No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men

by Cormac McCarthy

Paperback(Vintage International Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375706677
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/11/2006
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Vintage International Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 22,844
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy is the author of eight previous novels, and among his honors are the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Read an Excerpt

I

I sent one boy to the gaschamber at Huntsville. One and only one. My arrest and my testimony. I went up there and visited with him two or three times. Three times. The last time was the day of his execution. I didnt have to go but I did. I sure didnt want to. He’d killed a fourteen year old girl and I can tell you right now I never did have no great desire to visit with him let alone go to his execution but I done it. The papers said it was a crime of passion and he told me there wasnt no passion to it. He’d been datin this girl, young as she was. He was nineteen. And he told me that he had been plannin to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was goin to hell. Told it to me out of his own mouth. I dont know what to make of that. I surely dont. I thought I’d never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin if maybe he was some new kind. I watched them strap him into the seat and shut the door. He might of looked a bit nervous about it but that was about all. I really believe that he knew he was goin to be in hell in fifteen minutes. I believe that. And I’ve thought about that a lot. He was not hard to talk to. Called me Sheriff. But I didnt know what to say to him. What do you say to a man that by his own admission has no soul? Why would you say anything? I’ve thought about it a good deal. But he wasnt nothin compared to what was comin down the pike.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I dont know what them eyes was the windows to and I guess I’d as soon not know. But there is another view of the world out there and other eyes to see it and that’s where this is goin. It has done brought me to a place in my life I would not of thought I’d of come to. Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I dont want to confront him. I know he’s real. I have seen his work. I walked in front of those eyes once. I wont do it again. I wont push my chips forward and stand up and go out to meet him. It aint just bein older. I wish that it was. I cant say that it’s even what you are willin to do. Because I always knew that you had to be willin to die to even do this job. That was always true. Not to sound glorious about it or nothin but you do. If you aint they’ll know it. They’ll see it in a heartbeat. I think it is more like what you are willin to become. And I think a man would have to put his soul at hazard. And I wont do that. I think now that maybe I never would.

The deputy left Chigurh standing in the corner of the office with his hands cuffed behind him while he sat in the swivelchair and took off his hat and put his feet up and called Lamar on the mobile.

Just walked in the door. Sheriff he had some sort of thing on him like one of them oxygen tanks for emphysema or whatever. Then he had a hose that run down the inside of his sleeve and went to one of them stunguns like they use at the slaughterhouse. Yessir. Well that’s what it looks like. You can see it when you get in. Yessir. I got it covered. Yessir.

When he stood up out of the chair he swung the keys off his belt and opened the locked desk drawer to get the keys to the jail. He was slightly bent over when Chigurh squatted and scooted his manacled hands beneath him to the back of his knees. In the same motion he sat and rocked backward and passed the chain under his feet and then stood instantly and effortlessly. If it looked like a thing he’d practiced many times it was. He dropped his cuffed hands over the deputy’s head and leaped into the air and slammed both knees against the back of the deputy’s neck and hauled back on the chain.

They went to the floor. The deputy was trying to get his hands inside the chain but he could not. Chigurh lay there pulling back on the bracelets with his knees between his arms and his face averted. The deputy was flailing wildly and he’d begun to walk sideways over the floor in a circle, kicking over the wastebasket, kicking the chair across the room. He kicked shut the door and he wrapped the throwrug in a wad about them. He was gurgling and bleeding from the mouth. He was strangling on his own blood. Chigurh only hauled the harder. The nickelplated cuffs bit to the bone. The deputy’s right carotid artery burst and a jet of blood shot across the room and hit the wall and ran down it. The deputy’s legs slowed and then stopped. He lay jerking. Then he stopped moving altogether. Chigurh lay breathing quietly, holding him. When he got up he took the keys from the deputy’s belt and released himself and put the deputy’s revolver in the waistband of his trousers and went into the bathroom.

