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The Road cover art

The Road

By: Cormac McCarthy
Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
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Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007


An Oprah Winfrey Book Club Selection

America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

Bleak but brilliant, with glimmers of hope and humor, The Road is a stunning allegory and perhaps Cormac McCarthy's finest novel to date. This remarkable departure from his previous works has been hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a "novel of horrific beauty, where death is the only truth".

McCarthy, a New York Times best-selling author, is a past recipient of the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. He is widely considered one of America's greatest writers.

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©2006 M-71, Ltd. (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC

Critic reviews

"McCarthy's prose retains its ability to seduce...and there are nods to the gentler aspects of the human spirit." ( The New Yorker)
"One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal...Every moment of The Road is rich with dilemmas that are as shattering as they are unspoken...McCarthy is so accomplished that the reader senses the mysterious and intuitive changes between father and son that can't be articulated, let alone dramatized...Both lyric and savage, both desperate and transcendent, although transcendence is singed around the edges...Tag McCarthy one of the four or five great American novelists of his generation." ( Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"...For all the harrowing hopelessness, the bond between father and son shines through."( The Guardian)

What listeners say about The Road

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,781
  • 4 Stars
    625
  • 3 Stars
    229
  • 2 Stars
    63
  • 1 Stars
    49
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,685
  • 4 Stars
    474
  • 3 Stars
    132
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    21
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,504
  • 4 Stars
    516
  • 3 Stars
    218
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    45

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Don't go to see the film - read the book. Very dark and atmospheric. Unlike one of the other reviewers, I can clearly see why it has won such aclaim. Read it and make up your own mind.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 17-10-11

On the Road Again

Bleak and sparse this narrative is wonderfully affecting and Tom Stechschulte gives an excellent performance as the archetypal man and boy in this post-apocalyptic wasteland.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well written, well read, but well sad!

What did you like most about The Road?

It was a short and quite simple story, but the themes are really human and quite deep.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters are few and far between, but you do get a growing sense of who the man and boy are as the story progresses, which is what I liked best.

Have you listened to any of Tom Stechschulte’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes, his performance on 'No Country For Old Men' was fantastic.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I tend to listen on my commute, so no, not really. However it is short enough to get through in one day if you wanted to.

Any additional comments?

Although this story has stayed with me and I think about it often, I sometimes wonder if I would say I 'enjoyed' it because I found it SO SAD! Fathers with young sons beware! But it really is well written and a good story. I didn't think it was as good as 'No Country For Old Men' though.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A bitterly bleak masterpiece

Hopelessness and a rich yet desolate landscape are captured magnificently with deft, clipped prose. The narration is sublime and charged with a grizzled, gritty tone that compliments the story perfectly.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and Stark

Loved this book it was so stark but beautifully written. Enjoyed every minute of it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Depressing story, but magnificent writing.

Having already seen, and been impressed by, the film I was hoping that the book would be just as good. In fact, it's even better.
Sometime in the near future, in some unidentified country, a man and his young son are struggling to survive in a world that has been devastated by a vast disaster that is never fully explained. Everything around them is burnt and dead; they are walking along a road to find the sea, where they hope things will be better. The road is full of threats and dangers - specifically from fellow survivors, who have nearly all turned into cannibal savages. Nobody can be trusted and they regularly come across horrors perpetuated by the savages.
Yes, it sounds depressing, all right. But McCarthy's excellent carries it along - you get a good sense of the characters of these two; the man is a decent and moral person struggling to keep themselves alive in a terrible world, the boy is learning that humans are both bad and good and that he must stay on the side of the good. The dialogue is spare and sparse, often just consisting of "OK, OK", "I know, I know", "We'll go this way", "OK". There are no fancy speeches, no heroic declarations; this is how real people, real family members speak to each other.
I'd intended only to listen to a couple of chapters before bed, but ended up sitting up all night, unable to stop, willing these two characters - who had become so familiar and dear to me - to survive. Only the ending was a slight disappointment (hence the four stars), but it's difficult to see the author could have ended any other way.
The reading was beautifully done, also. Tom Stechschulte conveyed the different personalities of the pair really well, even with so little dialogue to work with. And his reading of the descriptive passages - some of them very long - never got boring. Long passages that I would probably have skimmed through in print held my attention all the way through and had me seeing the scene in my mind. His performance bought the whole dismal world of The Road to vivid life.
.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heart warming and breathtaking experience.

It changes you perception of life to the point where you feel as if in a way it has impacted your own luxurious life that we live into toady.an amazing book by far proceeded my expectations.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning, unforgettable

Heart-breaking, spare, moving. This is a book that will live with me for a long time. I sobbed at the end, and am crying as I write this. I will not forget either the book, or the superb, perfectly matched performance.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Emotional Journey

An emotional journey of a father and son as they traverse a desolate world. The worldbuilding and descriptive narrative are top notch. This is a writer at the top of his game. The narration was excellent adding more layers to an already heart wrenching story.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Worst nightmare

Worst nightmare, had to google the end because else I couldn't read on. Perhaps it's a parent thing, don't touch my boy. Would've liked some extra background info, what happened to the world?

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