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The Road
The Road
is a 2006 novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of a journey of a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on Earth. The novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006. The book was adapted to a film of the same name in 2009, directed by John Hillcoat.

Contents

1 Plot 2 Development history 3 Literary significance and reception

3.1 Awards and nominations

4 Adaptations 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Plot[edit] A father and his young son journey across post-apocalyptic America some years after an extinction event. Their names are never revealed in the story. The land is covered with ash and devoid of life. The boy's mother, pregnant with him at the time of the disaster, committed suicide at some point before the story begins. Realizing they cannot survive the winter, the man takes the boy south along empty roads towards the sea, carrying their meager possessions in their knapsacks and a supermarket cart. The man is suffering from a serious cough and knows he is dying. He assures his son that they are "good guys" who are "carrying the fire". The pair have a revolver, but only two rounds. The father has taught the boy to use the gun on himself if necessary, to avoid falling into the hands of cannibals. The father and son evade a traveling group of marauders. The father uses one of the rounds to kill a marauder who discovers them, disturbing the boy. They flee the marauder's companions, abandoning most of their possessions. When they search a house for supplies, they discover a locked cellar containing captives whom cannibal gangs have been eating limb by limb, and flee into the woods. As they near starvation, the pair discovers a concealed bunker filled with food, clothes, and other supplies. They stay there for several days, regaining their strength, and then move on, taking lots of supplies from the bunker with them in a new cart. They encounter an elderly man with whom the boy insists they share food. Further along the road, they evade a group whose members include a pregnant woman, and soon after they discover an abandoned campsite with a newborn infant roasted on a spit. They soon run out of supplies again and begin to starve before finding a house containing more food to carry in their cart, but the man's condition is worsening. The pair reaches the sea, where they discover a boat drifting ashore. The man swims to it and recovers supplies, including a flare gun, which he demonstrates to the boy. The boy becomes ill, and after spending some time on the beach recovering, their cart is stolen and they desperately look for it and those who took it. Eventually they find a single man with the cart, the father threatens him and forces him to strip naked. This distresses the boy causing the father to return and leave the man's clothes and shoes on the road, but the man is nowhere to be found. In a town inland, the father is shot in the leg with an arrow by a husband and wife. After the father kills the husband with the flare gun, the pair move further south along the beach. The father's condition worsens further weakening him and, after several days, realizes he will soon die. He tells the boy he can talk to him in prayer after he is gone, and that he must continue without him. After he dies, the boy stays with his body for three days. He is finally approached by a man carrying a shotgun, who has a wife and two children, a boy and a girl. He convinces the boy he is one of the "good guys", and after helping the boy wrap his father in blankets in the woods, takes him under his protection. Development history[edit] In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, McCarthy said that the inspiration for the book came during a 2003 visit to El Paso, Texas, with his young son. Imagining what the city might look like fifty to a hundred years into the future, he pictured "fires on the hill" and thought about his son.[1] He took some initial notes but did not return to the idea until a few years later, while in Ireland. Then, the novel came to him quickly, and he dedicated it to his son, John Francis McCarthy.[2] In an interview with John Jurgensen of The Wall Street Journal, McCarthy described conversations he and his brother had about different scenarios for an apocalypse. One of the scenarios involved survivors turning to cannibalism: "when everything's gone, the only thing left to eat is each other."[3] Literary significance and reception[edit] The Road
The Road
has received numerous positive reviews and honors since its publication. The review aggregator Metacritic
Metacritic
reported the book had an average score of 90 out of 100, based on thirty-one reviews.[4] Critics have deemed it "heartbreaking", "haunting", and "emotionally shattering".[5][6][7] The Village Voice
The Village Voice
referred to it as "McCarthy's purest fable yet."[5] In a New York Review of Books article, author Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon
heralded the novel. Discussing the novel's relation to established genres, Chabon insists The Road
The Road
is not science fiction; although "the adventure story in both its modern and epic forms... structures the narrative", Chabon says, "ultimately it is as a lyrical epic of horror that The Road
The Road
is best understood."[8] Entertainment Weekly in June 2008 named The Road
The Road
the best book, fiction or non-fiction, of the past 25 years[9] and put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "With its spare prose, McCarthy's post-apocalyptic odyssey from 2006 managed to be both harrowing and heartbreaking."[10] On March 28, 2007, the selection of The Road
The Road
as the next novel in Oprah Winfrey's Book Club was announced. A televised interview on The Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Show was conducted on June 5, 2007 and it was McCarthy's first, though he had been interviewed for the print media before.[2] The announcement of McCarthy's television appearance surprised his followers. "Wait a minute until I can pick my jaw up off the floor," said John Wegner, an English professor at Angelo State University
Angelo State University
in San Angelo, Texas, and editor of the Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy
Journal, when told of the interview.[11] During Winfrey's interview McCarthy insisted his son, John Francis, was a co-author to the novel, revealing that some of the conversations between the father and son in the novel were based upon actual conversations between McCarthy and his son. The novel was also dedicated to his son; in a way it is a love story for his son, but McCarthy felt embarrassed to admit it on television.[1] Awards and nominations[edit] In 2006, McCarthy was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in fiction and the Believer Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.[12] On April 16, 2007, the novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for fiction.[13] In 2012, it was shortlisted for the Best of the James Tait Black.[14][15] Adaptations[edit] Main article: The Road
The Road
(2009 film) A film adaptation of the novel, directed by John Hillcoat
John Hillcoat
and written by Joe Penhall, opened in theatres on November 25, 2009. The film stars Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen
as the man and Kodi Smit-McPhee
Kodi Smit-McPhee
as the boy. Production took place in Louisiana, Oregon, and several locations in Pennsylvania.[16] The film, like the novel, received generally positive reviews from critics. References[edit]

