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No Country for Old Men (Vintage International) [Kindle Edition]

Cormac McCarthy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (660 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $8.79
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, distinguished by the award-winning All the Pretty Horses (1992), contains dark Westerns set against beautiful, bleak landscapes. His newest novel updates his character-driven plots and themes of violence and moral ambiguity. Perhaps the true sign of a master is one whose work raises debate—and this is what No Country has done. Most critics praised McCarthy’s clean, simple prose, though a few thought it too spare for such a graceful stylist. ("The man looked at Chigurh’s eyes for the first time. Blue as lapis. At once glistening and opaque. Like wet stones.") Compelling characters (even women) abound, but Sheriff Bell came off as either smart or too long winded. Finally, the violence seemed gratuitous to some. Even if No Country may be a more minor McCarthy novel, it’s still a terrifying page-turner in the vein of the Trilogy.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
178 of 190 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Cormac McCarthy's first novel since completing the Border Trilogy in 1998 is a dramatic change of pace. Gone is the focus on the wild Texas plains and the encroachment of civilization. Gone are the lyrical descriptions of untamed nature and young love. Gone is the belief that love and hope have a fighting chance in life's mythic struggles. Instead, we have a much darker, more pessimistic vision, set in Texas in the 1980s, a microcosm in which drugs and violence have so changed "civilization" that the local sheriff believes "we're looking at something we really aint even seen before."

Forty-five-year-old Sheriff Ed Tom Bell must deal with the growing amorality affecting his small border town as a result of the drug trade. The old "rules" do not apply, and Bell faces a wave of violence involving at least ten murders. Running parallel with Bell's investigation of these murders is the story of Llewelyn Moss, a resident of Bell's town, who, while hunting in the countryside, has uncovered a bloody massacre and a truck containing a huge shipment of heroin. He has also discovered and stolen a case containing two million dollars of drug money, which results in his frantic run from hired hitmen. Hunting Moss is Anton Chigurh, a sociopathic cartel avenger, a Satan who will stop at nothing, the antithesis of the thoughtful and kindly Bell. A rival hitman named Wells is, in turn, stalking Chigurh.

By far McCarthy's most exciting and suspenseful novel in recent years, the story speeds along, the body count rising in shocking scenes of depravity.
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83 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Cats! August 10, 2005
Format:Hardcover
If you like your conflicts fully resolved, you may want to look elsewhere; if you're bothered by unconventional punctuation, you may be irritated by this book; if you despise jump cuts and point of view shifts, you may find yourself rereading sections of this book to catch your bearings. Otherwise, however, you may find this one of the most original books you've read in years.

The story begins when Llewelyn Moss stumbles across the aftermath of a drug shootout while out antelope hunting. He follows a trail out into the desert at the end of which he finds a dead man and 2.4 million dollars. What he doesn't find (until it's too late) is the bug hidden in the money. Soon he has a dauntless hit man on his tail. The bodies pile up like cord wood. This part of the story is pretty conventional. Llewelyn Moss is likable and smart. He seems to anticipate the killer's every move, until he meets a fourteen-year-old, female hitchhiker, who proves to be too much of a distraction.

About two-thirds of the way through the book, the focus switches from Llewelyn to Sheriff Bell, who's trying to save Llewelyn from himself. There's more quirky point of view stuff going on here as McCarthy has Bell tell us what he's thinking in first person, then switches immediately to third, still using Bell as a focus. Bell philosophizes about how he's never seen criminals quite as bad as these drug pushers. He never really believed in Satan until confronted with these people. McCarthy does like to preach occasionally and Bell is a willing stand-in; he indicts not only the drug pushers, but also the people who buy them, and he also seems to hint at some kind of organized crime syndicate that is intentionally chipping away at the American character, hence the title NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literature at its best July 26, 2005
Format:Hardcover
There's so much to this novel that any review or description will fail to do it justice. McCarthy does many things with near perfection: dialogue (oh! his dialogue!), suffering, the American West, doom, beauty, humor, and violence, to name only a handful. All of these familiar, essential McCarthy elements are present here, but this is a different kind of book than McCarthy has written before.

"No Country for Old Men" is a thriller but it resists so many of the temptations and cliches of popular thrillers. It is gritty and violent, without reveling in its violence; its bad guy is chillingly evil without being boastfully so; and Sheriff Bell is the right combination of admirable guy and flawed hero. It is also quicker and easier to read than McCarthy's previous novels, but to read it superficially would be a mistake, as you'll miss so many powerful literary allusions that dot the landscape. Even though you know how this novel is going to end (more or less), McCarthy keeps you engaged with taut writing and mesmerizing prose. Not many writers have that ability.

