20 Epic Quotes from “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of the archetypal books of the post-apocalyptic genre.

Combining some of the bleakest imagery found anywhere in fiction, with beautiful, almost poetic writing, it manages to capture the genre's defining message: life goes on, even in the darkest times.

Without giving away the story, the book follows a man and his son as  they make their way through a destroyed country, in search of something more than their current lives offer. They travel through barren wastelands and crumbling towns, encountering all-manner of survivors on the way.

The story is told through McCarthy's characteristically melodic prose, resulting in one of the most quotable books I've ever read.

With that in mind, I've hand-picked some of the darkest, bleakest and most beautiful quotes, to offer a little insight into the destroyed world The Road manages to conjure into existence. Here are 10 of the most epic post apocalyptic quotes from The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

1) “What's the bravest thing you ever did? He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said.

2) “Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other's world entire.”

3) “No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”

4) “Where men can't live gods fare no better.”

5) “Perhaps in the world's destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.”

6) “Carry the fire.”

7) “The wind sounded of Mother Earth's forsaken and abandoned cries.”

8) "Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that."

9) “He knew only that his child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”

10) “There is no God and we are his prophets.”

11) “He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief.

12) “If only my heart were stone.”

13) “Then he just knelt in the ashes. He raised his face to the paling day. Are you there? he whispered. Will I see you at the last? Have you a neck by which to throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered, Oh God.”

14) “By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.”

15) "Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”

16) “When one has nothing left make ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.

17) “People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there.”

18)“On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world.”

19) “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”

20) “You have my whole heart. You always did.” 

Looking for Other Books Like "The Road"?

If you've finished The Road and you're looking to re-live its hauntingly beautiful ambience, worry not!

I've hand-picked a selection of five kickass post apocalyptic novels that capture the same vibe as McCarthy's modern classic, through their plot, locations and characterisation.

Discover more books like The Road: 5 Awesome Books Like The Road by Cormac McCarthy.