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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT DARKNESS
I am not a Cormac McCarthy fan. I tried reading All The Pretty Horses several times but the downer neo-Hemingway style put me off and I could not sustain interest. Then last Christmas a friend in Europe sent me The Road as a gift. I had heard the reviews and was not prepared to read such a dark, bleak novel. Or not right away. But a few days ago I picked it up and...
Published on Dec 14 2007 by James W. Derry

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Roadkill by the hype machine
I bought this book after reading a few good reviews and then hearing a book show on the radio completely dedicated to The Road. All three hosts on the show admitted to tearing up and having to put the book down to gather themselves. I was hoping for the same experience. I did haveto put book the down several times, but only to go over some of the text in the head to...
Published on Nov. 1 2007 by Jason Barrett


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT DARKNESS, Dec 14 2007
By 
James W. Derry (Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Road (Hardcover)
I am not a Cormac McCarthy fan. I tried reading All The Pretty Horses several times but the downer neo-Hemingway style put me off and I could not sustain interest. Then last Christmas a friend in Europe sent me The Road as a gift. I had heard the reviews and was not prepared to read such a dark, bleak novel. Or not right away. But a few days ago I picked it up and read it in one, four hour sitting. I felt that if I stopped reading this horrific story, I would not have the courage to go back to it.
In this novel, McCarthy's simple writing style works. The planet is reduced to a cold, burnt cinder where the sun rarely shines because of a cloud cover of soot. Nothing of the world we know functions anymore and those humans who still live have only one goal: survival. Like the depressing gray days, McCarthy's language is basic and merges narrative with dialogue. Sometimes he blends words, like ruststained or diningroom or waterbuckled which oddly reflects the roadway that had been melted with corpses of refugees. Not using any quotation marks, or chapter breaks, or character names, the writing is grim and relentless. Yet it draws the reader into an incinerated landscape of cannibals and death where no birds sing or fish swim.
The story follows a nameless father and young son as they make their way south along deserted roads in what was once the United States. The boy was born after the disaster so only knows this bleak world. It is late autumn and grey snow falls along their trek to the gulf of Mexico. They push an old shopping cart with their scavenged food and tarps and try to avoid marauding body hunters. Both of them are emaciated and sick and they often do not eat for days. The only thing sustaining them is their love, their belief that they are the "good guys", and that things will be better once they reach the coast. Their journey is an open nightmare.
One reviewer has commented that The Road would have worked better as a long short story. I understand this viewpoint. But I am glad that McCarthy wrote it as a novel because it will reach a wider audience. I only pray that it will never be made into a film. This black jewel should only be read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Road Trip Through Hell, March 29 2007
By 
Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
Cormac Mccarthy's The Road is a dark, post apocalyptic journey through the remnants of the world as we know it, with the faintest flicker of hope at the end.

Destroyed by some never quite explained catastrophe, the Earth has become nearly inhospitable to life. A thick ash smothers everything and hangs in the sky, making a cold, quiet moonscape where things had once been green and alive. Through this nightmare world travels bands of desperate survivors, including an unnamed man and his son. The father's plan is to travel south to warmth and the ocean, where he hopes to find their salvation. Along the way they are confronted by cannibals, thugs and others as adrift as they are, a Darwinian struggle reminiscent to some degree of the lost boys in The Lord of the Flies, but far more sinister and disturbing. In particular, the image of the captives of the cannibals- who are being eaten bit by bit, shrinking grotesquely but kept alive so their flesh remains fresh- is a vision of Hell right out of Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. Calling themselves "the good guys," the father and son still carry a gun- with two bullets- to end their lives if needed rather than suffer a crueler fate. The father also struggles with the ethical dilemma of having to "unteach" his son about compassion and empathy, afraid that the boy- who wants to help those equally in need- will only die in the attempt. This "every man for himself" situation is in stark contrast to everything the father believes, and how the boy has been raised. It's this struggle to hang on to the noble aspects of humanity while surrounded by the worse that makes the novel insightful, haunting, and a riveting read.

Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate Oprah's Book Club? Even if you do, don't boycott this book..., Aug. 17 2007
By 
T. Martin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
I scarcely know where to begin to comment on this book. It is powerful and demanding of your emotions. It is beautiful and poetic in it's writing style. Many other reviewers have summarized the plot so there's no need to reiterate. The way in which the tale is told however; is so moving that it actually caused me physical pain due to anxiety, empathy, anticipation.

I'm a new mother, my son having just turned one, and I suspect that the agony of this novel was enhanced by this. If you are a parent it is impossible not to envision the plight of the main characters in your own family context. It was gripping. I wanted to stop reading because I felt I didn't want to know what would happen to "the boy" and "the man" but I had to keep at it.

Not being a fan of Oprah, I often avoid her book club picks...but in this case, I'm glad I didn't and I encourage other Oprah-skeptics to follow suit.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, Aug. 14 2007
By 
R. Ramos (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
I finished reading this book a couple of days ago, but it has not yet got out of my mind. It is an unsettling book to say the least. Like all great literature, it is not an easy book to read, not because the writing is difficult (the writing is brilliant!) but because it plays all our emotional buttons. An environmental catastrophe on Earth and its aftermath becomes the foreground were a father's attempt to retain his own and his son's humanity weighs against the pure instinct of survival. This is not a book for the light of heart. But a book to ponder on what makes us all human, and what are the long-term consequences of our environmental choices today. Great, great book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak but irresistible., June 21 2007
This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
The unique first third person anonymous writing style takes a little getting used to and after the first few pages I wasn't sure how I would enjoy it. However, once you adapt to the style the book itself becomes impossible to put down. It is horrifying and hopeless but incredibly beautiful at the same time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Roadkill by the hype machine, Nov. 1 2007
By 
Jason Barrett (Tuktoyaktuk, NT) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Road (Hardcover)
I bought this book after reading a few good reviews and then hearing a book show on the radio completely dedicated to The Road. All three hosts on the show admitted to tearing up and having to put the book down to gather themselves. I was hoping for the same experience. I did haveto put book the down several times, but only to go over some of the text in the head to try to place the commas. I never did get used the style of grammar he uses and it really hampered my enjoyment of the book. I found that I was disconnected from story too often by having to reread sentences or paragraphs. Getting disconnected from the story meant I found myself somewhat disconnected from the characters. While the book was interesting and keep me turnig the pages waiting for something to happen, I was not emotionally invested as much as I hoped/believed I would be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood by detractors, a brilliant book, Aug. 22 2013
This review is from: The Road (Kindle Edition)
The RoadThe handful of poor reviews seemed to miss the point. The repetitive plot points and desolate wasteland illustrate optimism and the endearing force of human love, not a depressing world where man is monster. Actually, Cormac dances the line between both views, and it's not a new theme: humanity is both godly and demonic, both divine and absurd. This desolate landscape is utterly beautiful in its ugliness, and so are the people. As author, Cormac brilliantly combines gritty reality with a fantasy vision that is clearly meant to be no more than an apocalyptic metaphor--not a thrill ride. This is a short, gripping read that will haunt you and you won't forget it. The nameless father and "the boy" offer the ultimate symbolism in the end. To me, the "man" is all of men and the "boy" represents "innocence." These aren't so much people, as ideolograms. Yet, the are real for all that, too. You will read this in one sitting, and won't stop for lunch or dinner. It will not make a good movie, in spite of wondrous visuals, simply because it's not meant to be a movie, but as literature this is art. Yes, if you want thrills and chills, go elsewhere, perhaps to Stephen King's classic THE STAND, but for haunting artistry, don't miss THE ROAD. P.S. Although the lack of "dialogue punctuation" and apostrophes bothered me a little initially, I quickly became use to this style. With a cast of virtually two (there are more than two characters, but only two that really matter), it was fine, almost like reading a play or movie script. The over use of the dialogue "Okay" was also initially annoying, but quickly became a stylism, too. Clearly, that could be the way two people--who have only each other for company, year after year-- might learn to communicate. And Cormac can do it because he's a master. But if I could change one thing, I would be tempted to add "quotations."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece!, Sept. 22 2012
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This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
Devastating and profound. The story itself is unutterably sad yet beautifully written. The book charts a father and son's journey as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, their survival as tenuous as a flame flickering in the wind. I can't recall a post-apocalyptic world rendered with such vividness- at once crushingly sad and cruel but illuminated by a beautiful poetic style that is as pitiless as it is moving. The spare, lucid writing cleaves to the very core of its spectral, imagined world, at times so impressionistic and painterly you can almost see the brush strokes, yet weighted with the crushing specificity of truth. At the heart of it all is a father's undying love for his son and this is what keeps us reading. We are with them on their journey and each moment of desperation and triumph becomes our own. It is not an easy book to read but it is a deeply moving and riveting one, and highly recommended. Strangely enough, sad as it is, it's not a completely depressing book either. The father's love for his son not only shelters him but provides a fragile buffer for us from the story's relentless darkness. The story also functions as a kind of material and spiritual exile from our own world so that we return to it with a renewed appreciation for its beauty and bounty. In that sense there is illumination rather than just desolation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tragic and heartbreaking story!, July 18 2012
By 
Darlene (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Road (Audio CD)
The Road has won numerous literary awards, including: 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2006 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, 2007 The Quill Award for General Fiction, 2010 Puddly Award for Fiction, 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee, 2007 Believer Book Award, 2007 The Rooster - The Morning News Tournament of Books, and 2009 Tähtivaeltaja Award.

