Saturday, March 22, 2008

No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

This book is basically: No Country for Old Men tells the story of a drug deal gone wrong and the ensuing cat-and-mouse drama, as three men crisscross each other's paths in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas.

I've had the movie for about a week and felt that I really needed to read the book first. Luckily, my friend had it and loaned it to me.

I've read The Road and was dumbfounded by the bleakness of it. No Country for Old Men dumbfounds me with the violence. Admittedly, the very first chapter made me a little ill, but I kept going because, ill or not, I was sucked in.

One thing about this book: I normally read straight through, meaning I don't go back and re-read bits and pieces. The only books I've ever kept going back to re-read chapters was Middlesex and The Road. And now this. I was constantly going backwards to re-read. It was very very well-written and so full of meaning, that I had to go back to appreciate what I had just read!

There are really only 3 real characters in this book: Moss, Bell and Chigurh. Bell is the sheriff of a small Texan town. Moss is the man who finds bodies and money in the desert and decides to take the money but leave the bodies. Chigurh is just evil incarnate. And he wants the money. Personally, while other characters are mentioned and mostly fleshed out, they don't matter. It all boiled down to Moss, running for his life, being chased by Chigurh, who in turn is being tracked down by Bell.

I don't want to give anything away about the outcomes of the 3 characters so, generically, I'll say:

The amount of evil is frightening. The amount of evil contained in Chigurh makes me desperately hope that no one in real life is like this (although I know there are).

The calmness and tenacity of Bell was admirable. Until you get his backstory and then, you understand where he was coming from but wonder how admirable he really is.

Moss. Dammit man, why did you take the money???

At one point, I was angry enough with the turn of events to put the book down for the night and not get back to it til the next day. As in life, this isn't a pretty ending. It's not wrapped up neatly with a bow. Really, it's not wrapped up at all.

I'm still angry with the outcome but then, that's when you know the book is pretty dang good, isn't it? When it ignites you for days after you've put it down.

Can't wait to see the movie now :)
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