Friday, May 13, 2011
Review: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Thank you Blogger for being a royal pain in the butt. I definitely typed, saved, and posted this review on Wednesday, and I even checked afterwards to see if it was posted. And when I just looked, it wasn't posted, nor was my full review saved. The only thing saved was the picture. *sigh* At least recycling day isn't until Tuesday because I found my original hand-written review in the recycling bin and am now retyping it. Better work this time!
Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men is a frightening and dark story of a man hunt. Set deep into the south of Texas in the 1970s, war vet Llewellyn Moss stumbles upon a mass-murder scene in the middle of the desert. Nearby he finds a suitcase with a ton of money in it. As soon as he makes the decision to take the money, he knows that someone will come after him. Llewellyn takes off and throughout the story is persude by a really scary gunman, the local sheriff, and a bunch of other violent people. This book is filled with violence, but it's one you won't want to pass up.
My first experience with Cormac McCarthy was his book The Road. I was immediately drawn to his writing style. I'd been wanting to pick up another of his novels ever since. I saw the movie No Country for Old Men with Boyfriend shortly after it was released and loved it. Realizing that the book was probably even better than the movie, I decided to give the novel a try. I am so glad I did!
The moment I picked up the book, it drew me into its world. McCarthy captures his characters and setting so well you feel like you are there. I truly thought when I first saw how much southern dialect he wrote with that I'd get super annoyed and go crazy. I usually hate it when authors mispell words when characters are speaking so that readers can hear how exactly they speak. Usually, I have to read dialogs out loud just to understand them. With McCarthy's style, I understood everything completely and actually loved it. It's hard to explain because that deep Texan accent is definitely present in his writing, but it's not so insane that I have to read it out loud. It added so much to the story and to the characters, and I don't think I've read anyone who does it as well as McCarthy.
I loved the characters. The sheriff, because of the chapters that are in his point of view, becomes quite an endearing character, even with all his rough edges. Llewellyn was a great guy even though he stole the money. He wants it so that he and his wife can have a better life, and even when he gets violent, you can't help but cheer for him. The bad guy, Chigurh, is probably one of the scariest people I've ever read about. He is sneaky and just plain evil.
The only thing I'd warn readers about this book is that the chapters where the sheriff is speaking in present tense and are italicized can be confusing. I had already seen the movie and I understood from that that those chapters are actually him speaking to a reporter after the fact. Really though, the book makes no mention of this, and I can totally picture him sitting on a rocker on his front porch telling this story to whoever came by for a visit. If you don't realize that it's the sheriff telling the story after it's all over and done with, it can be very confusing.
I absolutely adored this book and talked about it for weeks at home and at school. My mom now has it sitting next to her chair in her "to read" pile. Yes, it's violent and bloody, and disturbing, and dark, but it is so worth it. I promise you won't regret reading No Country for Old Men.
Now for some favorite quotes:
Page 124: It is community and it is respect, of course, but the dead have more claims on you than what you might want to admit or even what you might know about and them claims can be very strong indeed.
Page 127: The face that lapped and shifted in the dark liquid in the cup seemed an omen of things to come. Things losing shape. Taking you with them.
Page 283: I've told my deputies more than once that you fix what you can fix and you let the rest go. If there aint nothin to be done about it it aint even a problem.
Title: No Country for Old Men
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Date of Publication: 2006
Number of Pages: 271
Source: Personal Copy