He ran cold water over his wrists until they stopped bleeding and he tore strips from a handtowel with his teeth and wrapped his wrists and went back into the office. He sat on the desk and fastened the toweling with tape from a dispenser, studying the dead man gaping up from the floor. When he was done he got the deputy’s wallet out of his pocket and took the money and put it in the pocket of his shirt and dropped the wallet to the floor. Then he picked up his airtank and the stungun and walked out the door and got into the deputy’s car and started the engine and backed around and pulled out and headed up the road.

On the interstate he picked out a late model Ford sedan with a single driver and turned on the lights and hit the siren briefly. The car pulled onto the shoulder. Chigurh pulled in behind him and shut off the engine and slung the tank across his shoulder and stepped out. The man was watching him in the rearview mirror as he walked up.

What’s the problem, officer? he said.

Sir would you mind stepping out of the vehicle?

The man opened the door and stepped out. What’s this about? he said.

Would you step away from the vehicle please.

The man stepped away from the vehicle. Chigurh could see the doubt come into his eyes at this bloodstained figure before him but it came too late. He placed his hand on the man’s head like a faith healer. The pneumatic hiss and click of the plunger sounded like a door closing. The man slid soundlessly to the ground, a round hole in his forehead from which the blood bubbled and ran down into his eyes carrying with it his slowly uncoupling world visible to see. Chigurh wiped his hand with his handkerchief. I just didnt want you to get blood on the car, he said.

Moss sat with the heels of his boots dug into the volcanic gravel of the ridge and glassed the desert below him with a pair of twelve power german binoculars. His hat pushed back on his head. Elbows propped on his knees. The rifle strapped over his shoulder with a harnessleather sling was a heavybarreled .270 on a ’98 Mauser action with a laminated stock of maple and walnut. It carried a Unertl telescopic sight of the same power as the binoculars. The antelope were a little under a mile away. The sun was up less than an hour and the shadow of the ridge and the datilla and the rocks fell far out across the floodplain below him. Somewhere out there was the shadow of Moss himself. He lowered the binoculars and sat studying the land. Far to the south the raw mountains of Mexico. The breaks of the river. To the west the baked terracotta terrain of the run- ning borderlands. He spat dryly and wiped his mouth on the shoulder of his cotton workshirt.

The rifle would shoot half minute of angle groups. Five inch groups at one thousand yards. The spot he’d picked to shoot from lay just below a long talus of lava scree and it would put him well within that distance. Except that it would take the better part of an hour to get there and the antelope were grazing away from him. The best he could say about any of it was that there was no wind.

When he got to the foot of the talus he raised himself slowly and looked for the antelope. They’d not moved far from where he last saw them but the shot was still a good seven hundred yards. He studied the animals through the binoculars. In the compressed air motes and heat distortion. A low haze of shimmering dust and pollen. There was no other cover and there wasnt going to be any other shot.

He wallowed down in the scree and pulled off one boot and laid it over the rocks and lowered the forearm of the rifle down into the leather and pushed off the safety with his thumb and sighted through the scope.

They stood with their heads up, all of them, looking at him.

Damn, he whispered. The sun was behind him so they couldnt very well have seen light reflect off the glass of the scope. They had just flat seen him.

The rifle had a Canjar trigger set to nine ounces and he pulled the rifle and the boot toward him with great care and sighted again and jacked the crosshairs slightly up the back of the animal standing most broadly to him. He knew the exact drop of the bullet in hundred yard increments. It was the distance that was uncertain. He laid his finger in the curve of the trigger. The boar’s tooth he wore on a gold chain spooled onto the rocks inside his elbow.


