In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones.
One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law-in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell-can contain.
As Moss tries to evade his pursuers-in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives-McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning's headlines.
No Country for Old Men is a triumph.
Part of the Reader Store Gritty Fiction collection.
Seven years after Cities of the Plain brought his acclaimed Border Trilogy to a close, McCarthy returns with a mesmerizing modern-day western. In 1980 southwest Texas, Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, stumbles across several dead men, a bunch of heroin and $2.4 million in cash. The bulk of the novel is a gripping man-on-the-run sequence relayed in terse, masterful prose as Moss, who's taken the money, tries to evade Wells, an ex-Special Forces agent employed by a powerful cartel, and Chigurh, an icy psychopathic murderer armed with a cattle gun and a dangerous philosophy of justice. Also concerned about Moss's whereabouts is Sheriff Bell, an aging lawman struggling with his sense that there's a new breed of man (embodied in Chigurh) whose destructive power he simply cannot match. In a series of thoughtful first-person passages interspersed throughout, Sheriff Bell laments the changing world, wrestles with an uncomfortable memory from his service in WWII and-a soft ray of light in a book so steeped in bloodshed-rejoices in the great good fortune of his marriage. While the action of the novel thrills, it's the sensitivity and wisdom of Sheriff Bell that makes the book a profound meditation on the battle between good and evil and the roles choice and chance play in the shaping of a life. Agent, Amanda Urban. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Frank, Forboding and Fantastic
Posted February 17, 2010 by Denny Boynton , St. Louis, MOCormac McCarthy is the undisputed master of the simple, declaritive statement. This is nowhere more apparent than in his 2005 novel, "No Country For Old Men." Of course, most people are familiar with this title because of the 2007 film based on the novel which won best picture that year (and deservedly so), but even if you saw the film, I encourage you to read the book. The film was very true to the story, but there are large sections of dialog which would not have played well on the screen, but really help to bring out the essence of the book's theme: "The times they are a changin', and not for the better." The story churns forward with high velocity, driven by McCarthy's stark, mininimalist prose. But there's a lot happening in this story under the surface. It's a story about good and evil, the past and the future, and life and death, much of which is drawn out in simple dialog by Anton Chigurh, the stories frightening sociopathic hitman. Read this one. You won't be disappointed.
2 . Intense, graphic, disturbing
Posted February 02, 2010 by Ldev , FargoI think the title of this review says it all. That being said, I think this is an incredible, important story. It was very difficult to read. I have no desire to see a movie because Cormac McCarthy can paint a picture with words like no one I have ever read. And his discriptions are graphic, simple, and effective. He plays with language in a way that is captivating and at times difficult. There were times when the narrator was difficult to distinguish, but overall, while I couldn't recommend this to everyone, the book definitely had an impact and it was an interesting reflection of a different kind of war.
3 . Great -- Deserving of the praise it got
Posted January 10, 2010 by Anthony F , Branchburg, NJI loved this book and see why they decided to make it into a movie. Very deep yet enjoyable.
October 07, 2007
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Excerpt from No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
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.