Cormac McCarthy isn't for everyone, with his disdain for quotation marks and apostrophes, the improper (but true to life) grammar that invades characters' speech, and the affinity he has for creating compoundwords. He gives few introductions to his characters and their circumstances, leaving much for the reader to deduce alone--quite a change from typical dumbed-down fiction.

I think the best parts of McCarthy's books are the endings. Things don't fall perfectly into place and there's a lot of room for interpretation. I much prefer this to force-fed, off-into-the-sunset conclusions that are so appealing to writers. I wonder what those who complained so heatedly about it were expecting?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars No Country for Most People
No Country for Old Men is a well written book that perhaps is overly philosophical. I think at some point the book ceased to be in a style of realism because of this. Read more
Published 3 days ago by bravhat1234
5.0 out of 5 stars McCarthy is the best author since Larry McMurtry
If you like reading about the dark side of the human endeavour, then this book is for you. More riveting than the movie, it keeps you turning pages while your chores stack up and... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't quite get the hype here
I know I may be in the minority, but I've never been able to get into this guy's books as much as most readers seem to. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Simon Plaster
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard and gritty
I like the straightforward writing style. Not a common style and author makes it work well. Especially good if read before you see the movie.
Published 18 days ago by Beth A. Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I enjoyed every page. Saw the movie several years ago and enjoyed the book even more. The old sheriff's thoughts give the reader plenty to consider about life and what our modern... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jeffrey P Lisenby
5.0 out of 5 stars a good summer read
It's been a while since I've run across a book that entertains and enlightens you. It's a glimpse of a world view that may no longer exist, but still defines us.
Published 1 month ago by Roger
5.0 out of 5 stars Unpredictable
I had the pleasure of watching the Coen brothers' rendition of this book before reading it. I usually do it the other way around but I'm kind of glad that I did it in that order... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jason Salmon
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but Dark
Its dark. Its heavy. Its not a very happy tale.

But then, you were probably expecting that. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Prose Popped My Nose
If I ever decide to sneeze sawdust and spit nails, I might just have to change my name to Anton Chigurh and move my wife to the Texas-Mexico border. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Downs
5.0 out of 5 stars Supremely well written
One of those books you finish and you want to read again. I had seen the movie before I read this book. It doesn't hurt the read at all. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brett Grossmann
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More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a traveling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published by Random House in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published by Knopf in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, Knopf released the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing; the third volume, Cities of the Plain, was published in 1998.McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago and published in paperback by Vintage Books. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

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What Happened to the Punctuation??
It was my first McCarthy novel too, and I'm No insider as you put it.I was raised in Texas, a while ago,now. There is, or maybe was a manner of speech in West Texas, especially men's speech that is flat, without wide intonation,and understated. Outsiders sometimes took that manner of speaking and... Read More
Dec 17, 2007 by dec |  See all 16 posts
1980 ?!?
It does clear up the confusion -- the film is definitely set in 1980, and in the scene in question, the Coen Bros. have him pick up a land line phone, not a cell phone. Looks like they caught McCarthy's mistake, too.
Nov 19, 2007 by Adam Cooper |  See all 28 posts
Plot Clarification
A. Smith:

In the film, Moss tells his wife to go to El Paso. However, in the novel, he just tells her that she and her mother need to leave Odessa. I don't have the book in front of me right now, but I went back and checked before I made my post on here a while back. For some reason that really... Read More
Dec 2, 2007 by Hunter Ratliff |  See all 48 posts
The Barracuda
Warning: Spoilers in this message so don't read on if you haven't finished the book ...

I got a little confused, too, with the Barracuda since McCarthy chose to write all the action in non-linear sequence. But here's the logical thread I worked out till I re-read the book: Two Mexican... Read More
Aug 16, 2006 by Mr. Tuvalu |  See all 19 posts
Some clarification please
I'm still struggling with this aspect of the plot. Was the beacon switched off in between time? If not why the significance of Chiguhr noticing it again and why go back the Eagle Pass? And how would he know that Wells was there?

I've reread this section a few times and despite nearly having... Read More
Jan 29, 2009 by Richard Wiseman |  See all 3 posts
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