From the Hardcover edition.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Profoundly disturbing and gorgeously renderedÉ. The most accessible of all his works.” –Washington Post

“A narrative that rips along like hell on wheels [in a] race with the devil [on] a stage as big as Texas.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Expertly staged and pitilessly lightedÉ. It feels like a genuine diagnosis of the postmillennial malady, a scary illumination of the oncoming darkness.” –Time

“A cause for celebrationÉ. He is nothing less than our greatest living writer, and this is a novel that must be read and remembered.” –Houston Chronicle

Reading Group Guide

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Profoundly disturbing and gorgeously rendered. . . . The most accessible of all his works.” —The Washington Post

The introduction, discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and author biography that follow are designed to stimulate your group’s discussion of No Country for Old Men, the first novel by acclaimed author Cormac McCarthy since the completion of his award-winning and bestselling Border Trilogy.

1. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium”: “That is no country for old men, the young / In one another’s arms, birds in the trees, / —Those dying generations—at their song.” The poem also contains the lines: “An aged man is but a paltry thing, / A tattered coat upon a stick, / Unless soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress.” Why has McCarthy chosen a line from Yeats’ poem for his title? In what ways is No Country for Old Men about aging? Does Sheriff Bell experience any kind of spiritual rejuvenation as he ages?

2. McCarthy has a distinctive prose style—pared down, direct, colloquial—and he relies on terse, clipped dialogue rather than narrative exposition to move his story along. Why is this style so powerful and so well-suited to the story he tells in No Country for Old Men?

3. Early in the novel, after Bell surveys the carnage in the desert, he tells Lamar: “I just have this feelin we’re looking at something we really aint never even seen before” [p. 46]. In what way is the violence Sheriff Bell encounters different than what has come before? Is Anton Chigurh a new kind of killer? Is he a “true and living prophet of destruction,” [p. 4] as Bell thinks? In what ways does he challenge Bell’s worldview and values?

4. After Llewelyn finds the money and comes home, he decides to go back to the scene of the crime. He tells his wife: “I’m fixin to go do somethin dumbern hell but I’m goin anways” [p. 24]. Why does he go back, even though he knows it is a foolish and dangerous thing to do? What are the consequences of this decision?

5. When asked about the rise in crime in his county, Bell says that “It starts when you begin to overlook bad manners. Any time you quit hearin Sir and Mam the end is pretty much in sight” [p. 304]. Is he right about this? Why would deteriorating manners signal a larger social chaos?

6. How can Anton Chigurh’s behavior be explained? What motivates him to kill so methodically and heartlessly? How does he regard the people he kills?

7. Llewellyn tells the young woman he picks up hitchhiking: “Things happen to you they happen. They don’t ask first. They dont require your permission” [p. 220]. Have things simply happened to Llewellyn or does he play a more active role in his fate? Does his life in fact seem fated?

8. What motivates Sheriff Bell? Why does he feel so protective of Llewellyn and his wife? In what ways does Sheriff Bell’s past, particularly his war experience, affect his actions in the present?

9. McCarthy will often tell the reader that one of his characters is “thinking things over” without revealing what the character is thinking about [see p. 107]. Most novelists describe in great detail what their characters are thinking and feeling. Why does McCarthy choose not to do this? What does he gain by leaving such information out?

10. Sheriff Bell says, “The stories gets passed on and the truth gets passed over. . . . Which I reckon some would take as meanin the truth cant compete. But I don’t believe that. I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. . . . You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt” [p. 123]. What incorruptible truths emerge from the story that McCarthy tells in No Country for Old Men?

11. In the italicized sections of the novel, Sheriff Bell reflects on what he feels is the moral decline and growing violence of the world around him. What is the moral code that Bell lives by? What are his strongest beliefs? How has he acquired these beliefs?

12. Jeffery Lent, writing in The Washington Post Book World, described No Country for Old Men as “profoundly disturbing” [“Blood Money,” The Washington Post Book World, July 17, 2005]. What is it about the story that McCarthy tells and the way he tells it that is so unsettling?

