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The Road [Paperback]

Cormac McCarthy
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (828 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jan 2010

‘The first great masterpiece of the globally warmed generation. Here is an American classic which, at a stroke, makes McCarthy a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature’ Andrew O’Hagan

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.

‘McCarthy conjures from this pitiless flight the miracle of unswerving humanity. Gripping beyond belief’ Chris Cleave, Sunday Telegraph

‘One of the most shocking and harrowing but ultimately redemptive books I have read. It is an intensely intimate story. It is also a warning’ Kirsty Wark, Observer Books of the Year

‘So good that it will devour you. It is incandescent’ Daily Telegraph

‘You will read on, absolutely convinced, thrilled, mesmerized. All the modern novel can do is done here’ Alan Warner, Guardian

‘A masterpiece that will soon be considered a classic’ Herald


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 Jan 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0330513001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330513005
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (828 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,027 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

Review

A work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away -- --Tom Gatti, The Times<br /><br />I could only take short bursts of it in Degas's rasping, downbeat delivery, but I had to keep going back to it. The completeness of this vision of post-apocalyptic desolation is brilliantly imagined --Karen Robinson, The Sunday Times<br /><br />You will read on, absolutely convinced, thrilled, mesmerised. --Alan Warner, The Guardian<br /><br />The conspiratorial, undramatic narration heightens the impact of this powerful and chilling vision of a post-apocalyptic America. Father and son struggle to survive in a ruined environment by feeding off the leavings of the dead. Sounds depressing, but is compelling and strangely beautiful. --Rachel Redford, The Observer<br /><br />Rupert Degas is the most versatile of narrators: he excels in Haruki Murakami and was Pantalaimon in Philip Pullman's multivoiced Northern Lights. Chill menace is his forte, so when you turn on his narration of Cormac McCarthy's The Road get ready to turn into a hypnotised rabbit. --Christina Hardyment, The Times

This gripping, suspenseful novel will be hard to turn off - even by listeners with no or very little interest in the sci-fi genre. The Road begins in the late fall sometime in the future after catastrophe of horrible proportions has struck the continent. Two survivors, a man and his son, are traveling in a southerly direction. Are they seeking a warmer climate? Are they escaping from marauding bandits? Are they trying to locate other survivors? The pair carry their possessions in a grocery cart. The abandoned towns and cities are covered with a coating of gray ash. The forests contain the charred remains of bushes and trees. They subsist on what they can glean from abandoned houses, barns, and fields. Due to past experiences, they purposely avoid any contact with other people. Were they concerned about deadly contagious disease? robbery? murder? some kind of communicable radiation sickness? As the story progresses, the man becomes seriously ill and finally dies. The boy, of undetermined age, is left alone. Does he survive? Violence is minimal but a sense of doom pervades the story. Narrator Rupert Degas is superb. His deep, whispery, almost ominous tone further enhances this riveting tale of survival in the face of utter hopelessness. He gives each character a distinct voice that is appropriate for the situation. The abridging editor also deserves high marks for maintaining the storyline yet forcing the listener to fill in the blanks, all of which made this a step above a run-of-the-mill sci-fi novel experience. Violence is minimal but a sense of doom pervades the story. --Soundcommentary.com

Rupert Degas is the most versatile of narrators: he excels in Haruki Murakami and was Pantalaimon in Philip Pullman's multivoiced Northern Lights. Chill menace is his forte, so when you turn on his narration of Cormac McCarthy's The Road get ready to turn into a hypnotised rabbit. --Christina Hardyment, The Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Night on Earth 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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117 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark, terrible, powerful 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
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a superb book 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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224 of 249 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Shades of Grey 20 Feb 2007
By Eugene Onegin TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
If you like your fiction to have an equitable balance of light and shade, peopled by a galaxy of interesting characters and interspersed with humour and social interaction, then The Road is certainly not for you. However, to cast this book aside would be to miss one of the most extraordinary feats of imaginative world painting in modern literature. McCarthy's subject is as bleak as it is possible to imagine: a post apocalyptic planet Earth in perpetual nuclear winter where the landscape is dead or dying covered in a ubiquitous black ash slowly choking and silencing every living thing. It is a world without sun, animals, and plants where a few humans scavenge to survive abandoning all compassion and morality to do so. Amidst this nightmare a father and his son are found trekking across the wasteland of the United States heading for the coast hoping to find something in a world where hope has ceased to exist. It is their story which holds our attention: amidst the endless desolation and as they battle to survive, McCarthy explores the doubts, suspicions, loyalties and trade offs which typify any filial bond with enormous sensitivity and perception. Yet this pair must face questions unlikely to have been faced by many in any era: what is the point of life when the world as we know it is just a disappearing memory in the mind of a father whose son knows only a world of emptiness? Why try to survive when there is no chance of life being sustained over the long term? Ultimately they find purpose in their own inter-dependence wherein they learn to find all meaning and incentive. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A far better book. No roasting babies
One thousand shades of grey !

Now read " on the beach " by Neville Shute . A far better book . Read more
Published 3 days ago by Dr Sheila M M Sorby
5.0 out of 5 stars Devotion in a grotesque world
It blows the mind it's so intense whilst reading I had to put it down every now and then to digest the poetic prose. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Michael Feeney
5.0 out of 5 stars I read this stunning novel on the edge of my ...
I read this stunning novel on the edge of my seat. I felt as if I walked every step with this father and son. A chilling vision of Armageddon that will remain with me forever
Published 7 days ago by Ian
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
amazing book, beautifully bleak, unputdownable.
Published 7 days ago by Irene Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't think I 'got' it.
A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

The man and the boy journey along the road, headed south, trying everything they can to stay alive in the grey surroundings left by the... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Molly Looby
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down one of the best books I have ever read....
....and 7 years after reading it, I still think the same thing!
Published 9 days ago by Elsie
5.0 out of 5 stars The road
Utterly amazing read very touching and powerful highly recommended did not want to put it down but I had to deal with the mundane things in life
Published 10 days ago by John dignam
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
A very good book. Miserable though.
Published 12 days ago by couture Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff
Great condition
Published 13 days ago by TJ MCGINN
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but the ending is a tad contrived
Very good post apocalyptic story. It strikes me that McCarthy probably ran out of enthusiasm and just ended the book the way your heart wants it to end but your head tells you it... Read more
Published 14 days ago by D. Cooper
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