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The Road Paperback – 1 Jun 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,108 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (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 (1,108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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

Book Description

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel that has instantly established itself as a modern masterpiece

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
The father-son partnership in this novel will be remembered as one of the greatest relationships in literature for a long time. It's based largely on dependency and trust but most of all love. I can't recall the words "I love you" even being spoken in the book. They don't need to be. It's implicit. The writing (I'm tempted to say prose) is beautifully poetic. It's stark and minimalist, seeming to say so much more than it actually does, largely because your imagination is fully on board from the first few pages. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is how realistic it is. The characters really seem to act and react as you can imagine you would in the same situations. The backstory is hardly explained at all and this is how it should be. Nothing matters but the here and now in the book. It's clear there's no real hope for future happiness and the struggle for day to day survival leaves little time for any nostalgia for bygone days. The climax to the book manages to be completely devastating and yet life-affirming at the same time. You'll feel like immediately hugging a loved one upon closing the book, once you've wiped the tears away, and the lump in your throat will stay with you for days. It's enough to make you see the world differently and there's no higher praise I can give it than that.
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