have survived or perished in the (presumably) nuclear holocaust. Without revealing the ending, suffice to say that McCarthy's world ends both after a bang and with a faintly hopeful whimper.Not surprisingly, this grim scenario gives McCarthy's masterful prose skills free rein to create a murderously oppressive atmosphere. His writing here is as clipped as ever, reduced to the same elemental form as the lives of his protagonists. The text is fragmented into hundreds of short scenes, like a series of cinematic jump cuts that together reveal a greater whole. Most of his sentences are short or even incomplete, or they consist of multiple short fragments glued together with McCarthy's infamous "and." The result is prose that seems simultaneously light and dense, like verse set in paragraph form. The characters are all nameless (Ely, the only named character, allows that the name he gives is not his real one), as are the cities and roads and rivers. Even their dialog is nameless, lacking quotation marks and generally providing only the barest identification of who is speaking. Descriptions are direct, and all the more potent for their stark brevity. As always, McCarthy employs language that seems uniquely his, from his unapostrophed contractions to conjuring up such obscurities as slutlamp, gryke, rachitic, siwash, claggy, catamites, travois, woad, skift, dolmen, bollards, crozzled, and salitter, or having his characters "glass" the countryside with binoculars.McCarthy aficionados will find hints of Anton Chigurh and Sheriff Bell, or Judge Holden and the Kid from BLOOD MERIDIAN, or even Lester Ballard from CHILD OF GOD, but this is a book that needs none of those precursors. THE ROAD stands by itself as McCarthy's expression of a few taciturn Everymen heroes - the "good guys" -- facing the ultimate hostile world. Whether they can rise above it and forge a new (and, surprisingly, perhaps not entirely secular) world of their own simple morality is left implied but unsaid. Either way, this is an unforgettable and transcendent novel of life at its grimmest yet most exalted, a horrifying yet redeeming parable on par with those of Saramago, Garcia Marquez, and Kadare.

One of the Most Haunting Novels I've Ever Read

by Steven Brandt @ Audiobook-Heaven "Audiobook-H...

I absolutely loved The Road and my only regret is that it is a relatively short audiobook. Cormac McCarthy uses a simple, yet elegant, prose that renders incredibly vivid images on the mind. Throughout The Road, McCarthy describes a bleak, ash-gray world without ever becoming boring or redundant. Even now I can still picture the dead and barren landscapes he described.The helplessness of the father in The Road is what really stands out, as he tries to bring up his young son in a world that no longer has any sense or meaning. The boy was born just as the devastation was beginning, and the burnt and ashy landscape is all he knows. The father is often lost for words as he tries to explain how things were before the holocaust, and it is sad when the author reveals that the boy simply can't bring himself to believe most of what he hears. As the pair struggle to find food, warm clothes, and safe places to sleep, all the while avoiding the "bad guys" who now see other humans as a viable source of nourishment, the father is often reduced to two small words, which he repeats to the boy again and again throughout the audiobook: "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." You cannot possibly read The Road without feeling sad for our future generations who may have to live like this. If we had a chance to speak to them, I wonder if we would repeat the father's helpless appeal: "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."Tom Stechschulte did a very good job narrating The Road. Just like Cormac McCarthy, Stechschulte's style is simple, yet elegant. His pacing was very good, and at times he reads with great feeling that matches the story perfectly. Thanks to Stechschulte's inspired reading, you could really feel the bleak hopelessness of the characters. Tom Stechschulte is a film and television actor. He played a prominent role in the movie The Manchurian Candidate, and has made guest appearances on the television series Law & Order.The Road is a great story with a great narrator. I would highly recommend this audiobook to anyone.

Haunting; Heartbreaking

by Steven M. Anthony

What to say about a novel which you know from the first several pages is incapable of producing a happy ending? Page after page of hopeless misery, in which mere survival is at stake in every minute of every day. A situation so dire, that a father takes pains to save his last remaining bullet in the event that he may be forced to mercy kill his own son.A man and his minor son struggle in the aftermath of apocalyptic nuclear war, the world thrown into a nuclear winter, in which food, shelter, clothing and fuel have been virtually depleted. The few remaining survivors relegated to cannibalism and unspeakable savagery in their efforts to survive.Against this backdrop, "the man" and "the boy" undertake a journey over the mountains and across the plains in an effort to reach the ocean. Throughout the journey and the travails encountered by the pair, the boy reveals himself to be a special individual, whose "humanity" and kindness are in stark contrast to the world around him.Parents with children will be especially moved by the story, which bears a strong resemblance to Elie Wiesel's masterpiece "Night", with the striking difference being that the circumstances faced by the pair in this novel are appreciably more difficult and hopeless than those faced by Wiesel's father and son duo.It is hard to describe the bleak and utter devastation painted by McCarthy in this Pulitzer Prize winning novel which can easily be read in 3-4 hours in one sitting. Expect to do so, because once you've begun, you will likely not want to put it down. It's like a multi-fatality pile up on the freeway. It is horrifying, but you cannot look away.

Nuclear Winter

by steve rowe

This is a horrifying tale well told that is a fine read. I recommend it to everyone who like books.

Thought Provoking...

by Susan Calvin "So many books, so little time!"

The Road is a haunting, thought provoking read. It is the end of the world, after an unknown event has dessimated just about all life, animal, human and plant. Only a few humans remain. This book examines what lengths we will go to in order to survive and the reasons why we do it. If you are looking for a light read or a feel good book, this is not the book for you. It is very depressing, yet it is good literature and very worthy.Some have been critical because it has been chosen by Oprah. Say what you will about Oprah, she has gotten people reading, people that in many cases never would have picked up a book. I for one have never purchased an Oprah Book Club selection until this book. I'm glad I did, though it was a very haunting read.

dark, dark, dark.....yet how close we stand to this future

by Suzanne E. Anderson "Author"

This is the first novel I've read by Cormac McCarthy, so I cannot compare it to his other work.This book describes the post-apocalyptic journey of a father and son making their way to the sea and what they hope will be a better or at least warmer habitat. Along the way they must face not only the crippling hunger that knows no relief in this blighted world, but the traveling bands of survivors, turned cannibals, that see them as one of the last remaining sources of protein.The landscape and the relentless looking over the shoulder is oppressive...even more so is the slow deterioration of the health of both father and son, as well as the ever present gun...and the release it offers for one or both.In all this darkness McCormac distills a love that transcends death, and in the end the smallest glimmer of hope.