13. Near the end of the novel, Bell says: “I think we are all of us ill prepared for what is to come and I dont care what shape it takes” [p. 295]. What kind of future is Bell imagining? Why does he think we are not ready for it? How can No Country for Old Men be understood as an apocalyptic novel?

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No Country for Old Men 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 278 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gory, Intense, Engrossing, and Beautiful. Those are the first words coming to mind when I hear No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. This novel is near perfect. Cormac’s unique writing style suits the book entirely well and does the story itself justice. Aside from the superb writing, the story is entrancing and entertaining. The non-stop action and bizarre protagonists can keep even the smallest attention span intrigued. Lleweyn Moss finds millions of dollars in the desert and decides to keep it for himself. Little does he know that the most brilliant hit man in the entire south is right on his tail. Moss tries to keep his wife and the money safe at the same time, although has trouble juggling the two. We find Moss often times trying to find unique contortions and contraptions to hide the money but this brutal hit man isn’t falling for any of it, killing almost everyone he comes in contact with in order to obtain his prize. Alongside This hit man is the entire Mexican drug cartel, striving to conceive this case of money. Moss has a run in with all of these people and continues to survive these intense scuffles but when he realizes he has to leave the sate is when he also realizes that his luck may be running out. Detective Bell, a long time Sherriff in a small county in Texas is on these men’s tail also trying to get to the bottom of all the murders and guns fired in his once small, peaceful community. A true tail of cat and mouse that will have you biting your nails to the last flip of the page. Get ready for some late nights because it will be very hard for you to put down this book until you have turned all 350 pages of this seemingly easy read. 5 stars. Fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was a little odd but really a fun read. McCarthy has such a unique writing style that challenges the reader but also adds to this short novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure this book isn't the typical book we are acustomed to reading. By that I refer to the style it is written and the way it speaks to you. Cormac does an excellent job at throwing you into a unknown world and making you believe it exists. I watched the film adaption of the book first and when i heard there was a book to it I bought it as soon as possible. Because as we all know film adaptions tend to skim on things. To my surprise the book was alot like the film minus the character development and more filling details the film did not provide. Plus the different ending. Interesting story to say the least.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you enjoy suspense? What about gunfighting? What about the desert? If you answered yes, then No Country for Old Men is definately for you! Cormac McCarthy uses detailed words and descriptive verbs to make you feel as if you are right there, first-handedly witnessing every event. The story realistically portrays the happenings of an extremely murderous fugitive and a wandering cowboy with a suitcase full of cash. McCarthy uses his words and imagery to paint lush landscapes and many crafty techniques to paint crafty pictures of the small Washington town in which the story takes place. The suspense of the novel comes from the seclusive nature of the events; You know something extreme could happen at any minute, but it stays unclear as to exactly when or how it may happen. This factor drew me to the novel greatly. The novel is unlike any other, in that it switches between two stories: One of the fugitive, and the other of the cowboy. It shows the paths they take, as those paths cross, one ends, and the other carries on. There are many unexpected events, such as suprise shootouts, random input from the sheriff on the hunt for the fugitive, and personal dilemnas, all leading up to an abrupt ending that will leave you completely and totally breathless. No Country For Old Men is a great story for any reader who loves action, suspense, vivid scenery, and much more. Cormac McCarthy has done great work in this novel, and I would highly recommend it to any reader who fits in any age group between young adult and elder. This is an exceptional piece of writing, and if I were you, I wouldn't hesitate to dig into it!