^ a b Winfrey, Oprah. "Oprah's Exclusive Interview with Cormac McCarthy Video". Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Show. Harpo Productions, Inc. Retrieved May 2, 2012.  ^ a b Michael Conlon (5 June 2007). "Writer Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy
confides in Oprah Winfrey". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-28.  ^ John Jurgensen (20 November 2009). "Hollywood's Favorite Cowboy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-04-25.  ^ " The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy: Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 19, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15.  ^ a b Holcomb, Mark. "End of the Line – After Decades of Stalking Armageddon's Perimeters, Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy
Finally Steps Over the Border". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2007-04-23.  ^ Jones, Malcolm (September 22, 2006)."On the Lost Highway" Newsweek. ^ Warner, Alan (November 4, 2006). " The Road
The Road
to Hell". The Guardian. London. Retrieved March 27, 2010.  ^ Chabon, Michael (15 February 2007). "After the Apocalypse". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2009-11-28.  ^ "The New Classics: Books. The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-06-10.  ^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "THE 100 Greatest Movies, TV shows, albums, Books, Characters, Scenes, Eipisodes, Songs, Dresses, Music videos & Trends that entertained us over the past ten years.". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74–84 ^ Julia Keller (March 29, 2007). "Oprah's selection a real shocker: Winfrey, McCarthy strange bookfellows". Chicago Tribune.  ^ The National Book Critics Circle 2006 finalists Archived February 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Novelist McCarthy wins Pulitzer". BBC. April 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-08.  ^ Leadbetter, Russell (21 October 2012). "Book prize names six of the best in search for winner". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 21 October 2012.  ^ "Authors in running for 'best of best' James Tait Black award". BBC News. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.  ^ "Mortensen, Theron on The Road
The Road
to Pittsburgh". USA Today. January 16, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Cates, Anna (February 2010). "Secular Winds: Disrupted Natural Revelation & the Journey toward God in Cormac McCarthy's The Road". The Internet Review of Science Fiction. VII (2). Retrieved November 7, 2010.  Graulund, Rune (February 2010). "Fulcrums and Borderlands: A Desert Reading of Cormac McCarthy's The Road". Orbis Litterarum. 65 (1). doi:10.1111/j.1600-0730.2009.00985.x. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Road

v t e

Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for Fiction

1918–1925

His Family
His Family
by Ernest Poole
Ernest Poole
(1918) The Magnificent Ambersons
The Magnificent Ambersons
by Booth Tarkington
Booth Tarkington
(1919) The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence
by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton
(1921) Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
Booth Tarkington
(1922) One of Ours
One of Ours
by Willa Cather
Willa Cather
(1923) The Able McLaughlins
The Able McLaughlins
by Margaret Wilson (1924) So Big by Edna Ferber
Edna Ferber
(1925)

1926–1950

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
Sinclair Lewis
(declined) (1926) Early Autumn
Early Autumn
by Louis Bromfield
Louis Bromfield
(1927) The Bridge of San Luis Rey
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
by Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder
(1928) Scarlet Sister Mary
Scarlet Sister Mary
by Julia Peterkin (1929) Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge (1930) Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes (1931) The Good Earth
The Good Earth
by Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck
(1932) The Store
The Store
by Thomas Sigismund Stribling
Thomas Sigismund Stribling
(1933) Lamb in His Bosom
Lamb in His Bosom
by Caroline Pafford Miller
Caroline Pafford Miller
(1934) Now in November
Now in November
by Josephine Winslow Johnson (1935) Honey in the Horn
Honey in the Horn
by Harold L. Davis (1936) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell
(1937) The Late George Apley
The Late George Apley
by John Phillips Marquand (1938) The Yearling
The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
(1939) The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
(1940) In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow
Ellen Glasgow
(1942) Dragon's Teeth by Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair
(1943) Journey in the Dark
Journey in the Dark
by Martin Flavin (1944) A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
John Hersey
(1945) All the King's Men
All the King's Men
by Robert Penn Warren
Robert Penn Warren
(1947) Tales of the South Pacific
Tales of the South Pacific
by James A. Michener
James A. Michener
(1948) Guard of Honor
Guard of Honor
by James Gould Cozzens (1949) The Way West
The Way West
by A. B. Guthrie Jr. (1950)