Stark, brutal and moving

by T. A. Kelly

My first thought upon finishing this book was that someone should ship Cormac McCarthy a fifty-five gallon drum of Prozac. While the book resolves in a less-than-crushing way, the bulk of it is so tremendously depressing that I have a very hard time imagining how anyone could have endured the process of writing it. That said, it is certainly a book worth reading. McCarthy's mastery of spare prose and literary chiaroscuro is breathtaking. As has been said, he is most certainly one of our greatest living authors.Like most of his work, this book pivots on a dualism between two vastly different views of the world. In this case, it's down to the fundamentals: good vs. evil, or hope vs. despair, in a world where humans have outlived their usefulness to the planet. Perhaps the most shocking thing about the book is the suddenly implacable nature of a world scorched, and scorned. It simply has no use for life anymore (presumably because of a monstrous error on mankind's part) and humans are left to forage whatever they can from what remains. McCarthy has done a better job here than anyone, perhaps, of vividly illustrating the possible consequences of nuclear war or other forms of catastrophic environmental abuse.McCarthy's observations on human nature are what you're left with, however. It sort of reminds me of a latter day "Waiting for Godot" (minus the humor, sadly) in that there are very few distractions to take away from confronting crushing existential realities about the nature of human relationships and interactions. A painful, but "must", read.

Fantastic read but feels as though it lacks a little something

by TarheelRocker "puremaddhatter"

This is the first novel of Mccarthy's that I have read so I am not what you would call a die hard fan going into this review. The Road is a novel that tells of a post-apocalyptic America and a father and son's journey south in search of warmer weather. It is truly an inspiring and heart warming story of the love of a father for his son. The writing is poetic and the descriptions of his barren and near dead America are truly the best I have ever read. I can just picture the Grey ashen landscapes that are all around our two main characters. This book uses, for lack of a better word, atmosphere to give you the feel of this world, miserable and desperate. Although I loved the story and couldn't put the book down I was one of the apparent few that would have liked a bit more history on how the apocalypse came about. I felt the story lacked history altogether. You get very little history on the main characters, mainly what happened to the boys mother and that's it. There is no pre-apocalyptic history for the main characters except one or two flashes back to the fathers childhood. More history would have helped me connect even further with the main characters. It didn't take too much away from the story without it but I feel more history would have enhanced the novel greatly. One other thing that bothered me was that there are no names in this novel, I don't remember one character being named. It made the reading confusing at time figuring out who said what. Besides those two thing though this is a must read, a truly great novel. Unless you read books more than once(I don't), I wouldn't buy it because it's extremely short and can easily be read over a weekend, so keep that in mind before you shell our 15 bucks for it. Checking it out from the library or waiting for paperback would be good ideas because as stated earlier it is well worth the read.

Fiction reduced to its raw elements

by TChris

Cormac McCarthy reduced this story to its raw elements: no names, not many characters, dialog that barely rises above a series of grunts. We don't see the apocalypse happen, we never learn its cause; we see only a journey through a dying world. The Road is a story of survival in desperate times, of a father's love for his son, and of a sort of honor or integrity that the man wants to instill or preserve in his son (represented by the man's insistence that they are "carrying the fire" as they travel down the road). I think McCarthy accomplished the task he set for himself: by telling a simple, elemental story, he got his point across. The doesn't necessarily mean that he wrote a great novel.These are the reservations that keep me from giving the novel five stars: I think reducing the story to its raw elements left the reader with too little. With so few characters and so little character development, the story hinges on the man, and I don't think he's sufficiently interesting to carry the novel. The man's character depends almost entirely on machismo: Man strong. Man protect child. Man carry fire. McCarthy's portrait of the ideal man as a strong, silent warrior (represented by the boy's father and by the man who comes along at the novel's end) was just a little much for me. That's particularly true when the man is contrasted with his wife. She's portrayed as too weak-willed to struggle, too lacking in courage to assure her child's survival. Man strong, woman weak: at least that's the message I got. And the "carry the fire" metaphor (in the boy's words, "we're the good guys") was too simplistic to resonate with me. The novel gives us only binary choices: survival or suicide, good guys or cannibals. Reducing the world to a few good people and a lot of monsters might be a useful way of making a point about the difference between good and evil, but the world is a whole lot more complex than that -- and it continues to be more complex than that even in the face of disaster, as the multiple responses to events like Hurricane Katrina reveal. Finally, McCarthy's attempts at philosophy -- the suggestion, for instance, that people who would destroy their planet are unworthy of God -- are stale, recycled from countless other novels.There is nonetheless much to admire in The Road: vivid writing; beautifully described scenes of desolation; honest depictions of love and fear; the boy's purity as he stands in for his father's conscience; haunting images and tender moments that stuck with me long after I finished the novel. I can't give The Road five stars (I actually prefer a more inspirational and, I think, more complex post-apocalyptic novel,The Postman, even if David Brin's writing isn't as strong) but there are enough memorable moments in The Road to make it worth reading. I give it four stars; your mileage may vary.

The Road is a scary, exiting and great book.

by Tech Student

This is a really excellent book I think. It's about and father and his son walking through a post-apocalyptic part of America and trying to survive with anything they can get. They are trying to get to the south where it's warmer and hopefully there are people, and nice ones too. On their journey they encounter groups of cannibals and starvation. The father carries a pistol with one round on it throughout the whole book in case they really need it. The father is also dying but he won't tell his son.I read this book in a short amount of time and couldn't stop. I don't really know of a lesson this book would teach but it's still very entertaining. I think it's about the relationship between father and son.I had first heard of the movie remake and wanted to see it. But my dad said that I should read the book first. So I went to Barnes and Noble and read the reviews. They were like "This book is amazing and I recommend this book to ANYBODY!!!!!!" So I took a few looks at it and really got into it.My favorite part of the book was when the two of them are walking through the abandoned house. They then find supplies and raw food to survive. I also thought the cannibal part was freaky but exiting.My favorite character is the father because even though he is dying, he will still protect his son and keep him safe. I think that that is very nice and if I was the father, I would do the same. I then saw the movie and was pretty impressed. It was true to the story and was the sitting on the edge of your seat type of movie. This book is pretty complicated, scary and sad so I recommend it to kids and adults the ages 11 and up. I also recommend that you read the book before seeing the movie. Thanks for reading!

Bleak, bad and bodacious

by Ted Magnuson "author of The Bouchard Legacy"

Is it a sign of the times? The Post Apocalyptic Novel has become an even favored genre. "All ye that enter in, abandon all hope." In The Road we are introduced to a nameless man and his nameless son who travel south on back roads through a devastated landscape that is likewise devoid of names. Some great catastrophe has befallen the world, and the economy, such as it is, is reduced to scavenging. Salvageable canned goods are a treasure and contact with other humans is at the point of a gun. Other humans are sufficiently rare however, that three bullets is all it takes to deter them all, and one of those bullets is still in the gun at the end of the book. Despite the bleakness of this premise, there is a humanity, an empathy, a warmth with the struggle of these two that kept me turning pages. To haul all their gear around, the nameless father and son push a shopping cart, an odd conveyance given there is nothing for sale. One of the first pay-offs is the discovery of one last can of Coke left in a vending machine. This last can is offered by the father to the son in tribute to the late great consumer society that destroyed itself.As I read The Road on audio-book while driving about town in my car, there appeared an odd compare/contrast between my journey and that of McCarthy's characters. Just as encounters in The Road meant "It's either you live or I do," in my car, in my journey, it too, often was "either I cut you off at the freeway merge or you cut me off (Four way stops were similarly compromised)." One can only pray that common civility will not continue on such a downward spiral that things do sink to the total destruction, devastation and barbarity depicted in the world of `The Road.'Indeed, I became angry as I began to sense this book will end in tragedy.As to whether it does or not, I leave to you should you decide to read it. I can only add that all through the book, the father reminds the son "We are carrying the flame," and "we're the good guys, we don't eat people."See? There is hope for the world when people uphold such high standards as those, even in the nuclear winter of apocalyptic devastation.

