The Road (Vintage International) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads"... What would it be like if the heaven under our feet were destroyed, and the forests that Thoreau sauntered through for inspiration no longer existed? Suppose that the heavens above were somehow shrouded from us by a dust-filled gray haze and all we had left were a few precious sparks inside us. Could we maintain hope under such extreme duress?

Cormac McCarthy's masterful novel The Road is the simple story of a father and his son, about 10, traveling on foot in search of warmer climes, food, and safety, trying to survive the effects of an unexplained catastrophe that had scorched the entire earth just before the boy was born, killing billions, leaving the land barren of plant and animal life, coating everything exposed and permeating the atmosphere with gray ash that is now blocking the sun and chilling the land. To make matters even worse, the other survivors they briefly encounter and try to avoid have devolved into squalor, brutality and cannibalism.

The story is told with poetic cadence using figurative language and description to great effect. The poetry serves a twofold purpose: as a vehicle that gently propels the reader through the otherwise depressing and tragic scenario but also as a constant reminder that there is beauty in our own world - in nature, music, art, love and, indeed, poetry.... and though there is precious little heaven on earth in the story itself, we are fed bits and pieces, especially in the relationship between the boy and father. However tired and desperate and suffering, they manage to maintain a fragile but real love... the story is about death and dying but it's also about the bravery of maintaining a sense of spirit and decency even under the most trying circumstances - a poignant message in our both endangered and dangerous world.

— From Matt



The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.

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.

New York Times Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year
The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Denver Post, The Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, New York, People, Rocky Mountain News, Time, The Village Voice, The Washington Post

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, screenwriter, and playwright who has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A number of his works have been adapted into films, including All the Pretty HorsesThe Road, and the four-time Academy Award–winning No Country for Old Men.

Praise For…

"His tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful. It might very well be the best book of the year, period." —San Francisco Chronicle


"Vivid, eloquent . . . The Road is the most readable of [McCarthy's] works, and consistently brilliant in its imagining of the posthumous condition of nature and civilization." —The New York Times Book Review


"One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal." —Los Angeles Times Book Review


"Illuminated by extraordinary tenderness. . . . Simple yet mysterious, simultaneously cryptic and crystal clear. The Road offers nothing in the way of escape or comfort. But its fearless wisdom is more indelible than reassurance could ever be." —The New York Times


"No American writer since Faulkner has wandered so willingly into the swamp waters of deviltry and redemption. . . . [McCarthy] has written this last waltz with enough elegant reserve to capture what matters most." —The Boston Globe


"There is an urgency to each page, and a raw emotional pull . . . making [The Road] easily one of the most harrowing books you'll ever encounter. . . . Once opened, [it is] nearly impossible to put down; it is as if you must keep reading in order for the characters to stay alive. . . . The Road is a deeply imagined work and harrowing no matter what your politics." —Bookforum


"We find this violent, grotesque world rendered in gorgeous, melancholic, even biblical cadences. . . . Few books can do more; few have done better. Read this book." —Rocky Mountain News


"A dark book that glows with the intensity of [McCarthy's] huge gift for language. . . . Why read this? . . . Because in its lapidary transcription of the deepest despair short of total annihilation we may ever know, this book announces the triumph of language over nothingness." —Chicago Tribune


"The love between the father and the son is one of the most profound relationships McCarthy has ever written."

The Christian Science Monitor


"The Road is a wildly powerful and disturbing book that exposes whatever black bedrock lies beneath grief and horror. Disaster has never felt more physically and spiritually real." —Time


"The Road is the logical culmination of everything [McCarthy]'s written." —Newsweek

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307387899
ISBN-10: 0307387895
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 28th, 2007
Pages: 304
Language: English
Series: Vintage International