1951–1975

The Town by Conrad Richter (1951) The Caine Mutiny
The Caine Mutiny
by Herman Wouk
Herman Wouk
(1952) The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
(1953) A Fable
A Fable
by William Faulkner
William Faulkner
(1955) Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
MacKinlay Kantor
(1956) A Death in the Family
A Death in the Family
by James Agee
James Agee
(1958) The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
by Robert Lewis Taylor (1959) Advise and Consent
Advise and Consent
by Allen Drury
Allen Drury
(1960) To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
Harper Lee
(1961) The Edge of Sadness
The Edge of Sadness
by Edwin O'Connor (1962) The Reivers
The Reivers
by William Faulkner
William Faulkner
(1963) The Keepers of the House
The Keepers of the House
by Shirley Ann Grau (1965) The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
by Katherine Anne Porter (1966) The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
Bernard Malamud
(1967) The Confessions of Nat Turner
The Confessions of Nat Turner
by William Styron
William Styron
(1968) House Made of Dawn
House Made of Dawn
by N. Scott Momaday
N. Scott Momaday
(1969) The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
by Jean Stafford
Jean Stafford
(1970) Angle of Repose
Angle of Repose
by Wallace Stegner
Wallace Stegner
(1972) The Optimist's Daughter
The Optimist's Daughter
by Eudora Welty
Eudora Welty
(1973) The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara (1975)

1976–2000

Humboldt's Gift
Humboldt's Gift
by Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
(1976) Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson
James Alan McPherson
(1978) The Stories of John Cheever
The Stories of John Cheever
by John Cheever
John Cheever
(1979) The Executioner's Song
The Executioner's Song
by Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer
(1980) A Confederacy of Dunces
A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole
John Kennedy Toole
(1981) Rabbit Is Rich
Rabbit Is Rich
by John Updike
John Updike
(1982) The Color Purple
The Color Purple
by Alice Walker
Alice Walker
(1983) Ironweed by William Kennedy (1984) Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (1985) Lonesome Dove
Lonesome Dove
by Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry
(1986) A Summons to Memphis
A Summons to Memphis
by Peter Taylor (1987) Beloved by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison
(1988) Breathing Lessons
Breathing Lessons
by Anne Tyler (1989) The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
by Oscar Hijuelos (1990) Rabbit at Rest by John Updike
John Updike
(1991) A Thousand Acres
A Thousand Acres
by Jane Smiley
Jane Smiley
(1992) A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
by Robert Olen Butler
Robert Olen Butler
(1993) The Shipping News
The Shipping News
by E. Annie Proulx
Annie Proulx
(1994) The Stone Diaries
The Stone Diaries
by Carol Shields (1995) Independence Day by Richard Ford
Richard Ford
(1996) Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser (1997) American Pastoral
American Pastoral
by Philip Roth
Philip Roth
(1998) The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
(1999) Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri
(2000)

2001–present

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon
(2001) Empire Falls
Empire Falls
by Richard Russo
Richard Russo
(2002) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides
(2003) The Known World
The Known World
by Edward P. Jones (2004) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson
(2005) March by Geraldine Brooks (2006) The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy
(2007) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Díaz
Junot Díaz
(2008) Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Elizabeth Strout
(2009) Tinkers by Paul Harding (2010) A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Jennifer Egan
(2011) No award given (2012) The Orphan Master's Son
The Orphan Master's Son
by Adam Johnson (2013) The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2014) All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr
(2015) The Sympathizer
The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen
(2016) The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead
(2017)

v t e

Works by Cormac McCarthy

Border Trilogy

All the Pretty Horses (1992) The Crossing (1994) Cities of the Plain (1998)

Other novels

The Orchard Keeper
The Orchard Keeper
(1965) Outer Dark
Outer Dark
(1968) Child of God
Child of God
(1973) Suttree
Suttree
(1979) Blood Meridian
Blood Meridian
or the Evening Redness in the West (1985) No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men
(2005) The Road
The Road
(2006)

Screenplays

The Gardener's Son
The Gardener's Son
(1976) The Sunset Limited (2011) The Counselor
The Counselor
(2013)

Plays

The Stonemason (1995) The Sunset Limited (2006)

Adaptations

The Gardener's Son
The Gardener's Son
(1977) All the Pretty Horses (2000) No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men
(2007) The Road
The Road
(2009) The Sunset Limited (2011) Child of God
Child of God
(2013)

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