Take a journey in a hard, bleak, ash-ridden future

by T. Edmund "TeD"

A man and his son, journey south through post-apocalypic America (we assume). Travelling to escape the winter, which equiped as they are with rotten blankets and worn shoes will never survive.Reading McCarthy will put you into this world, you'll taste ash as you read, glance over your shoulder, and check whether your revolver is close at hand.By far the key strength of this novel is the setting, its not just basic setting description, McCarthy uses some unusual devices to communicate just how haunted the world has become. There are no names, not for the father or the son, or any of the places they visit. The author uses no quotation marks, a tactic that makes us feel the stifling scilence of the road.On a brief tangent, there is a totally bizarre paragraph on page 87 which I can't quite figure. The narration slips into first person, and doesn't contain any spoilers so I'll plonk it right here."The dog that he remembers followed us for two days. I tried to coax it to come but it would not. I made a noose of wire to catch it. There were three cartridges in the pistol. None to spare. She walked away down the road. The boy looked after her and then looked a me and then he looked at the dog and he began to cry and beg for the dog's life and I promised I would not hurt the dog. A trellis of a dog with the hide stretched over it. The next day it was gone. That is the dog he remembers. He doesn't remember any little boys."I initially thought is was narration from some bad guys stalking our protaganists, but that doesn't pan out, and this is the only slip into first person narrative in the novel. (any insights into this section would be more than welcome!!)The Road is an excellent read for something a bit less fluffy, don't expect some action flick in novel form, expect a heart-breaking tale of strength and humanity.

A Road To Treasure

by Terrence A. "cinemaparker@twitter"

You know who they are. Those people that get upset when stories are told that aren't a sugar coated version of the world, stories that seem like they were written by authors who truly believe that ignoring cold, hard reality is the best medicine.Cormac McCarthy is not one of those authors. At the very, very least not with this book he is. And this is not a book for those who can't face what true horror can be. By true horror, I don't mean the boogie man in your closet or having to work for some really nasty boss with a penchant for administering torture in the form of some really nasty humiliation tactics. This is a story about facing absolute oblivion in its truest form and continuing to move forward under its weighted stare.McCarthy's writing is poetry. The book is written in some of the most sparse prose I've ever seen read with my own eyes. You can finish this one in about a day, its such a quick read. Yet somehow the book manages to paint a detailed landscape for this poor father and son to trek across in fewer words than I'd have thought possible. They make their way across a bleak and horrific world wiped out after a nuclear holocaust, a blasted world where people do anything they can to survive, even if it means consuming one another. I can't explain how this book grabs you almost immediately and how soon you begin to empathize with these two unnamed characters as they encounter horrors that would probably break most people had they been placed in this same situation.The two make their way towards the shore miles away, simply on the faith that its the right decision. And you'll be right there along with them for every treacherous step of the way. McCarthy creates a world that really is not too far out of reach, the apocalyptic world that we've heard about and been warned of for some time now but have managed to avoid, at least for the time being. The relationship between the father and son is a thing of beauty. In this world where men feed on each other and life as we know it has come to a sad death, it seems to be the only thing in existence that has any value to hold on to. I mentioned before that this book was a quick read. I purposely read it only a little at a time, just so I could hold on to these characters a little longer.This book managed to move me as few other books have. The book isn't an action packed bonanza but really a meditation on survival and perseverance in all forms. It does have some really tense moments and moments where just when its gotten as horrifying as it can be, the rug is pulled out from under you and something even more horrible is there for you to stumble across. I will say that any book that makes me tear up when someone finds a packet of grape flavored drink mix gets my vote.I cannot recommend this enough.

A book to read

by Terry Mesnard

Sometimes, you stumble across a book you can't put down. One that, for whatever reason, affects you so thoroughly, you find yourself needing to finish it, to get to the end. To find out what happens. It helps when that book is a painstakingly beautiful and heart-wrenching novel, set in a post apocalyptic United States and features two characters struggling against survival and depending on each other for food, security, life and, most importantly, hope. In a world that's been burnt to a crisp, ash still in the air and corpses dried and dessicated, how can two people survive and keep to the idea of "hope." Can you even have hope in a world that's died?A bit ago, I finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy, a blisteringly fast read contained in less than 300 pages. For some unspecified reason, America as we know it is gone. Everything has been burned, turned to ash. And at the heart of it are two individuals, never named. A man and his son, world-weary and traveling down a road, trying to get to the coast. Why? It's the invisible carrot, dangling over their heads. Hope that maybe somewhere things are better, knowing deep in their hearts that it probably isn't to be.But the man made his pledge and continues down this path, not for himself or for the future but for his son, a young child who has been forced to grow up and be more mature than anyone 30-40 years older. Throughout this slim novel, interspersed with tightly (and tautly) written passages of fear and action, these two individuals must fight for food, water, a place to sleep and for each other. Armed with only a gun with three bullets in it, there is this constant fear nagging in both the man's mind and the readers that, after two bullets are gone, there is only one bullet left. And who would it be for?Thematically, The Road constantly goes back to the question of "why are we doing this?" The man often contemplates how easy it would be to end his life. And yet, he struggles onward, faces evil men and explores what it means to be human--both in the evil capacity to kill, murder and do unspeakable acts but also the good capacity of unselfishly and altruisticially loving someone so much and keeping to that human hope that has saved so many individuals. The story is dark and the path we take throughout is full of heart-wrenching moments. I don't think I have ever been on the verge of tears while reading an entire novel. It's not a book to read at work--a mistake I made.It is however a book that should be read by everyone. It still sticks to me, even a couple weeks after I finished it. Forget the fact that it's been recently put on Oprah's list. It's a book that should be read and thought on by everyone. It's an unapologetic look on our human side, exposing the demons and the angels living inside each of us.Take a look at The Road. It's definitely one of the most thought-provoking and heart-wrenching (without being cloyingly so) modern novels I've read.

The too-long road to. . .nevermind

by The Concise Critic:

Where have you gone, Maxwell Perkins?Perkins is the editor who helped trim Thomas Wolfe into shape. He would have made "The Road" into a great short story. But he's gone. . .and he didn't. . .and it isn't. Yet it is still good--at times tender, at times shocking--despite too much ash and too many pages.

