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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Road Trip Through Hell
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...
Published on March 29 2007 by Mark Wakely

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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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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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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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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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre-Oprah review, April 2 2007
By 
David Clermont (Embrun, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
I read this book last year because quite a few of the magazines I read said it was one of the years 'must-reads'. Man, I'm glad I did. It has haunted my spare thoughts and some of my dreams since. Once you get used to the dialogue without quotes it moves really fast. Where as most other post-apocolyptic (sp?) stories (and movies/TV shows) deal with the time a few weeks or months after a fallout, this deals with the years after. It's narration reflects the bleakness of the environment in which it is set. It deals with believable scenerios (finding an old bomb-shelter in someones yard) and deals with the day-to-day problems of trying to avoid the winter that's sure to spell the characters doom. This book has left a lasting impression on me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Hope, Aug. 7 2008
By 
Coach C (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
This is my first Cormac McCarthy novel and it probably won't be my last. "The Road" is a stark narrative about a man and his son navigating their way south on an unnamed interstate enroute to the coast after some unknown catastrophic event which has grayed the skies, scorched the earth and left very little life. The only people alive are scavengers who pillage, steal and eat children.

Now, the uplifting part. McCarthy builds up the relationship between the man and his son providing a glimmer of hope in humanity amidst the destruction around them. The dialogue between the two is absolutely remarkable. The humanism is striking.

McCarthy's writing is raw and uncompromising. He likes to contrast extremes: "Human bodies. Sprawled in every attitude. Dried and shrunken in their rotten clothes. The small wad of burning paper drew down into a wisp of flame ... in the incandescence like the shape of a flower, a molten rose. Then all was dark again" (p 47). Though the prose is short and choppy at times, it is effective in showing the simplicity between father and son: "I want to be with you. You cant. Please. You cant. You have to carry the fire. I dont know how to. Yes you do. Is it real? The fire? Yes it is" (p278).

Two symbolic themes that appear throughout include "fire" and "the good people". The fire represents determination and sheer will. To have the fire is to survive at all costs. The good people represents the humanity. All humans are capable of good and evil deeds, especially when survival is at stake, but there is a sense of morality in humans, the desire to do good (but doesn't always win out).

What I got out of the book was that if you are a pessimistic person by nature, you'll only see darkness. If you are optimist, you'll see light. I'd like to think of myself as "seeing the light". Overall, I think McCarthy has written a terrific book, worthy of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly terrifying, July 31 2007
This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
Like books on atheism, post-apocalyptic novels seem to be flooding the market these days. I can't think of anyone better suited to write a post-apocalypse novel than Cormac McCarthy: his lean, quotation-mark free prose makes the reader feel as though his own ears are still ringing from the explosion.
McCarthy describes a landscape almost completely devoid of life and the degradation that inflicts on the survivors is relentlessly bleak.
This is hardly beach reading material, but The Road contains a glimmer of hope that pushes it over the line from depressing to transcendent. Yep, I said it, transcendent. It's that good.
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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
(REAL NAME)   
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Torn between two viewpoints, Dec 16 2007
By 
Amanda Richards (Georgetown, Guyana) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Road (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
As Mary MacGregor sang on "Torn Between Two Lovers":

"There are times when a woman has to say what's on her mind
Even though she knows how much it's gonna hurt
Before I say another word let me tell you, I love you
Let me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can"

There are some aspects of this book that just didn't inspire me to run through the streets shouting "Pulitzer! Pulitzer!" This doesn't mean that I didn't like the book, just that it didn't possess me, and I know it never will, and there's still an empty space inside of me, that this book didn't fill.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

Father & son walking
Walking
Walking
Hiding
Sleeping
Eating
Scavenging
Walking through ash, through snow, through rain
Walking
Scavenging
Avoiding other survivors
Surviving
Starving
Scavenging
Walking
Walking
(Repeat as often as necessary)

That said, I found the imagery to be breathtakingly brilliant - stark, barren post-apocalyptic American landscapes, devoid of virtually all plant and animal life, the road itself a desolate stretch of sometimes steaming asphalt, stretching on from sea to turbid sea.

The language is simple yet eloquent, but I was put off by the intentional omissions of apostrophes in certain words and not in others. The writing style reflects the theme of things not being as they should, and the author's bleak visions for our future leave the reader with much too chew on.

In the absence of a plot, I think the author did a magnificent job of vividly communicating his vision, horrid as it may be.

Amanda Richards
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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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