bragan on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Llewelyn Moss is hunting in the desert one day when he comes across the bloody aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. He comes away from the encounter with a suitcase full of money and the realization that now both parties involved are after him, as well as the local sheriff. This initially seems like a completely standard action thriller plot, although McCarthy's sparse, literary writing elevates it many notches above standard thriller quality without sacrificing any of the tension. Among other things, I have to admire the way he manages to effectively portray the main bad guy as really, really scary using just a few very simple brushstrokes.Ultimately, though, the plot isn't what the novel is about at all, and in the end it all but abandons it in order to become what it really is: a meditation about the deterioration of American society. Which is a little disconcerting, perhaps, but it works better than you might expect. I am particularly impressed by the fact that the perspective it's told from, a conservative point of view I normally have very little sympathy for, elicited very real feelings of empathy and understanding in me.The one thing about MCarthy's writing that doesn't thrill me is his apparent hatred for any form of punctuation other than the period. I think this sort of worked in The Road. I remember commenting after reading that one that it gave the impression that all the apostrophes had been destroyed in the apocalypse, and it's possible I wasn't entirely joking; perhaps it did help to enhance that novel's particular sense of bleakness. In this one, though it mainly struck me as irritating and a little pretentious. (Not that this one isn't also bleak, mind you, but it's bleak in a different way.) Worse, there were a couple of places where the lack of a comma or an appropriate set of italics led to enough ambiguity that I found myself confused for a paragraph or several. And this, folks, is the reason why these conventions exist in the first place! Fortunately, it's a good enough book in all other respects that I was able to get past that. Mostly.
Ruby_Barnes on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Chigurh - an intelligent psychopath.Third person narrator alternating with Sheriff Bell's first person reflections in italics. McCarthy's style throws dialogue and prose together without punctuation. This removes the need for speech tags and gives an immediacy to the story. The voices of the three protagonists are clearly distinguishable and the psychopathic villain Chigurh is worrying enough to keep the reader awake at night. Even though I knew the plot from the film, I was still stunned by McCarthy's summary and effective dismissal of two key characters. The horror and pressure tails off a bit at the end, which loses the fifth star for me, but in another way I was glad that cooling off phase was there to bring me down from the horror of Chigurh.
pixiedark on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
This book is extremely suspenseful and fast paced. this book has one of the greatest villains ever!
blucherca on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
No Country for Old Men may be one of my favorite books that I have read so far this year. It is a dark novel that explains that you should embrace the evil that you have in you. I would not reccomend this book to anyone that cannot handle greusome scenes in novels.
NativeRoses on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Whenever i try to summarize Cormac McCarthy's work, i get stuck in specifics -- sentence by careful sentence, it works for me. One of the main themes in No Country for Old Men is the idea that things have gone very wrong. Nature is disappearing and there is a brutality that pervades civilization which wasn't as pervasive before. Many artists write about hunting, ephemerality, enchanting beauty, and the idea that money and civilization's order are at war with what little wildness is left. But i haven't found any that leave suburban confines behind quite so well.
mrstreme on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
I didn¿t realize it at the time, but the themes of my recent selection, No Country for Old Men, was amazingly timely. At the surface, it¿s October, and I¿ve already read a ghost story ¿ why not throw a story about a sociopath to the mix? But at a deeper level, it¿s a story about what¿s happening to our country with each passing generation ¿ how things are getting more obtuse, more complicated and less hopeful. With our presidential election right around the corner, I could not have stumbled upon a timelier theme.No Country for Old Men is a complex story. At one level, it¿s the story of Llewellyn Moss, a 36-year old Vietnam veteran who stumbled into a drug bust gone wrong and managed to snag millions of dollars in drug money. The Mexican drug lords are chasing Moss, but his biggest concern is that of Anton Chigurh ¿ a clever, cold-hearted killer whose methods of execution are startling and gut wrenching.On another level, it¿s the story of Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, who policed his county without issue for a number of years, until the bad drug bust and the arrival Chigurh to his county. Bell carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, stemming back from his service during the Second World War. He desperately wanted to close this case, bring Moss