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

by thepaxdomini

The Road is Cormac McCarthy's novel about a man and his son trying to make their way through postapocalyptic America. In 2007, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was featured on Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.The story, plain and simple, deals with the man and the boy and their quest to reach the coast while avoiding bandits, scavengers, and cannibals. The interplay between the man and the boy is well done, although McCarthy allows the story to fall into a somewhat tedious repeating pattern of starve/find a stockpile/starve/find a stockpile. The end of the novel is somewhat predictable and perhaps not as poignant as McCarthy intended (or as some critics have claimed).McCarthy uses vivid, sometimes ponderous language that works more often than not, and this is what makes the novel so memorable. The Road is short and spare, but McCarthy still manages to immerse the reader in his dark, cold, horror-filled world. He's also able to create a degree of suspense. McCarthy (in the voice of the man) often falls into something akin to stream-of-consciousness, and this works less frequently. Sentence fragments abound, jarringly.The Road is so postapocalyptic that no quotation marks or narrative commas have survived. McCarthy also leaves out apostrophes from most contractions that occur in narrative (he uses them in dialogue), but uses them in less frequently-occurring contractions (like "he'd"). This inconsistency helps McCarthy's style come off as pretentious. How is it, exactly, that these literary types like McCarthy get away with disregarding the rules of punctuation and syntax so egregiously? It's pretentious any way you slice it.Ultimately, The Road is more than the sum of its parts, and that, I suppose, is one of the things that makes good writing. Yes, it's pretentious, but it's also vivid and memorable.

An amazing adventure

by Theresa W

Since I am an avid reader and tend to read several books a month, it is not often that I come across a story that I don't easily forget the details of. However, with The Road, I think I have found a gem that is sure to stay in my memory for some time to come!I read this book, like many others, at the urging of Oprah, and as in most cases, I was not let-down. The Road was an amazing journey of a father and son post-some sort of cataclysmic event that has changed the face of the world. This is a quick read, but so much suspense, thought-provoking events, dialogue and scenery are contained in these pages. So many times while reading, I had to re-read a passage, just to get the full understanding, or to sit and really THINK about what is being conveyed. Just to absorb the thought or feeling.My only complaint was the ending, I wish there would have been a bit more detail, on the background story, and on the future.I will be recommending this book to friends, although I'm sure in the years to come it will only grow in it's own success and popularity.

McCarthy Takes a Different Road

by Timothy Haugh

There can be little doubt that Cormac McCarthy is a very powerful writer. His prose never fails to be gripping and the plots intense. Certainly, that is the case here. And yet, The Road is quite different from anything he's written before.In The Road we have a father and son trudging along a road in a post-apocalyptic world. Ash still falls from the sky and the world has grown colder--perhaps the impetus for these two to risk a Southerly trek. That, and the fact that they, like every other character in this story, are forced to scavenge the remains of a destroyed world for enough food, shelter and fuel to survive another day.Brutal is the only way to describe survival in this world. McCarthy shows us plenty in the way of murder, suicide, cannibalism, and countless other horrors of a world which has destroyed itself. Counterpoint to that is the tenderness between the father and son, as the boy tries to retain his innocence while the father tries in vain to protect him. It is an interesting dichotomy.Still, there were things that I felt were missing from The Road. In particular, the answers to the numerous questions that lay in the background of this story: What happened that left this world a wasteland? What led this pair to make this dangerous trip? What does the father hope to achieve by it? Father and son both remain enigmas even as the novel draws to a close.Not that I would have missed reading this. The episodes of day-to-day survival that McCarthy unfolds are fascinating. In essence, the surface story here is a powerful one. A little more depth, however, could have made this a masterpiece.

Not Much More to Add -- This One is A Classic

by Todd and In Charge

I agree with many of these reviews, and write to echo what has already been said:This is a dark, unsparing, carefully composed book -- I felt like I was reading tightly phrased poetry. Filled with allusion and import, each scene resonating with meaning, this is a post-apocolyptic masterpiece perfectly suited to our dark, lost times.As bleak as this road tale is, it is at the same time uplifting and humanizing, to me one of the great gifts of Mccarthy's writing.I cannot wait to see this in the hands of a creative director, or better yet -- an illustrator. The first-person narrative cries out for a comic edition of this, Cormac's most fully-realized work. Bravo.

Dark Atmosphere and Gripping Characters

by Todd O'Rourke

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning tour de force The Road, Cormac McCarthy, the reclusive master of Americana literature, ignores all of the usual tropes of post-apocalyptic novels. Instead of focusing on the usual (Russian nuclear holocaust that seems to plague the subgenre), McCarthy creates a story of love, hope, and survival in a desolated world in which those very concepts have been obliterated as completely as the landscape. The Road is very similar to that of McCarthy's earlier novels, in that it is about as dark and cynical as anyone in the world is willing to experience.McCarthy's characters are often searchers, individuals who embark on a not very well defined quest to find parts of themselves they know are missing even if they can't readily be identified. In The Road, we travel with two survivors, a man and his son, who push their meager belongings down a highway in a shopping cart, the land all around them a grey moonscape. We don't know the man's name, or his son's. Their names are not important. Their bond is what makes this story tick, thus that is where the most detail is placed.We don't know exactly what caused the world to become a wasteland. We get a memory flashback or two from the father (the boy was born just after the holocaust), of burning environments. It was more than likely not a nuclear war, because none of the locations shown are radioactive, and cities are still standing, albeit shells of themselves. All we know is that father and son are together, treading on, through a burned out America where ashy snow falls from the sky. The father wants to take them south, where the winters are less harsh and perhaps there will be more "good" people. There is no promise that this location will be any better, but it does provide hope. Sometimes hope is the most important thing to hold on to.Human encounters are few, and rarely pleasant. Whether it is a harrowing near escape from a cannibal clan, or the father's cold-blooded abandonment of a man stuck by lighting and dying on the side of the road, the objective is to avoid human contact at all costs.If this novel sounds bleak, it is. However, it is also one of the most enduring and riveting novels I have read in recent memory. It is almost impossible to not read this novel in one sitting. McCarthy's spare prose, although awkward at first, is perfectly accessible. The two protagonists hit so close to home because they personify that most elemental of human relationships - parent/child - stripped down to the level where the deepest possible connection is made from the instinct to survive. The boy is only able to survive because of his father. His father is only able to survive because his son needs him.McCarthy has written a post-apocalyptic novel that eschews politics and focuses on the human fallout. While there is a grim inevitability to the narrative even in its few bright moments - the lucky discovery of a well provisioned, un-looted bomb shelter behind a farm saving our heroes from starvation at one point - The Road is nevertheless a testament to human resilience and strength under even the most soul-crushing adversity.Four and a half stars.

