No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men

by Cormac McCarthy

Paperback(Vintage International Edition)

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375706677
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/11/2006
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Vintage International Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 24,835
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy is the author of eight previous novels, and among his honors are the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Read an Excerpt

I 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. The deputy left Chigurh standing in the corner of the office with his hands cuffed behind him while he sat in the swivelchair and took off his hat and put his feet up and called Lamar on the mobile. Just walked in the door. Sheriff he had some sort of thing on him like one of them oxygen tanks for emphysema or whatever. Then he had a hose that run down the inside of his sleeve and went to one of them stunguns like they use at the slaughterhouse. Yessir. Well that’s what it looks like. You can see it when you get in. Yessir. I got it covered. Yessir. When he stood up out of the chair he swung the keys off his belt and opened the locked desk drawer to get the keys to the jail. He was slightly bent over when Chigurh squatted and scooted his manacled hands beneath him to the back of his knees. In the same motion he sat and rocked backward and passed the chain under his feet and then stood instantly and effortlessly. If it looked like a thing he’d practiced many times it was. He dropped his cuffed hands over the deputy’s head and leaped into the air and slammed both knees against the back of the deputy’s neck and hauled back on the chain. They went to the floor. The deputy was trying to get his hands inside the chain but he could not. Chigurh lay there pulling back on the bracelets with his knees between his arms and his face averted. The deputy was flailing wildly and he’d begun to walk sideways over the floor in a circle, kicking over the wastebasket, kicking the chair across the room. He kicked shut the door and he wrapped the throwrug in a wad about them. He was gurgling and bleeding from the mouth. He was strangling on his own blood. Chigurh only hauled the harder. The nickelplated cuffs bit to the bone. The deputy’s right carotid artery burst and a jet of blood shot across the room and hit the wall and ran down it. The deputy’s legs slowed and then stopped. He lay jerking. Then he stopped moving altogether. Chigurh lay breathing quietly, holding him. When he got up he took the keys from the deputy’s belt and released himself and put the deputy’s revolver in the waistband of his trousers and went into the bathroom. He ran cold water over his wrists until they stopped bleeding and he tore strips from a handtowel with his teeth and wrapped his wrists and went back into the office. He sat on the desk and fastened the toweling with tape from a dispenser, studying the dead man gaping up from the floor. When he was done he got the deputy’s wallet out of his pocket and took the money and put it in the pocket of his shirt and dropped the wallet to the floor. Then he picked up his airtank and the stungun and walked out the door and got into the deputy’s car and started the engine and backed around and pulled out and headed up the road. On the interstate he picked out a late model Ford sedan with a single driver and turned on the lights and hit the siren briefly. The car pulled onto the shoulder. Chigurh pulled in behind him and shut off the engine and slung the tank across his shoulder and stepped out. The man was watching him in the rearview mirror as he walked up. What’s the problem, officer? he said. Sir would you mind stepping out of the vehicle? The man opened the door and stepped out. What’s this about? he said. Would you step away from the vehicle please. The man stepped away from the vehicle. Chigurh could see the doubt come into his eyes at this bloodstained figure before him but it came too late. He placed his hand on the man’s head like a faith healer. The pneumatic hiss and click of the plunger sounded like a door closing. The man slid soundlessly to the ground, a round hole in his forehead from which the blood bubbled and ran down into his eyes carrying with it his slowly uncoupling world visible to see. Chigurh wiped his hand with his handkerchief. I just didnt want you to get blood on the car, he said. Moss sat with the heels of his boots dug into the volcanic gravel of the ridge and glassed the desert below him with a pair of twelve power german binoculars. His hat pushed back on his head. Elbows propped on his knees. The rifle strapped over his shoulder with a harnessleather sling was a heavybarreled .270 on a ’98 Mauser action with a laminated stock of maple and walnut. It carried a Unertl telescopic sight of the same power as the binoculars. The antelope were a little under a mile away. The sun was up less than an hour and the shadow of the ridge and the datilla and the rocks fell far out across the floodplain below him. Somewhere out there was the shadow of Moss himself. He lowered the binoculars and sat studying the land. Far to the south the raw mountains of Mexico. The breaks of the river. To the west the baked terracotta terrain of the run- ning borderlands. He spat dryly and wiped his mouth on the shoulder of his cotton workshirt. The rifle would shoot half minute of angle groups. Five inch groups at one thousand yards. The spot he’d picked to shoot from lay just below a long talus of lava scree and it would put him well within that distance. Except that it would take the better part of an hour to get there and the antelope were grazing away from him. The best he could say about any of it was that there was no wind. When he got to the foot of the talus he raised himself slowly and looked for the antelope. They’d not moved far from where he last saw them but the shot was still a good seven hundred yards. He studied the animals through the binoculars. In the compressed air motes and heat distortion. A low haze of shimmering dust and pollen. There was no other cover and there wasnt going to be any other shot. He wallowed down in the scree and pulled off one boot and laid it over the rocks and lowered the forearm of the rifle down into the leather and pushed off the safety with his thumb and sighted through the scope. They stood with their heads up, all of them, looking at him. Damn, he whispered. The sun was behind him so they couldnt very well have seen light reflect off the glass of the scope. They had just flat seen him. The rifle had a Canjar trigger set to nine ounces and he pulled the rifle and the boot toward him with great care and sighted again and jacked the crosshairs slightly up the back of the animal standing most broadly to him. He knew the exact drop of the bullet in hundred yard increments. It was the distance that was uncertain. He laid his finger in the curve of the trigger. The boar’s tooth he wore on a gold chain spooled onto the rocks inside his elbow.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Profoundly disturbing and gorgeously renderedÉ. The most accessible of all his works.” –Washington Post

