The Road is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best of which we are capable: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.
Start Your Journey
Set in the smoking ashes of a post-apocalyptic America, learn about Cormac McCarthy's The Road, a father-son journey toward the sea and an uncertain salvation. Read an excerpt.
Reading Questions The Road has a tendency to raise more questions than answers. Get the conversation started at your next book club meeting with this study guide.
Themes in The Road
What destroyed the world? How far would you go to protect your child's life? We've called in Cormac's scientific colleagues from the Santa Fe Institute to help us explore the novel in new ways.
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Track your own progress on The Road with this exclusive Oprah's Book Club bookmark.
Set in the smoking ashes of a post-apocalyptic America, Cormac McCarthy's The Road tells the story of a father-son journey toward the sea and an uncertain salvation. The world they pass through is a ghastly vision of scorched countryside and blasted cities "held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anonymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell" [p. 181]. It is a starved world, all plant and animal life dead or dying, some human survivors even eating each other alive.
The father and son move through the ruins searching for food and shelter, trying to keep safe from murderous, roving bands. They have only a pistol to defend themselves, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road 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.