"This is the way the world ends..."

by Tom S. "filmfan3"

In a barren, ashen landscape that was once the United States of America, a weary man and his young son are traveling south in search of the ocean. They scavenge for food and shelter, and they must constantly avoid marauding bands of fellow survivors who would prey on them. The one thing that sustains them on their way is their ferocious love for each other. THE ROAD is the story of their heartbreaking journey.Every now and then, when we need reminding, a great writer shows us one possible future for our species if we continue on the path to self-destruction. In 1957, Nevil Shute gave us ON THE BEACH, and now, 50 years later, Cormac McCarthy has given us an eloquent new version of the same cautionary tale. We didn't listen then. Perhaps we can learn something now.I have rarely been so moved by a work of literature. To call this the most important novel of 2006 is an understatement. Read it and weep. Read it and be uplifted. Just read it--before it's too late.

A Story Masterfully Told and Beautifully Written!

by Tom Weikert

If a work of fiction's worthiness can be judged purely on the power of the message it imparts, then The Road is a masterpiece. McCarthy does for father-son love what Michelangelo did for The Last Judgment. He paints vividly and with fine brush strokes a work of great majesty, a soaring testament to the depth of a father's enduring love for his son. A love that, alas, would withstand the forces of evil arrayed menacingly against the two in post-apocalyptic America. While we learn little about the origins of the cataclysm that rendered earth a wretched wasteland, and even less about the father and his son, we are witness to an otherworldly bond that survives first the mother's suicide and then seemingly endless despair.Neither the setting nor the tone of this Pulitzer-prize winning novel will surprise diehard McCarthy readers. Dark and brooding, every scene more depressing than the last, the imagery leaves the reader cringing and emotionally enervated. Darwinian to the extreme, reduced to scavenging for the few remaining refugees who have not themselves turned cannibalistic, vicious bands of ravenous nomads stalk their elusive prey as a lion stalks a gazelle - deliberately, patiently, and with great cunning. It requires MacGyver-esque artifice and leonine instincts to elude the brutal depredations of these marauders haunting the father and his son on their journey, and the father demonstrates both in spades. Heading south on the road to find safety and refuge among a colony of 'good guys', surviving on their wits and whatever they can forage from the detritus that remains across the scabrous landscape, the protagonists' indomitable will to live astounds.It is against this grim backdrop that McCarthy is able to ply his craft. Through the murk and madness, the pain and perplexity, he manages to convey beauty, an uncommon poignancy that pulls relentlessly at the reader's heartstrings. It is the relationship between these two remarkable humans - the father determined to survive, the son determined to love - that is most striking and in which McCarthy invests his best effort. On a planet now practically devoid of humanity, the son remains humanity's best hope. He seeks to reconcile his father to the reality that, in his actions, he is becoming every bit as cruel and barbarous as the enemy they are evading. It is because he is the only one who can that the boy serves as his father's muse.But when the son's intuition matters most is when he anticipates his father's impending death soon to be followed by his own. His father consumptive and debilitated through their many travails on the road, their provisions nearly exhausted yet again, he senses that the end is near. It is at this moment that the reader experiences one of the most searing passages:You're not the one who has to worry about everything.He [the son] looked up, his wet and grimy face. Yes I am, he said. I am the one.Classic McCarthy. Our sons are not only our muses, they are our mirrors. We see in them the very best of ourselves and the very worst. It is through our greatest trials that we must seek to know their hearts. For it is in the knowing that we are delivered from our suffering.And it is through our relationships with our sons, more so than any others, that we begin to understand unconditional love.A Story Masterfully Told and Beautifully Written!

FEEL the Road.

by Tony Bertauski

Some authors simply tell a story. McCarthy made me FEEL it.The Road is a post-apocalyptic world. Everything is dead, gray and cold. Everything scorched and covered in ash. Few humans are left, looking for food and surviving in hopelessness.McCarthy unveils the desperation for survival through the eyes of a man and his boy, travelling along a road to find the coast. There's no future. No hope. And what's left of the human race has resorted to savagery and cannibalism.At times, McCarthy's writing is tedious, combing through the details of a scene at length. He doesn't use quotation marks for dialog, which can, at times, become confusing. Those two styles are usually enough for me to put down a book.But McCarthy does such an amazing job of conveying the atmosphere of a bleak, barren world. The cold and the rain and the grey. The hard ground and filthy clothes and the quiver of fear. But these elements are balanced by the love between the father and son that's demonstrated through dialog and scene. So sweet. So heartbreaking. The reader can't help but question why someone would want to keep living -- the fire -- like the mother had when the apocalypse arrived.It's a novel that truly transported me into its world.4.5 stars

Wonderfully written and terrifying

by Traveling Hobo

Mr. McCarthy put together a wonderfully written book in The Road. Something happened on planet Earth where life as we know it drastically changed. A young boy and his father fight to survive and live to see another day. They are working their way south, hoping to get to a better place. They've heard there are southern colonies where the people look out for each other. The man hopes for a better life for his son. Although the story line seems simple and perhaps even overdone in American literature I found this book to be extremely well written and a true page turner, and at times very, very frightening.

Goodness in an Apocalypse

by TRH

The road is a post apocalyptic story that tells of a father and son's journey through a wasteland that is devoid both of physical and spiritual life. In this wasteland, they struggle to hold on to all that is good about human kind, they struggle to hold on to goodness. They are pushed on by the presence of each other. In the background of this story is the great void of God. In a certain sense, it is written in a world that has experienced the "death of God". They struggle on, trying to keep the light of goodness alive.Above all else in the story, this book is written so poetically and elegantly that it almost reminds one of a modern Shakespeare at certain sections. However, the narrative can seem to be a bit repetitive. None the less, it shows off the written genius of Cormac McCarthy.

Dreary but a thought provoking read!

by T. S. Johnson

Although it was heavy it really was a great story about two lonely characters that were both heavily reliant on one another.

Short But Winding

by T. Slaven

Nature -- including man in his natural state -- is savage and unforgiving. This is a hallmark of Cormac McCarthy's vision. What then follows from the destruction of the natural world? What then?The apocalypse is some time past. Flora and fauna have been destroyed and provide no sustenance. Humans seem to be the only animals still extant. They take nutrition from old stockpiles of supplies whenever they can find them -- and from each other.Those who walk the earth are the living dead and the few atavistic men who prey upon them.A father and son seek escape from the oncoming grip of a mountain winter and certain death. They are traveling on foot to the Southern coast of what once was America. Their belongings are carried in knapsacks and a grocery cart. Like escaped slaves, they shun the highways and hide from any people they encounter. Too many of the remaining humans are "bad guys" and survival depends upon assuming that all are so. Father and son are the last of the "good guys". They do not take innocent lives. They do not consume human flesh. They care for each other. They carry the light.This story is their struggle to survive. "Why" is a more profound question than "how". What is there to affirm when all of the human past is gone irretrievably and the survival of life in any form seems unlikely?This is a love story. It is told naturalistically. It is written with economy and beauty of expression. It will shock and sicken and elevate those who read it. It will make you wonder and worry about the future of the planet, and you probably will find yourself giving a hug to those you love.This is powerful stuff.