“A narrative that rips along like hell on wheels [in a] race with the devil [on] a stage as big as Texas.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Expertly staged and pitilessly lightedÉ. It feels like a genuine diagnosis of the postmillennial malady, a scary illumination of the oncoming darkness.” –Time

“A cause for celebrationÉ. He is nothing less than our greatest living writer, and this is a novel that must be read and remembered.” –Houston Chronicle

Reading Group Guide

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Profoundly disturbing and gorgeously rendered. . . . The most accessible of all his works.” —The Washington Post

The introduction, discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and author biography that follow are designed to stimulate your group’s discussion of No Country for Old Men, the first novel by acclaimed author Cormac McCarthy since the completion of his award-winning and bestselling Border Trilogy.

1. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats’s poem “Sailing to Byzantium”: “That is no country for old men, the young / In one another’s arms, birds in the trees, / —Those dying generations—at their song.” The poem also contains the lines: “An aged man is but a paltry thing, / A tattered coat upon a stick, / Unless soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress.” Why has McCarthy chosen a line from Yeats’ poem for his title? In what ways is No Country for Old Men about aging? Does Sheriff Bell experience any kind of spiritual rejuvenation as he ages?

2. McCarthy has a distinctive prose style—pared down, direct, colloquial—and he relies on terse, clipped dialogue rather than narrative exposition to move his story along. Why is this style so powerful and so well-suited to the story he tells in No Country for Old Men?

3. Early in the novel, after Bell surveys the carnage in the desert, he tells Lamar: “I just have this feelin we’re looking at something we really aint never even seen before” [p. 46]. In what way is the violence Sheriff Bell encounters different than what has come before? Is Anton Chigurh a new kind of killer? Is he a “true and living prophet of destruction,” [p. 4] as Bell thinks? In what ways does he challenge Bell’s worldview and values?

4. After Llewelyn finds the money and comes home, he decides to go back to the scene of the crime. He tells his wife: “I’m fixin to go do somethin dumbern hell but I’m goin anways” [p. 24]. Why does he go back, even though he knows it is a foolish and dangerous thing to do? What are the consequences of this decision?

5. When asked about the rise in crime in his county, Bell says that “It starts when you begin to overlook bad manners. Any time you quit hearin Sir and Mam the end is pretty much in sight” [p. 304]. Is he right about this? Why would deteriorating manners signal a larger social chaos?

6. How can Anton Chigurh’s behavior be explained? What motivates him to kill so methodically and heartlessly? How does he regard the people he kills?

7. Llewellyn tells the young woman he picks up hitchhiking: “Things happen to you they happen. They don’t ask first. They dont require your permission” [p. 220]. Have things simply happened to Llewellyn or does he play a more active role in his fate? Does his life in fact seem fated?

8. What motivates Sheriff Bell? Why does he feel so protective of Llewellyn and his wife? In what ways does Sheriff Bell’s past, particularly his war experience, affect his actions in the present?

9. McCarthy will often tell the reader that one of his characters is “thinking things over” without revealing what the character is thinking about [see p. 107]. Most novelists describe in great detail what their characters are thinking and feeling. Why does McCarthy choose not to do this? What does he gain by leaving such information out?

10. Sheriff Bell says, “The stories gets passed on and the truth gets passed over. . . . Which I reckon some would take as meanin the truth cant compete. But I don’t believe that. I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. . . . You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt” [p. 123]. What incorruptible truths emerge from the story that McCarthy tells in No Country for Old Men?

11. In the italicized sections of the novel, Sheriff Bell reflects on what he feels is the moral decline and growing violence of the world around him. What is the moral code that Bell lives by? What are his strongest beliefs? How has he acquired these beliefs?

12. Jeffery Lent, writing in The Washington Post Book World, described No Country for Old Men as “profoundly disturbing” [“Blood Money,” The Washington Post Book World, July 17, 2005]. What is it about the story that McCarthy tells and the way he tells it that is so unsettling?

13. Near the end of the novel, Bell says: “I think we are all of us ill prepared for what is to come and I dont care what shape it takes” [p. 295]. What kind of future is Bell imagining? Why does he think we are not ready for it? How can No Country for Old Men be understood as an apocalyptic novel?

