Thursday, March 31, 2016

No Country For Old Men

No Country For Old Men
By Cormac McCarthy
New York: Knoff, 2005. 309 pp. Fiction

While out hunting along the Texas-Mexican border, Llewellyn Moss stumbles upon mysterious crime scene, with a number of men dead or dying and pickup trucks riddled with bullets. After examining the results of this shootout, he discovers a large cache of heroin and a satchel containing millions in cash. He quickly grabs the money and flees the scene. Unbeknownst to him, this will set in motion a relentless and ruthless manhunt, with two men tasked by the competing groups behind the apparent drug deal gone bad to track down the man who stole the money and a county sheriff struggling to keep Moss alive and protect his community.

After years of having Cormac McCarthy on my mental TBR list and hearing so many rave reviews, I finally picked up a copy of this book after one of my colleagues said it was one of her all time favorites. I really quite enjoyed this book. It is possibly the most masculine novel I have ever read. While it is set in contemporary Texas, it has the feel of a western, populated with men of few words and much action. Each of the characters are driven to act according to his particular notions of how men are and/or should be. Once set upon a path he doggedly treads it even unto death, with little or no hesitation, circumspection or consideration of self-interest let alone the interests of others. The writing is extraordinarily lean and even Spartan, stripped of even some basic elements of punctuation, reflecting the uncomplicated perspectives of the principal characters. This book is a really page turner and thought provoking examination of the male psyche that nicely avoids being a mere agglomeration of trite alpha male clich├ęs.

CHW

1 comment:

CKN said...

No Country for Old Men is one of my favorite books! It is fast paced and action-packed, but there are also beautifully written passages – especially when Sheriff Bell is reflecting on his past and how he’s seen the world change. I agree with this review, No Country for Old Men definitely upholds the strong masculine theme found in most contemporary westerns. Yet, McCarthy also includes little details that make his characters like Chigurh and Sheriff Bell so much more complex. Fans of this book must watch the Coen brothers’ film adaptation. It is fantastic!