Not an easy read, but very powerful

by Ty B. Powers "fledgling book reviewer"

"The Road" marks my foray into Cormac McCarthy's canon. From what I can tell from a casual glance at general readers out there, you either hate it or love it. I haven't come across too many middle-of-the-roaders (pardon the pun). It certainly wasn't an easy read. To begin with, McCarthy's syntax and dialogue are unconventional and may be off-putting for some, not to mention his tendency toward neologism, and then there's the subject matter.The post-apocalyptic story is bleak, heartbreaking, unflinching, and horrific, as post-apocalyptic tales tend to be. One of my Facebook friends put it this way: "I don't think it would have affected me nearly as much before I had my son. With the kid, it was damn hard to read." Yet something hopeful emerges. As I recall certain haunting passages, I am reminded of P.D. James' "The Children of Men," with its tiny, savior-like moments of purity and beauty pushing up through the perpetually raw uncertainty of the setting's ashen wilderness.Another reason why this book is so powerful is that it's a remarkable coming-of-age novel, that is, a "bildungsroman," to use one of those high-falutin' ten-dollar words I came across in college. It deserves a place in the upper echelon of novels in which a main character makes major strides in his or her moral, psychological, and intellectual development. I'm not saying "The Road" is at the top of the list, but it certainly deserves to sit on some graduate student's shelf down the hall from "Huckleberry Finn," "Great Expectations," and Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon."The novel's plotline or tone or setting isn't particularly distinctive; rather, McCarthy's sparse, nearly perfectly succinct use of language is what makes this book poetically transcendent. In certain sections, there is seemingly no other way McCarthy could have phrased things. Every single word feels essential.In this end, above all, this book is about one thing: the immeasurable, unconquerable power of love.

Cheating the Reader

by Tyler R. Tichelaar "Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D....

Like many people, I read "The Road" because it won the Pulitzer. I was already aware of Oprah's endorsement of the book, but when I heard it was about an apocalyptic world I felt I didn't need to read a book that would depress me. When the Pulitzer was given to it, I decided to reconsider.I was disappointed. Is the book artistic? Yes. Is it entertaining? Only slightly.Ultimately, there are two elements that make a good novel. Plot and character development. At least one of these has to exist in a book to make it entertaining and meaningful. Neither exist in "The Road."Plot: First of all, there is no plot. The father and son are walking on a road, heading South because it will be warmer there during the winter. I have a problem with this from the start. Personally, living in Upper Michigan where the windchill can reach 40 below zero in winter, I can understand concern about the cold. Would I walk south, however, if there were a nuclear war? Perhaps to find people, but never to escape the cold. I would be better served chopping down trees and building fires than wandering the countryside with nothing. People lived for thousands of years without electricity or natural gas or coal to heat their homes. It's not the end of the world if the power goes out.Second, the father and son seem to be searching for "the good guys" but they avoid everyone they meet. It is hard to believe they even think they will find good guys. They'd be better off staying in one place and letting the good guys find them, and if the bad guys find them first, killing them.Third, the author never tells us what happened to the world. The father at one point says he doesn't know. Most readers think there was a nuclear war before the story begins. However, if this were the case, and say China nuked the U.S., wouldn't somebody know this? Wouldn't the government warn the public of this on the television giving people at least a few minutes or even a few hours before the nuclear weapons hit. Wouldn't the father have met at least one person who could tell him what had happened? If it were a comet that hit, wouldn't some scientist have seen it coming and warned the human race. Not knowing what happened just makes no sense at all to me.Fourth, there is no purpose. Not only is the search for the good guys fruitless, but the father has absolutely no idea of what to teach his son or what the future might be. He keeps telling his son not to think about the world that existed, as if it will make his son sad, and he tells his son to keep the fire burning, but he gives him no tools to do this. He does not in anyway teach his son the history of the human race, the great stories of courage, the epics, or poetry or anything to inspire his son, to preserve the culture and civilization. Perhaps civilization has resulted in disaster, but if that were the case, I would think the father would want his son to know the good things about human history so they are carried on and rebuilt.Character Development: There isn't any really. The father and son are not even given names. Perhaps McCarthy wants them to be "everyman" figures to show they could be any one of us if such an event happened although I can't imagine acting much like the father, who is so unwilling to communicate with his son. I think McCarthy purposely leaves the characters' thoughts and motivations vague to create Everyman type characters, but what this unnatural character depiction does is alienate the reader. The father's thoughts, especially, are unnaturally restricted. Granted, we don't really know how long since the world fell into such a state and perhaps all that traipsing around the country makes the father too tired to have coherent thoughts anymore, but we only get pieces of his thoughts--we never get clear memories. We know nothing about who he was before the crisis occurred. What were his dreams and goals? Who was his family? How has the loss of his family and friends affected him? At one point when his son asks, he just says he misses his friends. I can understand his not wanting to burden the child with his emotions, but the reader should be allowed to see into his mind and understand the pain and sorrow he must feel. I didn't have any great emotional connection with the characters and found myself not really caring if someone did kill and eat them because I was cheated out of their thoughts, and consequently, I never got to know them.Final Score: I would probably give this book 3 stars, saying it was okay, except I also want to take issue with the style. Many of the other reviews have said the book is well-written, but that is a vague statement. The prose flows smoothly and I did not find it difficult to follow. But I am giving the book two stars because the punctuation was very irritating. There are no quotations around the dialogue and rarely any dialogue tags of "he said" so that in some of the conversations I lost track of who was speaking. Furthermore, if McCarthy wants to avoid using punctuation, that's one thing, but he should at least be consistent about it. He repeatedly leaves out the apostrophes in contractions that include "not" - "isn't" becomes "isnt" - but he doesn't leave out the apostrophes for most other contractions. I don't understand this lack of consistency. I don't know why a publisher would put up with it. I can only assume, since this is the only McCarthy novel I have read, that his earlier books were greater and therefore, he has clout with the publisher.Ultimately, "The Road" does have a couple moments of suspense, but its lack of plot and character development made it a severe disappointment for me. If you want to be moved, you will find a stronger emotional connection to the horse in "Black Beauty." If you want a good apocalyptic novel, even Stephen King--whom I do not usually recommend--did better in "The Stand." A lot of reviewers have argued about whether "The Road" is a work of science-fiction. I would recommend they compare it to Mary Shelley's "The Last Man" - the first apocalyptic novel written, and one far more moving and meaningful, as well as one of the first science fiction novels, written in 1826, and by the author of "Frankenstein."- Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. in literature, for MQT Reviews, author of "Iron Pioneers"

Worth a couple readings

by Up The Stairs

The Road is my first Cormac McCarthy book, but it won't be my last. I have already acquired the entire border trilogy as well as No Country For Old Men. What a wonderful writer McCarthy is, and I wonder why I've never read any of his books before. The Road is an engaging story about a father and his son seeking salvation in a world that offers nothing, not even hope. Little is explained, mostly left up to the reader to surmise, but the explicit hopelessness of their situation is profoundly evident. As we near troubled times, peak oil, economic crash, and growing violence, The Road is an interesting gauge on what can and may happen to all of us. It begs the question "why can't we make this opportunity to work?". I fear that we are all destined to live the life of The Road.I highly recommend The Road, but beware, it will not leave you, but demand that you come back and read it again.


by Utah Mom

I couldn't put it down. It is disturbing and dark and enthralling and all-absorbing. Even in the darkest, world-ending time there is still love and hope. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Intense Tale

by Valerie Allen "Author: Write, Publish, Sell!"