to safety and retire without incident.If you saw the movie, you picked up on the excellent characterization and spine-tingling plot. However, you missed McCarthy¿s gift of writing ¿ of presenting a story on the page that will leave you wanting more. McCarthy does not use quotation marks and other punctuation marks, which will drive the traditionalists nuts, but there¿s something about the way he presents his stories that¿s simple and superior. It¿s like eating a delicious vegetable without the butter, sauce or salt ¿ just the raw deliciousness that God created. With recent comments made by Nobel judges that Americans lack talented writers, I sneer. Cormac McCarthy is among the best. It¿s too bad these judges are overlooking such talent ¿ because he¿s among the best our country offers the literary world.
librarian_k on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Pretty much the same as the movie, except no Javier Bardem, and 4 chapters tacked onto the end about the sheriff. Audio was great for a long car ride.
RedBowlingBallRuth on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
I saw the Coen brothers cinematic interpetation of this books a few months ago, and have been wanting to read it ever since. The movie was really good, and followed the book very closely. This book kept me on the edge of mye seat, despite the fact that I knew what was going to happen. Llewlyn's desperate flight and Chigurh's endlessly determinded pursuit makes for a very exciting and nerveracking read. Chigurh is a very interesting character; his gruesome, cold and calculating nature is oddly intriguing and fascinating. I loved the relationship between Llewlyn and Sue Ellen; their interaction and conversations was heartwarming. A quick, exciting and enjoyable read!
lmichet on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
When I recommend this book to people, the first thing they say to me always concerns the degree to which they liked or hated the movie.The movie is EXTREMELY faithful too the book. However, the way in which the source material hampers the movie is the way in which it enables the book to excel. Yes, the ending is ambiguous and odd and perplexing. Cormac McCarthy does ambiguous, odd, and perplexing better than any other living American writer.Should you read this book before watching the movie? Definitely. There's no question. The plot is simultaneously straightforward and convoluted; watching the movie will probably ruin a lot of the surprises for you. However, the movie itself is a very different beast. It works or doesn't work on different terms than the book does. The book has a different symbolic impact than the movie; the form and organization of the book sees to that. The sherrif's monologues spotted among the third-person chapters help to create an effect which is less-clearly articulated in the movie.So. Read this. I have not read all of Cormac McCarthy but if you read any of his at all I'm willing to suggest that you'll adore this one.
leesclubhaarenjb on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Listened to the spoken book, some years after seeing the impressive movie. Good dialogue, the first English book I listened to. Earlier this week I listened to my first Dutch book (Baantjer).I can recommend this spoken version of the book.
breathtest on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Contrary to a lot of peoples views that the italicised chapters from the point of view of Sheriff Bell were long-winded and should have been left out, I think they added a certain depth and humanity to the book. Without it, No Country For Old Men would simply be a violent cat-and-mouse 'shoot em up' (which i don't think would have been that bad, but still lacking that vital touch that makes a good book great). The writing is original and keeps you turning pages. Before you realize it you've gone through a huge chunk of the book, and you still don't want to stop. You'll read it in two, three days max, without a doubt, and when you're finished, you'll know it was well worth it.
trivigo on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
One of the few cases in which the film is better than the book. You get a sense of what Chigurh is all about from this--eventually. But the dead-eyed, sociopathic creepiness on screen is the artistry of Javier Bardem, not McCarthy. Also, the book is about 100 pages too long--we don't need near as many italicized essays from Bell, and the last 40 pages are just tacked-on characterization. A great story done somewhat well.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
