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The Roadby Cormac McCarthy
2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Partial spoiler: the part with the cannibals comes out of nowhere and is utterly terrifying. I had planned to get out of bed and brush my teeth before going to sleep that night, but once I had read that part of the book, I was just too scared (to my husband's great annoyance) to do anything so potentially risky.
"It's an adventure, believe it or not — the sort of book that, if only for the relentless clarity of the writing, the lucid descriptions of the grasses, the mud, the thorns, and the very arc of the road that cuts through all that, presents a clear and episodic progress from one small terror to the next. Forget comfort and possession. Postapocalypse or not, it's classic McCarthy....You should read this book because it is exactly what a book about our future ought to be: the knife wound of our inconvenient truths, laid bare in a world that will just plain scare the piss out of you on a windy night." Tom Chiarella, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
"The love between the father and the son is one of the most profound relationships McCarthy has ever written, and the strength of it helps raise the novel — despite considerable gore — above nihilistic horror....Fans of McCarthy's brutal world view may not approve, but other readers will welcome the unexpectedly hopeful ending." Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
"The Road is a much more compelling and demanding book than its predecessor....The new novel will not let the reader go, and will horribly invade his dreams, too....It is an interesting question as to why McCarthy succeeds so well. The secret, I think, is that McCarthy takes nothing for granted." James Wood, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food — and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, each the other's world entire, are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.
"Even within the author's extraordinary body of work, this stands as a radical achievement, a novel that demands to be read and reread....A novel of horrific beauty, where death is the only truth." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"The Road offers nothing in the way of escape or comfort. But its fearless wisdom is more indelible than reassurance could ever be." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal." Los Angeles times
"I'm always thrilled when a fine writer of first-class fiction takes up the genre of science fiction and matches its possibilities with his or her own powers....[A] dark book that glows with the intensity of his huge gift for language." Chicago Tribune
"[O]nly now, with his devastating 10th novel, has [McCarthy] found the landscape perfectly matched to his cosmically bleak vision....
"The setup may be simple, but the writing throughout is magnificent....McCarthy may have created a world where things are reduced to their essence, but he continually surprises by finding a way to strip them further." Chicago Sun-Times
"The wildly admired writer Cormac McCarthy presents his own post-apocalyptic vision in The Road. The result is his most compelling, moving and accessible novel since All the Pretty Horses." USA Today
"[F]or a parable to succeed, it needs to have some clear point or message. The Road has neither, other than to say that after an earth-destroying event, things will go hard for the survivors." Houston Chronicle
Pulitzer Prize Winner
National Book Critic's Circle Award Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year:
A man and his young son traverse a blasted American landscape, covered with "the ashes of the late world." The man can still remember the time before. The boy knows only this time. There is nothing for them but survival — they are "each other's world entire" — and the precious last vestiges of their own humanity. At once brutal and tender, despairing and rashly hopeful, spare of language and profoundly moving, The Road is a fierce and haunting meditation on the tenuous divide between civilization and savagery, and the essential, sometimes terrifying power of filial love. It is a masterpiece.
About the Author
Cormac McCarthy is the author of nine previous novels. Among his honors are the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
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