An Oprah pick, this is a futuristic novel of world devestation and a struggle for survival. A man and his young son survive an unnamed catastrophic event and search for the basics to keep alive. The deeper survival issue is their humane and spiritual connection. At times a deep and dark story, but well written and brings the reader face to face with the bigger issues of life and the meaning of love.

Road Less and Less Traveled To Nowhere

by Vance "Klaatu"

This is one long depressing and somewhat tedious road to nowhere that somehow, despite the poetically depressing descriptions of life on the post-apocalyptic road keeps the reader engaged until the sad, sad final resolution. Gripping and severe, and yea, did I mention, somewhat tedious.

Why are there so many people complaining about this being depressing?

by V.D.M.

I honestly don't know why so many people are saying "Wow, this is so depressing." Is a post-apocalyptic novel supposed to be a happy and cheery read with butterflies and rainbows and daisies? I don't think so.Now for the book...flawless beauty. The Road is a very emotional tale about a father and his son after the apocalypse (it is never explained what happened, though that adds to the mysteriousness and gives the book an amount of depth.) This was my first Cormac McCarthy book, but it surely will not be my last. He deserved to win the Pulitzer Prize.

An overrated book

by Verita "a devoted reader"

This is an example of what happens when a writer gets too famous for an editor to touch him. It's repetitive, with too many coincidences, too little explanation, which would have been difficult to do, so, better left out, I guess. Every time they are starving, they find a store of food. The woman conveniently dead because McCarthy doesn't like to write about women. He writes convincingly of the relationship between father and son, but if the landscape is as completely dead as he makes it out to be, there is no explanation of how they survived this long -- must be seven or eight years, minimum, on what? Leftover canned goods somehow overlooked by other starving people? Like a previous reviewer, I also wondered what the people in the cellar were eating. Also, the one good person appears at the exact right time, or perhaps a day late or too late, but in time for a rescue. Too many haircuts, perhaps the author lost track, but starving people do not need to have their hair cut twice in 100 pages. And he indicates they had been on the road over a year, again without explaining how they managed that. It wasn't hard to read, but it just wasn't that skillfully done. It has a fairytale quality that I found frustrating--poof, that's how it was. I need details. The whole point is to construct a believable world, even if devastated, not just to write whatever you feel like writing and let the reader try to patch in the rest. Nice to be famous enough to get away with it, though.

Shocking and Beautiful

by wancow

Wrote this review for the Livermore Public Library 2013 Summer Reading Program:The world is ash. The sky is grey.A man is travelling with his son who has never in his life seen a sun rise. Their things are in a shopping cart with a wonky wheel and a pair of nap sacks with essentials, in case they have to abandon the cart. The only thing there is to eat is what you can scavenge... that and... what's left of the living.Cormac McCarthy's portrait of the post apocalyptic world pulls no punches at all. His descriptions are almost poetic, allowing this reader to get lost in the words till he brings us to several stomach knotting realizations, showing us horrific depths of depravity.But the father, with his young son, has convinced himself that all is not lost. There is hope. There has to be. His son will never know a blade of grass, or have a hot dog at a baseball game, or the drama of high school. But they, between them, are carrying the fire of hope for a future.He shows the depth of love and sacrifice of a father who truly loves his child. If nothing else, this dreary yet beautiful story is that of how a good father relates to his son even as the boy is exposed to terrible realities from which most parents in our would hope to protect their own children.A motion picture was made of this film, but this deeply personal story is best experienced in its original form. For those of you who can take it: highly recommended.

Really moving,

by wbjonesjr1

"The Road" is the second consecutive book I read that I enjoy a lot and find very powerful, but that many Amazon reviewers dislike, to put it mildly (the previous one was "Tree of Smoke"). I sort of agree with reviewers that disdain McCarthy's prose and "gimmicks" (the lack of quotation marks is particularly derided)as pretentious and some elements of plot as farfetched. But I forgive all that because this book really moved me. The relationship between the father and little boy is spectacularly developed. Perhaps one has to be a father with a boy to feel empathy for the characters - as I am, and did. And that emphathy grew very strong and made the book absolutely special for me.I have also read "The Pesthouse", a post-apocalyptic novel by Jim Crace, and albeit Crace's book was impeccably written (including quotation marks and conventional, albeit nonetheless beautiful prose), it is McCarthy's book that I would read again.

Do not read before bed!

by Whisky Lover

Such an amazing read. I always wanted to know what happened next, but was also constantly scared about what would happen next! I could not read this book before bed, it was a bit scary, with too much anticipation and excitement late at night. It has left me scarred me with some very haunting images. I still want answers to many of the mysteries of the book.


by William Black "buddman921"

I am not sure how I feel about this book. It doesn't really go anywhere or really say anything. Some people do bad things and others do good things. There are no names, there are no locations, and there is no indication of what happened to put the characters in the situation that they are in. The book has the tendency to put images in your mind that you don't want there. It is a quick read. I am not sure how I would even classify this book. It almost seems like a synopsis of a book rather than a book itself.

Apocalyptic Achievement

by William Capodanno

This book had me spellbound from the first wood until the last word. While this book would have been an immediate American classic if it were released 10 years ago, the impact is only heightened in a post 9/11 world -- one where the growing threat of radical fundamentalism (of all societies) and global warming create a landscape where "The Road" achieves a heightened sense of urgency and realism.As a father, this book caused my to reflect on every action the man took and think about the consequences for his son. Would I have made the same choices? What would I have done if that choice had resulted in the son's death? Was the journey to the sea worth it? How would I deal with "the burden" of having to physically, emotionally and spiritually protect my son? Or the burden of knowing I was dying and the helpless feeling of what would happen to my son?I've seen other people critical of the man for not killing his boy to spare him from the evils of the this apocalyptic world. They fail to see that the "The Road" is not a book about evil, death or defeat. It is ultimately a book about hope. Hope, that in spite of all the evil that human beings are capable, life will triumph over death, good over evil. Killing him would have been killing life, hope and all that is good.A poignant masterpiece that will rightly earn a place in the pantheon of American Literature.

