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No Country for Old Men (Vintage International) Paperback – October 9, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Barrett delivers a standout performance in an artful abridgement that captures the essence of McCarthy's classic. Set along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, the story follows the tragic and bloody adventures of Llewelyn Moss, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, and the sociopathic killer Anton Chigurh. When Moss makes off with millions of dollars of drug money, his life changes forever as both Bell and Chigurh pursue him, the latter leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake. Barrett's portrayal of Moss, Bell, and Chigurh are pitch perfect as are his renditions of the secondary characters and of the sheriff's first-person reminiscences interspersed throughout the novel. This audio book is a rare gem and a mandatory listening for McCarthy fans. A Knopf hardcover. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
McCarthys 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 debateand this is what No Country has done. Most critics praised McCarthys clean, simple prose, though a few thought it too spare for such a graceful stylist. ("The man looked at Chigurhs 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, its still a terrifying page-turner in the vein of the Trilogy.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
enjoyed the movie as the acting was great, action, and suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. What I found more interesting in the book was the more detailed time spent on the character s and the interaction between Bell and his wife. It is certainly true today that those of us that are older look back at a time when our country seemed more patriotic, simpler, and had more shared values in doing the RIGHT THING.
McCarthy's prose is more reigned in here. More like The Road, less like Blood Meridian and The Crossing. McCarthy uses landscape again, as a character, but this time it is more of the emptiness of the landscape than its promise. It is there but it leads on and on. To borders and other foreign places, where law can only contain itself within its own madeup boundaries and jurisdictions. It is flat and rolling at the same time. Seemingly made up of nothing. Something to cross to get to the next place.
Every character is principled, in their own distinct ways. Moss has taken this money, this opportunity, and he will stand by that decision. He won't take the easy way out or back down. He will follow it through till the end. He is loyal and capable yet headstrong. Chigurh is more than just his foil -- they are too similar. Chigurh has sociopathic tendencies, but he is driven by logic. If he makes a promise, he keeps that promise. He *has* to. And Bell is the reliable, wise old owl type. He has seen much, but he hasn't seen it all. He comes from an uncorrupted day, a time and place that he can't reconcile with the modern day, the modern way. What he sees as a *lack* of principles (or morals) in others, when taken from their perspective, it may be precisely the opposite.
These three characters dance a merry-go-round of locations and emotions. Bell (the hero) never even meets Chigurh (the villain). It's good meets bad--but not really. There is no succinct, clean resolution. You can't shut these pages and feel that everything has been tidied up.
And this is why he's Cormac McCarthy. And I love him so.
"You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday dont count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it's made out of. Nothin else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I dont know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who's layin there?" (227) -- Moss
"this country has got a strange kind of history and a damned bloody one too" (284) -- Bell
"I always thought when I got older that God would sort of come into my life in some way. He didnt. I dont blame him. If I was him I'd have the same opinion about me that he does." (267)
"You always pay too much. Particularly for promises. There aint no such thing as a bargain promise." (267)
The descriptions of the look and feel of those characters and a small slice of their world, the realistic approach to said characters, and that ending (I expected something a bit different I have to admit) have all ended up making this one of my favorite books.
"It's not about knowin where you are. It's about thinkin you got there without takin anything with you. Your notions about startin over. Or anybody's. You don't start over. That's what it's about. Ever step you take is forever. You cant make it go away. None of it."
I think that quote from this book sums up the entirely of it perfectly. The consequences of the decisions every character makes, whether intentional or not, good or bad or otherwise, are unavoidable. Things unfold the way they do because of every choice they make. Sounds simple enough, but I think that concept was developed wonderfully in this story.
Sure, not having the typical "good guys overcome" ending might frustrate some people, but like with McCarthy's "The Road" I find myself once again appreciating the honesty behind all of it.