The thing that struck me most about this book was its lack of punctuation. It is stripped as bare as possible - no speech marks, very few apostrophes. I've read other books that tried this device, and I'm sure it's an attempt to make the book seem more real - without twiddly bits added by the author - but in this case it just made it more difficult to read IMO. During the long conversational exchanges I frequently found myself having to re-read just to make sure I was 'hearing' the right person. If I was being cynical I'd say the speech marks were left out so it was already halfway to being a screenplay, because this book was clearly a film waiting to happen.I found the reality of the plot differed considerably from the synopsis on the back cover. Corpse-strewn (I lost count of the bodies after about page 25) it starts off by lurching from one shootout to another, leaving death and destruction in its wake. I'm sure if I shook this book another dead body would fall out, dripping blood on my sofa. The characters (with the exception of the Sheriff, Bell) were given little or no personality time, and I found it hard to picture them with so little detail about their appearance, their characteristics, their lives. Even the Sheriff, who was fleshed out a good deal more than most, I still could not picture by the end. Perhaps I'll have to watch the film (and I almost never say that after reading a book).Other things that irritated me - the way the characters were able to spout psychobabble at will (that only happens in the movies), and the sheer unfeasibility of some of the scenarios. I'd say this book was a great guide to escaping crime scenes, robbing pharmacies and crossing the Rio Grande with no clothes on, but in real life it surely would never work that way. Would it?But there were things I liked too - the introspective sections were fantastically well written, and as the story eased to its close its message gradually took shape. I was sure this tale of violence and moral decay had to have some serious and profound side, and it did. I loved the end. I also liked the way (SPOILER?) that the author didn't find it necessary to give everyone a happy ending.
docbells on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Very disappointed. This story was excellent through 2/3rds of the book, then McCarthy seemed to forget how to end it. The main storyline abruptly ends and we are left with the moral conscious battling of one of the secondary characters. I believe this book is way over-rated. The Road was much better and even though I have yet to see the movie, I hope it is much better than the last 3rd of the book.
carrieprice78 on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
The movie blew me away, so I decided to read the book. Prior to that, I was unfamiliar with Cormac McCarthy. I don't think I've ever seen a movie rendered so faithfully to a book. We need more movies like that one.As I've said in my review of "The Road," I really like McCarthy's writing style. Some people hate it adamantly. The lack of punctuation gives the story a flow and a credibility that doesn't stunt.How realistic is this story? Probably not very, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It was ruthless!
jjtyler on LibraryThing 4 hours ago
Wow.I think you can sum up the entire review with the word above. This book is a lean juicy steak with zero fat. That is the most important thing about this story, that there is zero fluff, because if there was any unneeded junk put into the story, it wouldn't work at all.I love that McCarthy isn't some literary aficionado somewhere at some university but he is somewhere living in a truck out in West Texas or East New Mexico, writing.Seeing the movie before the book did not hamper my joy in reading this one bit. What is great about the book is that you get much more of Sheriff Tom Bell, and you get to see his view of things in panorama.Moss's demise is explained in greater detail, and although it is still not satisfactory for most, it is the way McCarthy intended the book to be, without a tidy ending and without any sense of justice.There is quite a bit more of Anton Chigurh as well, and he gives out some of his philosophy and world views, especially right before he kills someone. I'm not sure why he is obsessed with the people knowing why he is killing them before he does it, but this is part of his M.O., showing the victims that their life is hopeless if it led to this point.This book is a fast read, and that is mostly because a good portion of it is dialogue. I'm a sucker for good southern dialogue, and McCarthy's use of the language and dialect is unmatched in this generation.This is a highly recommended read, despite if you have seen the movie or not, and go into knowing that this is more than a story, but McCarthy's view on civilization and the culture of violence. If you missed his point in the movie, the book won't leave you guessing as to what this all means. We're all in a basket, and we're all heading down south.I'm going out of my way here to say that I can't remember enjoying a book this much, despite the depression that lingers after reading it. It has jumped up to my top five books of all times list, and may be close to the first. I know that means something to you.
davidbain on LibraryThing 3 months ago
lean and mean, a spaghetti western in modern boots; the villain, Anton Chiggurh could spend a cozy afternoon comparing notes with Hanibbal Lector and Dean Koontz's Edgler Vess.
raggedprince on LibraryThing 3 months ago