Disturbingly bleak, but utterly believable

by William D. Hastings

The Road (Oprah's Book Club)by Cormac McCarthy follows a father and son as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of some unspecified apocalyptic event that has left the world covered in grey ash. The people who are left to populate the world are largely acting on their more cruel and base natures - rape, murder, and cannibalism have become rote. Yet the vast majority of this is only hinted at or implied as McCarthy lays out his tale in spare prose that is as bleak and unadorned as the colorless landscape his nameless characters are forced to traverse. There is no room for softness or sentiment in the world that the author chronicles, but he deftly makes both the father and son real and multi-dimensional rather than merely faceless refugees. There is also no room for a happy ending, though perhaps it could be perceived as having a glimmer of hope. In this life we live, perhaps that's the best we can achieve at times: just a glimmer. McCarthy's work is hailed as literature, but can be a bit difficult to decipher at times for the uninitiated. In this instance, though, his sparse style meshes well with his post-apocalyptic world, and the reader is awarded with a moving story that gives an abundantly believable take on just what would happen to mankind if the world went to pot. Sadly, there is more darkness than light.

Boy, am I in the minority on this one...

by William E. Adams

As I write this, there are 1,700 reviews posted for this book. Only 167 of us, now 168, hated it enough to give it only one star. I found it so boring, repetitious, grim and hopeless that it was a physical and psychic struggle to stick it out to the end. (An end in which, for no credible reason given what came before, "hope" actually makes a cameo appearance.) I have read no other Cormac productions, and seen no films made from his novels, but after this endurance contest, I am not inclined to give him another chance. Over the decades, I have read several other novels depicting a post-World War III world, or a post-catastrophic natural disaster environment, and there have been a handful of films on the same themes. All of the other efforts were more enjoyable than this. I cannot understand what Mr. McCarthy was thinking, yet his effort got him a Pulitzer. Surely, that was given for his entire body of work, not this waste of time.


by William Oterson

Absolutely riveting - I was unable to put the book down until I had finished. Beautifully written apocalyptic tale of father and son survivors in a world at the edge, devoid of all but meager remnants of the fire of humanity. Written almost poetically - there is so much raw feeling conveyed. This is one hellofa story.

Interesting Topic

by William S. Oetting

The Road portrays some idea of what the world would be like after some type of catastrophe. The idea and the storytelling is new and interesting, but there are just too many things about this book that are plain annoying. For one, the punctuation or actually, lack there of makes it that much more difficult to read. I found times while I was reading where I stopped because I couldn't figure out who had spoken the dialogue. Rules of punctuation were created for a reason and I hate it when a writer believes that they are above that. The second problem I had with this book are the huge holes in the story that never get filled. The disaster that occurs before the book begins is never explained even though it is alluded to on multiple occasions. Also, the flash backs to the wife were so spotty you are left wondering what really happened. I remember one reference to the man filling a tub with water which was never referred to again. Why write something if doesn't add anything to the story. My last issue with this book is that the ending seems not to fit in with the rest of the book.

Where are the roaches?

by W. Jamison "William S. Jamison"

Talk about a miserable book to read before bed! If that is when you plan on reading this change your mind. You won't be able to get to sleep. I suppose the only redeeming value is the emphasis this book puts on our realizing just how wonderful we all have it (if you are reading at all this applies to you) compared to what could be. While the book ends on a slightly positive note, it is not that positive, not positive enough that I would hope to take something practical away from this. There is also a question about the science of the Road. Where are the roaches? I have always heard they would outlive us.

This One Will Stay With You

by Wyman Richardson

The Road is Faulknerian in many ways (the tone, the dialogue, the stream-of-consciousness, the bleak, brutal surroundings) and I was not surprised to find that McCarthy's first literary agent was Faulkner's as well. Yet it is also a very distinct work that has come from a very distinct pen. McCarthy won the Pulitzer prize for The Road, and it is easy to see why.The story, at first glance, is simple enough: a man and his son trying to survive (mainly along the road) in a mysteriously apocalyptic landscape. I say "mysteriously" because we are never told what happened, though the prevailing view among readers seems to be that a massive ecological crisis has occured. I do agree with that view, though some kind of nuclear holocaust can't be ruled out either. Regardless, most people are dead, and most animals as well. The food supply is gone, and those humans who remain have either embraced a despairing life of animalistic cruelty (i.e., cannabalism) or have taken a higher road and are simply seeking to survive. The man mentions "communes" once or twice, so you gather that there are small pockets of people somewhere out there trying to rebuild some rudimentary form of society.But the book is much more than it appears at first glance. It is a deeply and profoundly spiritual book. I was not surprised to read a recent interview with the director of the movie version in Christianity Todaysaying that McCarthy insisted to him that the references to God and the spiritual impulse of the book not be diminished in the film. I daresay that any fair-minded reader will agree that such an omission would do serious harm to the fabric of the story.God is "in the air" of The Road: from the boy's simple but resolute faith, to the man's occasional Job-like cries of despair, to the continuous references to carrying "the fire" (a theme McCarthy ends No Country For Old Men with as well), to the mysterious old man's observation about the boy's belief in God. There is more, but I do not want to say more about the actual story.I'll only add this: McCarthy is a profound and powerful writer and the book is stunning on many levels. Mrs. Richardson raised a question out of the clear blue last night about the book that had been on her mind since we finished the last page two nights ago. And that is the mark of a truly great work, isn't it? It stays with you, haunting you almost, and continues to work in your mind and in your heart.Read The Road.Wyman Richardson[...]

A Story of Survival and Love

by Zia

This is going to be a tiny review. If you are looking for a happy go lucky book, this ain't it. I really enjoyed it, but it is dark, dank, and dreary.I listened to it in a few days, which for an audiobook is amazing for me. It had me hooked from the get go. It's just so sad. I had to fight back tears in some spots. I will say one thing, I really liked is they didn't give the characters names. It was just "the boy" and "Papa". I don't know why but this fit the book very well. The lengths that the father went to so he could protect his son were heartwarming and something that stayed with me during and after finishing the book.I'm putting a warning on this because there are few disturbing scenes in the book and I can honestly say a couple of them will stick with me for a long time to come. The scenes aren't long in length but they pack a punch.

Add Me to the List of Admirers of This Book

by zorba

I haven't particularly cared for McCarthy's books but this is a great exception. Like any good "road" story, this one leads somewhere and the suspense that builds up during the journey about where and how this journey will end is as palpabable as anything else you may read. It's uncanny how McCarthy can take just a man, a boy and a hopelessly bleak setting and fashion a book of compelling, heart-wrenching intensity. Whereas before, where McCarthy's spare writing style turned me off, in this book, it adds infinitely to the greatness of the book. I've always enjoyed apocolyptic novels and this is one of the best, exceeded only, in my mind, by George Stewart's enduring cult-classic "Earth Abides." "The Road" will be -- and should be -- one of the great books of our times.

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