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The Road

Written by: Cormac McCarthy
Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (209 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007

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.

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

What the critics say

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A modern classic.

Tough at times but stay with it. Touching and real. McCarthy is the master of prose.

4 people found this helpful

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  • OL
  • 2019-04-03

My first, only, audible review.

I’m newish to audible. Only listened to about 15 books so far.
This is by far the best audio book I’ve listened to, the narrator delivers it perfectly- true to the spirit of the book.
The book itself is harsh, difficult, important.
Thank you audible. This was truly a moving experience.

2 people found this helpful

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great book. amazing narration

just read (listen to) it. lol. o, and mediocre narrators should take notes this guy was one of the best I've heard.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely breathtaking!!!

Absolutely breathtaking book. A masterpiece from an most amazing storyteller. A must read/listen for everyone who loves stories.

1 person found this helpful

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oh ma heart

beautifully written, beautifully read. elegance in the pain. captures something that cannot be described with normal words. An ending that rivals all great endings and to me came out on top.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding

I read this book in highschool and first getting audible this was my first choice always a great read!

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Heartbreaking and Wonderful

Devastating and completely worthwhile. Cried at the end, but that means it is moving and effective.

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Dark but not unbearable, very real.

Never listened to anything like this. Was worried it was going to be to sad for me, but even though it is very said, it still uplifts you in odd ways.

Narrator-11 out of 10

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Very much depends what you are after

A beautiful book. Plausible and bleak.
So if you want a creative and moving look at enduring human spirit in the face of near hopelessness, this is for you.

If you want to feel uplifted, try something else.

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Emotional! D:

Having two little ones myself, it's hard to imagine living in a world like the one painted in this book. We never once learn the names of the characters but the names aren't important. The relationship between father and son is tested in the harsh new reality but these two stick it out thick or thin. I was moved to tears in the end. The audio performance is wonderful and I could hear the clear differences between the father and son.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dubi
  • 2019-07-10

The Road Too Ruined

The Road, in audio, is hypnotic. Horrific, yes. But emotionally powerful, especially for a father like me, with so much of the story focused on the how single-mindedly driven the father is to protect his son in the worst possible post-apocalyptic scenario. But more than just protect him -- to teach him as well, to protect himself, and to do so in manner that preserves the best part of humanity despite a landscape in which all humanity seems to have devolved to its worst instincts.

By contrast, I've read some scathing criticisms of the print version from people I can relate to -- turned off by some of the pretensions author Cormac McCarthy appears to have indulged himself in, taking liberties with punctuation and syntax and style. I could easily see myself among the tiny but vocal minority who push back against that conceit had I read the book in print. But that is not a factor when listening to the audio. I did have a problem with some of the repetitious dialogue, but otherwise, this spare but potent novel seems to be a perfect fit for audio, never mind its accolades, Pulitzer Prize and all.

Perhaps because I am a father myself, I was most moved by how intensely driven the father was to keep his son alive. I do things for my kids that I would not do for anyone else, including myself. That has never been life of death as it is in this story, but quotidian life in modern America is not usually life or death, and yet we still do what we can for our kids. I rarely get choked up, but I was definitely growing teary eyed as I was driving home listening to the last half hour of this book.

Before listening to The Road, I had heard it referred to as an allegory. I can see where one can read symbolism into it, especially from the point of view of religion, specifically the Christian view of god. I would have reacted negatively had I looked at the book through that prism while listening to it. But in the moment, it is hard to hear anything beyond the sheer horror of the circumstances, taken at face value. The Road works perfectly as a straightforward story of a father and son trying to survive an apocalyptic event -- there is little need to delve deeper.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew Boehm
  • 2011-05-15

Poor Dialog, Not Much Plot Development

"The Road" follows the journey of a man and his boy walking through a post-apocalyptic America in constant search of food and shelter. While they do face some interesting ordeals along the way, the only developments happen within these limited episodes and are soon forgotten. The characters never seem to evolve, and always end up in the exact same situation they were in the day before.

Much of the book is dialog between the father and son, and (perhaps because the son is young) is very limited. I can't count the number of times I heard one of these: "okay", "alright", "I'm sorry", "I'm scared". While these can be used smartly to convey deeper meaning, there's a limit to how far that will go.

The narration combines with this repetitive dreary dialog to make a very dull and repetitive listen.

I understand that this book is trying to have a sad tone, and many of the things that bothered me about it might be considered its strengths by people who enjoyed the book. It's possible that I just don't "get" this book. Unless you know that you are a fan of Cormac McCarthy's writing style, I would take this review to be a warning to seriously consider if it's the kind of book you would enjoy before purchasing.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Michael G.
  • 2018-06-15

Opportunity Lost

Did I miss something? The writing was interesting and the reading/performance was very good. But I came close to putting this book down several times and didn't only because I kept thinking "something really interesting is about to happen". It never did.

The author has a great imagination and a compelling way of writing. This could have been a very good, if not great book, if there was more story. Other than being occasionally horrified at depths to which humanity could fall in a crisis (as imagined by the author), I was bored. It was an opportunity lost.

23 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jordan
  • 2007-06-24

Tedium Uninterrupted

To say that a post-apocalyptic world would be difficult and dismal doen't seem very innovative. To take this basic concept and stretch it over the period of severla hoursr is excruciating. Perhaps if there had been some more depth regarding the pre-apocalypse nature of the characters, the events leading up to the event, etc. - it could have been bearable. Whatever you do, don't listen to this when you're in a depressive state. Believe me, it only gets worse and worse.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Brittany
  • 2013-03-26

Really??

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This book drags on and on... It was hard to get through.. partially because of the depressing story, but mostly because of the narration.. He could put anyone to sleep!!!

18 people found this helpful

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  • J. McGee
  • 2015-10-30

Couldn't finish it

Man, this book is rough. It just felt like it would never end and the story was all twisted. I will try to go back to it, but it's a tough one.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2017-03-03

Predictable. Slow.

I had to read this book for a book club. I try to only contribute positive things to the group, so I think I'll remain pretty quiet on this one.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Lee R
  • 2016-11-23

Just No

There was so much potential for an interesting story in here and it just never happened. What happened to get the world to the point the story takes up at is only described in the most vague words. The opportunity for development of the 2 main characters was there and not taken advantage of. Same with the opportunity for more than vague references to 'others'. Overall I found the story quite dull, the main characters annoying at best and the narration lent nothing to making it seem more interesting. Just nothing at all to make me want to recommend this or read it again.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 2016-05-24

The Road to Whatever

Any additional comments?

I kept waiting for answers that never came. What happened to everyone in the first place? Never knew the man's or boy's name. The boy was continually whining. I would've hoped he would develop to be more like "Carl" on The Walking Dead. I didn't like any of the characters. The end just kinda happened and was tied up with a little optimistic bow.

25 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jean-Marie
  • 2009-03-21

Could not finish the book

I really wanted to get into this book, but just couldn't. The rhythm was just off for me. I just could not develop any interest or empathy for the protagonists. I ended up giving up 1/3 the way. Maybe it was about to get better? I just couldn't stand it anymore.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2018-10-02

le meilleur livre que j'ai déjà écouté.

L'histoire est incroyable intéressante et la narration en anglais met l'accent dramatique nécessaire. Sans pointer le doigt sur les causes de la destruction du monde, ce livre nous fait réfléchir sur notre mode de vie actuelle.