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The Road Paperback – January 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vintage Books / Random House; Later Printing edition (2006)
  • ISBN-10: 0307476308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307476302
  • ASIN: B003TRR57C
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,438 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,455,341 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 traveling 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 by Random House 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 by Knopf 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, Knopf released the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing; the third volume, Cities of the Plain, was published 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 and published in paperback by Vintage Books. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 3,438 customer reviews
I felt that the character development and plot line were very weak.
Duane L. Smith
I will say one thing, I really liked is they didn't give the characters names.
Zia
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is truly one of the best books i've ever read.
Tuff Ghost

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,011 of 1,115 people found the following review helpful By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The nights were blinding cold and casket black and the long reach of the morning had a terrible silence to it."

"...Creedless shells of men tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland."

I neither buy nor read collections of poetry. I can count the poems I know, at least the non-limerick ones, on a single hand. I'm not a fan of poetry, and I truly see much of it as overblown, a good thing taken to a ridiculously inflated extreme. This book isn't poetry, but it's also not pure narrative. It's somewhere in the gray between, and I enjoyed every single page of it.

McCarthy had me on the 14th line when I read "granitic beast." No, I didn't have to be told this was a reference to stone. Its use here, early in the work, deliberate, familiar yet uncommon, communicated to me exactly what this book would be about, and more importantly how it would be told, and I couldn't wait to ingest it. The contemplated and intentional use of this word in this place told me of texture and color and temperature, and its context told me of fear, uncertainty, cruelty, and the close specter of menace. I was hooked before the first page was done.

I enjoyed this book's writing style immensely, its story simple and told in a manner that came to me clearly, instantly creating depth with a minimum of prose. Words like "envaccuuming," and phrases like "isocline of death" were absolutely brilliant--I bite my hand melodramatically wishing I'd written them. This highly evocative austerity was mirrored in the father's and the son's conversations, in which so little was said, but in which I was seeing absolutely clearly the cant of a head, a look in the eyes, the faintest curl of smile.
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746 of 859 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on March 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The Road" is a work of stunning, savage, heartbreaking beauty. Set in the post-apocalyptic hell of an unending nuclear winter, Cormac McCarthy writes about a nameless man and his young son, wandering through a world gone crazy; bleak, cold, dark, where the snow falls down gray; moving south toward the coast, looking somewhere, anywhere, for life and warmth. Nothing grows in this blasted world; people turn into cannibals to survive. We don't know if we're looking at the aftermath of a nuclear war, or maybe an extinction level event -- an asteroid or a comet; McCarthy deliberately doesn't tell us, and we come to realize it doesn't matter anyway. Whether man or nature threw a wild pitch, the world is just as dead.

The boy's mother is a suicide, unable to face living in a world where everything's gone gray and dead. Keep on living and you'll end up raped and murdered along with everybody else, she tells the man. The man and his son are "each the other's world entire"; they have only each other, they live for each other, and their intense love for each other will help them survive. At least for a while.

But survival in this brave new world is a dicey prospect at best; the boy and the man are subjected to sights no one should ever have to see. Every day is a scavenger hunt for food and shelter and safety from the "bad guys", the marauding gangs who enslave the weak and resort to cannibalism for lack of any other food. We are the good guys, the man assures his son. Yet in their rare encounters with other living human beings, the man resorts to primitive survivalism, refusing help to a lost child and a starving man, living only for himself and his son, who is trying to hold onto whatever humanity he has left.
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545 of 675 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Pangburn VINE VOICE on September 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE ROAD is a tremendous achievement, multi-layered, yet with enough surface story to attract mainstream readers. It resonates with classic allusions, simple parables, endearing moments, aphorisms, even some old testament language a la BLOOD MERIDIAN. In fact all of McCarthy's earlier novels are echoed here.

As with NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, all of the doomsday clocks, both personal and communal, stop at 1:17, a reference to John 1:17 in the Book of Revelations. As with his previous novel, McCarthy names love as the one value worth living for in this vale of tears, the last thing to go.

Comic relief is provided in the form of Ely, the only named character in the book. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether they think that Ely is the prophet Elijah, Christ in ragged disguise, Buddha on the Road, or just a funny old man who speaks in koans.

THE ROAD will remind some of Jose Saramago's BLINDNESS, which won the Nobel Prize for that deserving author. Others will liken the beautiful writing to the very best of Ernest Hemingway--with the understatement one finds in BIG, TWO-HEARTED RIVER and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.

Cliched? Not in this reader's eyes. Of course the great themes here have been rendered before in the classics, and books are made of books. I immediately recognized Homer's ghosts of hades in here, pointing and pleading and crying for help.

What is the quote in THE ROAD on page 110? "Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it." Which resonates to a quote from Marcus Aurielius, saying that a man ought to live his life as if borrowed, and that he ought to be prepared at any time to give it back, saying--here, I thank you for this life which I have had in my possession.

I found it uplifting. A testament to the condition of humanity and the nature of death and the riddle of existence. Universal themes, the greatest themes in our literature.
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