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and is about a man (simply referred to as "the man") and his son (referred to as "the boy"), who are travelling south on "the road" in the hopes that the climate will be warmer. They have a shopping cart to haul their meager supplies, such as blankets and canned food. They are dying a slow death, starving, and the man has to watch his son waste away before his very eyes. As if dying of starvation wasn't bad enough, they need to be on the look-out for the "bad guys": The ones that would resort to cannibalism in order to survive. The man and the boy vow that they would never do such a thing, no matter how bad it gets. They have a pistol for protection, and little else. The man ponders whether his wife did the right thing, taking her own life to avoid the pain and suffering of a slow death or to, perhaps, escape from the depravity of the world. They do encounter other survivors along the way, and the boy shows his kindness towards others by insisting that his father share with the other travellers the little food that they have managed to scrounge up.

The Road is tragic and heartbreaking, and McCarthy describes a lonely and desolate world. The man and the boy struggle to hold onto their own humanity while little is left in the world. At one point, the boy gets sick and the man vows to never leave him. He is prepared to kill himself if his son dies so that he will stay with him, even into death. As a mom, I get that. The scene was very poignant and left me with a lump in my throat. Thankfully, the boy recovers. If it weren't for the boy, I doubt the man would have even had the will to live.

The man also promises to never let any harm come to the boy, and he is even willing to take his own son's life to save him from being murdered and eaten by the "bad guys." This is one part of the book that is particularly haunting:

"Can you do it? When the time comes? When the time comes there will be no time ... Could you crush that beloved skull with a rock?"

The father's love for his son is touching, and he continually shows his compassion for his son by giving him the best of everything. He finds a can of Coca-Cola and insists that the boy drink it all. On another occasion, he found flavoured drink crystals and put it in the boy's water. It gives him pleasure to give these little treats to his son.

The story is a depressing one, and it isn't one where everyone lives happily ever after. I did like the book, but it left me feeling very sad and in a bit of a funk.

Narrator Tom Stechschulte is new-to-me, and I could feel the desperation in his vocal characterization of "the man." I thought his portrayal of the characters was very convincing.

MY RATING: 3 stars!! It was good! I enjoyed it!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner, Oct. 17 2006
By 
John Hughes (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Road (Hardcover)
Brilliant! I could not put this book down. Mr. McCarthy's interweeving of sentiment and action narrative was fast-paced and densely atmospheric. Though fiction (obviously) and unique, passages here reminded me of true life adventures in my book House of Tears. Readers of nonfiction like Dean King's Skeleton's on the Zahara or fiction like Fraser's Cold Mountain should read The Road.
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The Road (Oprah's Book Club)
The Road (Oprah's Book Club) by Cormac McCarthy (Paperback - March 28 2007)
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