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The Road

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)
Non-member price: $30.74
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2007

America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

Bleak but brilliant, with glimmers of hope and humor, The Road is a stunning allegory and perhaps Cormac McCarthy's finest novel to date. This remarkable departure from his previous works has been hailed by Kirkus Reviews as a "novel of horrific beauty, where death is the only truth".

McCarthy, a New York Times best-selling author, is a past recipient of the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. He is widely considered one of America's greatest writers.

©2006 M-71, Ltd. (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC

Critic Reviews

"McCarthy's prose retains its ability to seduce...and there are nods to the gentler aspects of the human spirit." (The New Yorker)
"One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal...Every moment of The Road is rich with dilemmas that are as shattering as they are unspoken...McCarthy is so accomplished that the reader senses the mysterious and intuitive changes between father and son that can't be articulated, let alone dramatized...Both lyric and savage, both desperate and transcendent, although transcendence is singed around the edges...Tag McCarthy one of the four or five great American novelists of his generation." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing read

Brilliant story, brilliantly read. A disturbing, violent picture of a world in chaos, balanced with a story of a father's love for his child. Absolutely beautiful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The high bar of dystopian fiction

The sparse, minimal prose add greatly to the haunting effect of this novel. Loved the narration. Did I mention bleak?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping and compelling story. Hard to turn away

This is a stunning narrative by McCarthy. He takes into what’s essentially a two hander - a man and his son. They share their desolate journey through the badlands of a post apocalyptic America with a road that is as unforgiving as it is mysterious. The story line is spell binding and the dialogue is classic McCarthy. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • CQ
  • 02-12-2018

It was OK

Too much of the story is just about their chronological day to day actions. I’ve read many better books that didn’t win any awards.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenom

Phenom narrator, even better book. definitely recommend to anyone that's into cryptic post apocalyptic stories.

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Narrator was perfect for this book

Loved the book and the narrator really added to the telling of the story. Highly recommended!

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    4 out of 5 stars

So comfortably aimless

The writer projects the hopelessness and meaninglessness of a post apocalyptic world so beautifully. This is at times a very easy read and at others a very heart wrenching one.

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Amazing

I loved this book, and Stechschulte's narration is gorgeous. 100% recommend for any lover of McCarthy, or lover of truly great literature

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    4 out of 5 stars

A well narrated exodus

Cormac McCarthy's control over language and imagery is incredulously satisfying. His affinity for implication and depiction of character and scenery alike feel vividly and deliciously authentic. A well crafted apocalyptic tale of a father and his son rich with realism and plot points that will have you unnerved at some points, and genuinely smiling at what entails.
Tom Stechschulte performs incredibly, breathing life into Cormac McCarthy's characters with a well rounded performance and perfect pacing. This is an audiobook that will have you immersed in every word.

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Bleak and poetic supported with just enoigh Hope!

So incredible! You won't be disappointed... or romanced. I loved the contrast of the sumptuous descriptive language against the desolate landscapes, plots and dialogue.

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  • Stefanie R Riha
  • 21-11-2016

eh

spoiler alert kind of. It took to long to get to what they were scared of and it never really explained what happened....

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ike
  • 03-10-2016

didn't really enjoy it

struggled to finish it. slow, nothing really happened. annoying Winny kid. well written story but not very entertaining. just not my type of book.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • PJC
  • 09-06-2016

I just wasn't a fan of this one.

I was really excited to listen to this book but I was very much disappointed. The story itself just seem to meander and go nowhere. I did not find the two main characters to be very likeable, although I did have some compassion for their predicament. Without giving away any spoilers, I will just say that this story simply went from one thing to the next disconnected and unrelated scene after another. They're called. They're hungry. They need food. They find food. Yawn. to make matters worse comma the narrator was not the greatest. to further my disdain , the boy was excessively whiny , and it wore on my nerves fairly quickly. I'm not familiar with this author and this was the first book by him that I've listened to. This is any indication to his other works, count me out

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Bitti
  • 26-08-2015

Boring...!

I got the impression that the author was trying to impress his audiance with his command of language and forgot about the story. I finished the book because I thought that it would have a surprise ending but was disappointed.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • peter
  • 20-02-2015

Disappointed!!

The authors descriptive talent of painting a visual picture of an apocalyptic world was spot on. But, in a book with only two characters I would of enjoyed better dialogue between them. It was very repetitive and boring with little feeling evoked.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrea
  • 24-10-2013

Depressing

I was glad this book was only 6 hours and I got it cheap. It was depressing, very depressing. Not what I want to listen to on the way to work.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-10-2017

Will never get this time back

I only finished it so I could discuss it asst my book club. I was so tired of hearing "yes papa".

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • SARAKAY
  • 13-08-2017

eloquent, but nothing happened.

Maybe I'm just simple, but I could not find a story arc nor could I bring myself to care about the characters. kept waiting for something to happen, and then it ended.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • LA runner
  • 25-07-2017

B-O-R-I-N-G

I rarely return a book. This one makes me feel bad about returning ANY other novel. What a waste of time. If it was merely a short story it would have been too long and uneventful. The storyline goes NOWHERE. The narration is ok, but the dialogue is painful! This is 90% of the dialogue in various word-salad combinations; ok, I'm sorry, I'm scared, I'm really scared, I'm hungry, I'm cold, I know, I don't know.
Skip this book and do something more exciting; like watching the grass grow.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Freddy Sextons
  • 16-04-2017

This child in the story is so annoying

Every time the main characters encounter any new situation the child whines that he's so scared.
"Papa" has to tell this child "ahm sorry" every time the child whines he's so scared.
I was hoping for the child to die or Papa to die so the story ends.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SKA
  • 20-09-2009

Perfect for the road - or anywhere else

McCarthy's book makes outstanding listening. I was fearful before buying this having read some of his previous books, which are occasionally tough going in their style. But The Road is brilliantly sparse - clipped, original and vivid imagery and a compelling narrative which never explans itself and just keeps you following. McCarthy is a master at avoiding the cliched descriptions of some (many, most) authors and this is the finest example of this, in my humble opinion.
The narration is even and atmospheric, with a compelling delivery - just like the story itself.
Superb!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Suzanne Martin
  • 23-08-2011

Heartbreaking

I was in tears at the end of this book - I felt like I was right there at the end with he Son and Father, and I knew them so well it was like saying goodbye to friends. The story is so incredibly well written, you are immediately drawn in to the story and I can picture the landscape so vividly in my mind that I am not sure if I should watch the film adaptation or not. I could very easily have listened to this book all in one sitting, but I had to sleep sometime!

Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of chapter breaks, but I think that this is natural to the story - you are seeing through the eyes of the Son or Father, and they are not writing a novel, so they wouldn't break off from their battle for survival to start a new paragraph!

A special mention must go to the excellent narration, which was perfectly paced and judged throughout.

I found this book to be a rare example of being worthy of all the praise I have heard heaped upon it.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ellepeapatz
  • 18-07-2008

Poetic and thought provoking.

Having read the 2 previous reviews a number of times I was put off listening to this. At the recommendation of a friend I finally took the plunge - I wish I had done so ages ago.

The conversational style and poetic nature make it perfect for audible. The narrator sounded just as I imagined the Father would. I listened whenever I could and looked forward to the next instalment. Occasionally my heart rate rose in anticipation of on-coming violence but overall the story is beautiful. It's biblical themes and believable imaginings of post apocalyptic America are thought provoking.

I rarely listen to anything twice but I will make an exception with this.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GC
  • 01-11-2010

An Excellent Audiobook

Forget the recent film, this is the real deal. A father and his son travel a road leading towards the South - and a respite from the winter cold.
However, this is a post-apocalyptic world they traverse; the atmosphere full of ash, no plants growing and all animals and most humans dead. Most of the people who remain have turned into savages - a real state of nature where human life is 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.'
This book makes you ask questions about yourself - could you survive in such an environment? How would you behave towards others?
McCarthy's spare writing style is well suited to this type of narrative and it is superbly read by Tom Stechschulte.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jo Franklin
  • 09-08-2015

Heartbreaking and amazing

Seriously heartbreaking. What a story. Great direction and narration too! The voices were really well done :)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ian Garstang
  • 07-07-2014

So Desolate, So Miserable, But So Good!

What made the experience of listening to The Road the most enjoyable?

The story painted a picture of a future so bleak it defines the apocalypse genre... The reader did a great job defining the characters and emotions.

What did you like best about this story?

Great story, short running time and engaging characters.

Have you listened to any of Tom Stechschulte’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but I will be looking at his other books

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Pretty much!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gregory
  • 23-05-2008

a chilling vision of the future

I suspect that a lot of people coming to The Road have, like myself, been introduced to McCarthy thanks to the recent film adaptation of No Country for Old Men, and so this is probably a good reference point.

No Country received near universal critical acclaim, but in my experience audience reaction was a little more mixed. Sure, plenty (including myself) agreed with the critics, but many seemed to think the desolate speech, settings, lack of truly cataclysmic events, and the closing dream sequence were entirely off-putting.

Well, all of the above factors are present in The Road, in a far greater density than in No Country. Our lead character is in a similar mould to Tommy Lee Jones with his slow, considered speech, there is the lack of a traditional climax, and the story starts with a dream sequence to rival that in No Country.

The story follows ?The Man? and ?The Boy? as they travel a road across the southern United States attempting to get to the coast following an unknown apocalyptic event. Needless to say, our travellers encounter both natural and human challenges in this desolate world and these are the main focus. It is worth noting here that, again like No Country, some of these encounters involve extreme violence and extremely distressing images; those of a nervous disposition should certainly beware.

From an Audible point of view, the book is of a manageable length and very well narrated. Despite this I do wonder if the inability to dwell on some of McCarthy?s topics means that something lost in the transition from page to wave; perhaps the forced pacing a narrator gives makes up for this, I don?t know. Finally, I always prefer chapters in audiobooks as they allow for a natural breaking point, and these are lacking here.

Overall, if you enjoyed No Country you will get something worthwhile from this and it is certainly worth your time. The opposite of course also applies, and at least for some, this is worth considering

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • 21-02-2018

I cried....

Enjoyed, but the encounters in the book got a little same same. I cried, so that's always a good indicator of an author who has really pulled me into the book and characters. would recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 19-02-2010

Excellent adaptation

I felt the narrator's voice took a little getting used to but, once I had, this was an enthralling tale of a great book. the inherent difficulties of conveying the book in voice were extremely well tackled through a measured narration. The different characters were well handled. The denouement was incredibly moving.

Al in all, a superb adaptation: highly recommended.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • 17-10-2007

why on earth did this win its accolades?

I was drawn by its Pulitzer Prize-winning status and anticipated something original and maybe challenging to the reader. I was deeply disappointed. Science Fiction as a genre is full of examples of much more interesting post-apocalyptic tales. McCarthy has much less to offer here - what others have described as 'bleak', I would characterise as 'dull'. Don't get me wrong, it's competently written and the narrator is okay - it's the content that lets it down. So why the prize? Maybe Science Fiction is beneath the dignity of most literary critics, so they have an inadequate frame of reference? Or maybe McCarthy was deemed worthy on the basis of what I believe to be called 'Buggin's round?' Regardless, for a much more intriguing and satisfying post-apocalyptic journey, I reccommend Audible customers to try Margaret Attwood's terrific 'Oryx and Crake'.

37 of 54 people found this review helpful