79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: No Country for Old Men (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.
I have to admit that I was completely caught off guard by what happened to Llewelyn Moss. It happens after a jump cut, and I kept thinking McCarthy was playing some kind of trick on the reader. No such luck. McCarthy is just as ruthless as Chigurh, the hit man. And there's another surprise in story when it comes time to resolve Sheriff Bell's story arc. You won't believe that one either.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2009 5:11:35 PM PDT
Lee Peoples says:
An excellent summation! I also give it five stars. The unconventional spelling and punctuation mimic the simple style in perhaps a "local color" fashion. To my recollection McCarthy does this with THE ROAD and ALL THE PRETTY HORSES. The ending was no surprise to me. It really was a proper resolution of the conflict. This had become "NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN." I expect Chigurh to be caught by younger crime fighters with the help of the information Sheriff Bell has supplied.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2010 11:33:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2010 11:34:40 AM PDT
Thivanka Rukshan Perera says:
What information? The two boys--the only two living witnesses who've actually seen the guy--give descriptions that could be 'anybody' according to the book. The only thing they got from the boys is Chigurh's gun, which showed up in a robbery in Louisiana after the boys sold it in the black market. What use is that after being handled by numerous people after the fact? I'm sure the FBI database has no records of Chigurh either, since he's a 'ghost'. Bell failed, he admitted his failure, up and retired. That's all there is to it.
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