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The Road Paperback – Unabridged, 1 Jun 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330447548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330447546
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (872 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a travelling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing, was published with the third volume, Cities of the Plain, following in 1998. McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men, was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Product Description


Mesmerising... The best novel I read last year was McCarthy's No County for Old Men. I shall be astonished if this year I read anything better than The Road. --Mail on Sunday

From the Publisher

Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for fiction
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Redfern on 9 May 2008
Format: Paperback
A nameless father and son travel through a post-apocalyptic America, trying to reach warmer climates in the south. A disaster has fallen upon the human race and what we witness are the final days of man before the lights go out. All animals and plants have died; the sun doesn't shine anymore thanks to grey ash covering the sky and raining on the ground; and the few people still alive have reverted to the kind of barbarism that not even Stephen King dares explore in his novels.

Although this was a short, poetic page-turner, I had trouble reading it. I had to choose times of the day when I could tackle the book (NEVER at night, before bedtime); and many times I put down the book thanks to heart palpitations. However, I'll say that there is a glimmer of hope amidst all the desolation and horror, and that's what readers must cling to as they reach the end of this brilliant novel.

Unsurprisingly, a film version is already in the pipes; with "No Country for Old Men" winning the Oscars' last night, it now seems only a matter of time before most of McCarthy's books are given the celluloid treatment.

Oh, and I've said this once (and I'll say it again): Cormac McCarthy will be the next American to win the Nobel for Literature.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Just William on 16 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
On the stark cover of this book there is a banner announcing it as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The first review on the back declares it's good enough to win him the Nobel Prize. The inside covers and first three pages are covered with stunning reviews from around the world. Surely after all that praise a book can only be a disappointment.

The event that has devastated the world is never made explicit beyond 'a long shear of light and then a series of low concussions' but what it has left behind is a man and his son journeying south through a ruined landscape and struggling to survive. The symbiosis of their relationship is clear from the start, this isn't simply a man looking after his son, 'the boy was all that stood between him and death'. The boy's belief in the world is the thing which keeps them both going, which is why when he says he doesn't care at one point his father replies 'don't say that, you musnt say that'. After he has a particularly bad dream his father tells him; 'When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you cant give up. I wont let you'. Much later when the man says 'You're not the one who has to worry about everything' the boy replies simply 'Yes I am...I am the one'. Their laconic exchanges punctuate the novel, each of the boy's questions an attempt to construct a new moral structure in this dangerous environment. He needs to know that they're still the 'good guys' and as his father informs him 'They keep trying. They dont give up'.
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119 of 128 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Moore on 13 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
Don't start with any illusions of this book - it isn't a story. There isn't a beginning and a middle and a neat end. The plot does not develop in any significant way. What you get is a ride of pure emotion, that is of an intensity that I've not really seen matched anywhere else. This isn't a tale about the end of the world. This is what it looks like at the end of the world, what it sounds and smells like, and more importantly what it feels like when you are man and boy facing death and the extinction of the species.

Cormac uses words sparingly, and doesn't bother with a lot of punctuation or structure. It's almost modern narrative poetry, as per Bukowski et al. This makes it a more challenging read, but he drags you in, relentlessly. It is very bleak, it is very difficult, but he makes it work. I'm not going to give examples because it's worth finding out for yourself.

I read this almost entirely at night, in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in Devon, with everyone else asleep. And every night I went to bed drained by the experience of another chapter or so. If a book can move you to this degree, then what else can it be than a five stars?
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192 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Mike J. Wheeler on 14 Nov 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up after reading a glowing review in the press. I'm completely new to Cormac McCarthy having never read any of his other works. I have to say this is a superb book.

The book is set in a post-apocalyptic future. Though it's never stated what exactly happened, the subtext suggests a nuclear winter following a war. The earth is burnt, all vegetation is dead and it rains and snows ash. The plot follows the journey of a man and his son towards the south in order to find somewhere they can do more than just survive. But as all food has now been plundered - this being several years since the disaster - they are always on the edge of starvation. They must travel without being seen, as most of humanity that is left has long since resorted to cannibalism to survive.

What this is really about though is the extraordinary relationship between man and boy. The lengths that the man will go to protect his son and see him through the other end. It is a novel that for all its darkness is full of love. And wow is this dark. Many authors have written about the end of the world/survival but I don't think I've read anything quite this bleak. The scenery is utterly symapathetic to the couple's plight. It is filled with an overpowering poignancy for things lost - birds, cows, blue seas.

This is a very sad but at the same time uplifting book. The language used is simple and the conversational parts between man and boy are deliberately kept short. A wonderful book that I couldn't put down until I'd finished.
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