While wandering through a desolate wasteland, a father and son find themselves on a path they must follow, but they have no idea where it will lead them. The novel has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, for its exploration of themes of loneliness and companionship. Following books like The Road depict similar stories of world destruction and how people manage to survive in its aftermath.
Books like The Road
The Last Man, by Mary Shelley
Nearly a decade after her first novel, the classic horror classic Frankenstein, Mary Shelley wrote The Last Man, which is an excellent choice for fans of The Road.
Frankenstein’s monster has many of the same themes, but it stands out on its own merits and was given the credit it deserved in 1960. Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron are two of Shelley’s late friends, and the novel serves as a way for her to mourn their deaths.
The novel begins in 2073 and follows Lionel throughout his entire life. A plague begins to spread around the world, causing many of the people Lionel cares about to succumb to it or the ensuing chaos. the human condition in the face of a more powerful force is examined in The Last Man just like The Road.
The Stand, by Stephen King
The Stand is a masterful tale of a post-apocalyptic world that may cause the reader to obsess and adopt conspiracy theories, given the current state of the world.
Nearly all those infected die when a dangerous strain of influenza is accidentally released from a lab. In a nutshell, the novel focuses on how the world responds to this pandemic, and things only get worse. People are dying not only from influenza, but also from the violent actions of terrified people, as society begins to fall apart.
At the very least, The Stand offers more insight into the chaos that might have brought about the end of the world in The Road. Apocalyptic survival and the bonds formed along the way are the focus of The Road rather than the events that led up to it.
And this is what makes the novel so wonderful, but if you’re more interested in the destruction itself, The Stand is for you.
No, I haven’t read it yet. Other great reads like The Stand can be found on our recommended reading list.
I am Legend, by Richard Matheson
There have been a number of film adaptations of I am Legend, the most recent of which was released in 2007 and starred Will Smith.
Similar to The Road, it tells the story of a man who manages to survive the worldwide epidemic of vampires that has transformed all of humanity. Robert Neville, whose wife and daughter perished as a result of the virus, now spends his days hunting down and killing vampires while also trying to learn more about the disease that turned them.
What if something infects us all? Could vampires or zombies really be possible due to a manmade or natural virus? This novel plays on one of humanity’s deepest fears. Is this a natural selection process or something more sinister at work here?
There are flaws in the story, but there are also a lot of intriguing possibilities, making it a worthwhile read for anyone who is curious about vampires. Like books like The Road, it focuses on the theme of loneliness.
The Children of Men, by P.D. James
An impending fertility crisis throws society into disarray, which is the subject of the film The Children of Men. There is a civil war when a man’s sperm count drops to zero and the fertility rate drops. It is told in part by Theo, who keeps a diary of what he experiences in the novel.
This version of England is ruled by his cousin, who abolishes democracy in the process. Omegas, the last people to be born, are known for their reckless and unrestrained behavior because of their privileged position. This shattered society goes into a frenzy when a woman shows up pregnant after several years without a new baby.
How our world would fare in the face of an apocalyptic event like the one in The Road is imagined in this novel, just like in books like that one.
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
It all begins with the Snowman, who has been wandering the barren landscape of Earth for the past few years, among a new species of Crakers, who aren’t quite human but aren’t completely inhuman either.
In a similar way to the father and son in the film The Road, Snowman must learn to adapt to his new surroundings, including the dangers he will have to overcome. This emphasis on what was is absent from Snowman while it is present in The Road, where we see Jimmy’s memories of the world before the apocalypse and his feelings for the unnameable Oryx as he reminisces about his time spent with his best friend Crake.
There is a strong focus on loneliness and vulnerability, and the importance of human contact in this novel, just like in books like The Road.
The Passage, by Justin Cronin
As the first book in a trilogy about life after the end of the world as we know it, The Passage explains how this pandemic began. Because of the abduction of a young girl named Amy Bellafonte, a chain of events that threatens the entire planet is set in motion.
A team of American scientists, assisted by the government, is working to develop a cure for a virus that has already infected twelve subjects, all of whom are showing alarming signs. While these new beings are wreaking havoc on the planet, the story of the novel takes place over several centuries.
When all else fails, close relationships are all that remain. The new world’s sterility reflects the same emptiness as that depicted in The Road. The Passage, The Twelve, and The City of Mirrors follow The Road in terms of world-building, so if you enjoyed The Road, you’ll enjoy these books as well.
The Host, by Stephanie Meyer
Best known for her Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer excels in her dystopian novel “The Host,” in which an alien life form invades Earth and must take up host within the body of a human in order to live.
Normally, this is a very simple process: as the original owner of the body weakens, the host grows stronger. As a “soul” who recently entered a new body, Wanderer’s new owner, Melanie, refuses to leave, making Wanderer’s transition more challenging.
Unlike The Road in its depiction of what could happen in the future, The Host makes it clear that we never quite know what’s around the corner and that we’re never safe.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
The “Georgia Flu,” like many of these other novels, is a medical pandemic that leads to the destruction of the world. The novel focuses on a number of characters, and how they were affected by the flu epidemic, as well as the events that followed.
Resilience in humans is highlighted in Station Eleven – the instinct to survive above all else is the focus of the story. The characters in this story still fall in love and try to remain upbeat despite the overwhelming darkness, demonstrating that there is still much to live for even in the face of great adversity.
Most of these books like The Road convey this message in a slightly different way, but the message is the same: There is always a need to keep fighting.
No, I haven’t read it yet. We’ve compiled a list of books that are similar to Station Eleven.
The Road is a harrowing story, but its focus on human connection is heartwarming if you’re willing to look for it. It’s possible that the reason these books are so compelling to us is because they all feature characters who are willing to keep fighting—for themselves or others.