A very well executed thriller but not my favourite Cormac McCarthy. I didn't like having my nose rubbed in so much death. And I missed the presence of the landscape which is so strong in his other novels.
writestuff on LibraryThing 3 months ago
After reading Cormac McCarthy's book The Road in May, I knew I would read more of his novels. Like that novel, No Country For Old Men is filled with brutal violence and asks deep questions about the nature of evil, morality and the idea of fate vs. choosing our own path.When Lewelyn Moss stumbles across a drug deal gone bad out in the desert and walks away with a briefcase filled with over two million dollars, he sets off a string of savage murders and places himself and his wife in harm's way. Ed Tom Bell, an old time sheriff on the brink of retirement, carries the novel with his dry sense of humor and musings on the philosophy of life and its moral decline. Chigurh (apparently pronounced 'sugar' ... although I thought this character could better be described as 'chigger') seems to be the embodiment of evil - a super human monster who appears to have no respect for human life.McCarthy takes the reader for a wild ride through the first half of the book. I found myself unable to put the novel down. The scenes are nail bitters, written like a screenplay. It is not surprising that the movie based on the book will be released in November 2007.But then, McCarthy slows things down midway, giving the reader more to think about than who will be the next victim. Do our choices seal our fate in life? Are our lives merely determined by the flip of a coin? Or do we have the power to control our lives through the moral decisions we make? McCarthy doesn't give the reader any easy answers, and perhaps that is because there are not any. In the end, we are left with the symbol of a fire being lit in the darkness - perhaps the suggestion that we may still shine our light on evil, and reveal it for what it is.Recommended.
squeakjones on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men is deceptive. On the surface a bare bones, ruthless narrative about a man on the run from a cold-blooded killer and the sheriff who tries to figure out the puzzle of what went down, it's also a meditation on the nature of the country as we see it now, as opposed to how we viewed it in the past. It's a book about how our perception of evil has become more grand and black with every passing generation, and where we seek to identify ourselves within that framework. It's also a story of responsibilities, to family, to community, to one's self.The plot is almost an afterthought - quiet vet Llewelyn Moss, hunting in the plains on the Texas-Mexico border comes across a couple trucks, several dead men, blocks of heroin, and 2.4 million in cash. Moss takes the money, and from there it is a bloody chase across Texas and Mexico as psycho-killers, Mexican drug dealers, and a determined sheriff follow Moss for their own reasons. McCarthy's writing is brief but poetic - it takes a few pages to get used to his unique writing style but once you're there the story moves at break-neck speed until its all-too-abrupt conclusion. Sheriff Bell, the narrator/voice of reason in the book contemplates that this new world he's seeing is indeed No Country for Old Men, and perhaps the evil apparent in killer Anton Chigurh is an evil we may all be destined for if the world continues to dip and sway on the tip of its own modernity.For anyone who has not yet read McCarthy, this is supposedly his most accessible book ,and might serve as a great starting place before dipping into heavier fare such as All the Pretty Horses, Suttree, or Blood Meridian. The Coen Brothers are also currently adapting this book to be their next feature film, which sounds fantastic, since in many ways the themes here echo FARGO and, to a lesser extent, BLOOD SIMPLE. Great book, A-.
angrywayne on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I feel like so many reviews of this book give a lot away about the plot, that out of context, doesn't lend well to the writer or the novel. The last time I set down a McCarthy book, was when I finished Suttree a few years ago. I took a deep breath then and I took a deep breath again with No Country for Old Men. His adept use of dialect and imagery spurs my imaginaton back home to Texas. I think back to when I was a kid and the land stretched out before me and stories unfolded in the possibility and the plausibility of the harshness of the land and what it could do to man struggling within it. This book brought my heart back to those moments walking in the fields all alone, when you think you are alone. All of the sudden your heart lands in your throat as you are overcome with a feeling that something is not right, and you are afraid to look back. He's captured the humanity of it all again. For me his stories revisit the same theme again and again, and as he ges older, they just get better.I kind of want to read it again. Just today I clicked on a trailer for the movie, yes they've made a movie of it already, and the first thing I thought was "..what a shame for those who never read the book..."