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No Country for Old Men 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 302 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gory, Intense, Engrossing, and Beautiful. Those are the first words coming to mind when I hear No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. This novel is near perfect. Cormac’s unique writing style suits the book entirely well and does the story itself justice. Aside from the superb writing, the story is entrancing and entertaining. The non-stop action and bizarre protagonists can keep even the smallest attention span intrigued. Lleweyn Moss finds millions of dollars in the desert and decides to keep it for himself. Little does he know that the most brilliant hit man in the entire south is right on his tail. Moss tries to keep his wife and the money safe at the same time, although has trouble juggling the two. We find Moss often times trying to find unique contortions and contraptions to hide the money but this brutal hit man isn’t falling for any of it, killing almost everyone he comes in contact with in order to obtain his prize. Alongside This hit man is the entire Mexican drug cartel, striving to conceive this case of money. Moss has a run in with all of these people and continues to survive these intense scuffles but when he realizes he has to leave the sate is when he also realizes that his luck may be running out. Detective Bell, a long time Sherriff in a small county in Texas is on these men’s tail also trying to get to the bottom of all the murders and guns fired in his once small, peaceful community. A true tail of cat and mouse that will have you biting your nails to the last flip of the page. Get ready for some late nights because it will be very hard for you to put down this book until you have turned all 350 pages of this seemingly easy read. 5 stars. Fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was a little odd but really a fun read. McCarthy has such a unique writing style that challenges the reader but also adds to this short novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure this book isn't the typical book we are acustomed to reading. By that I refer to the style it is written and the way it speaks to you. Cormac does an excellent job at throwing you into a unknown world and making you believe it exists. I watched the film adaption of the book first and when i heard there was a book to it I bought it as soon as possible. Because as we all know film adaptions tend to skim on things. To my surprise the book was alot like the film minus the character development and more filling details the film did not provide. Plus the different ending. Interesting story to say the least.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you enjoy suspense? What about gunfighting? What about the desert? If you answered yes, then No Country for Old Men is definately for you! Cormac McCarthy uses detailed words and descriptive verbs to make you feel as if you are right there, first-handedly witnessing every event. The story realistically portrays the happenings of an extremely murderous fugitive and a wandering cowboy with a suitcase full of cash. McCarthy uses his words and imagery to paint lush landscapes and many crafty techniques to paint crafty pictures of the small Washington town in which the story takes place. The suspense of the novel comes from the seclusive nature of the events; You know something extreme could happen at any minute, but it stays unclear as to exactly when or how it may happen. This factor drew me to the novel greatly. The novel is unlike any other, in that it switches between two stories: One of the fugitive, and the other of the cowboy. It shows the paths they take, as those paths cross, one ends, and the other carries on. There are many unexpected events, such as suprise shootouts, random input from the sheriff on the hunt for the fugitive, and personal dilemnas, all leading up to an abrupt ending that will leave you completely and totally breathless. No Country For Old Men is a great story for any reader who loves action, suspense, vivid scenery, and much more. Cormac McCarthy has done great work in this novel, and I would highly recommend it to any reader who fits in any age group between young adult and elder. This is an exceptional piece of writing, and if I were you, I wouldn't hesitate to dig into it!
doggiebeachbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't enjoy it, although I appreciated McCarthy's premise for the novel and wish he had built his story in a more believable manner. I didn't find Chigurgh to instill any real feeling of "fear', his charachter just wasn't built up enough, not enough "mood" or description. he just seemed like a cardboard character- The representations of evil in a Steven King's "It" by far imparted a representation of evil embodied. I found him almost likable, and thought the passage of banter between Chigurh and the gas station owner brilliant, the best in the novel. Chigurh's contemp for the robotic, repeating answers was evident.I also didn't care for the stab at "Texan" vernacular- I highlighted several passages of Bell, which I felt could not be thoughts of the same charachter- sometimes he sounded like a "boy from the hood" and other times like a deep, philosophical thinker with a classical education ( ok, those passages were few and far between). I also found a few passages with phrases uttered by Bell, "That's all I got to say about that", very Forrest Gumpesque...Little things were irritating, like why didn't Moss and Carla Jean just leve together on Sunday for New York on a plane or something? How did Chugarh get up to the "secure" office accessible only by a 'code"...if there were stairs that he climbed, according to the novel, well, anyone could have accessed the office, but Wells was told the only way in was with a code, that changed with each access.I plan to read "The Road" and further think on McCarthy.
michaeldwebb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this after being completely blown away by 'The Road', but this didn't really do it for me - it took me ages to finish, even though it's pretty short. Haven't really got much to say about it really - it was pretty macho sort of book, not really my cup of tea.
tronella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Picked this up for a book club. The front cover of my copy has a quote saying something about how "vibrant" the prose is. I have to say that this is the last word I would ever choose for a book full of "he did this and then he did that and then he did nothing for five seconds and then he went over there". The story was engaging and I enjoyed the Sheriff's character particularly, but really, the writing style did put me off. The lack of punctuation also bugged me. I mean, I guess I can go with not using apostrophes as a stylistic choice saying something about the characters, but what is up with not using any speechmarks? It just makes it unnecessarily hard to read.Apparently this story made a good film which stuck close to the book. Indeed, there were parts of the book where I thought "this would make a good scene in a film". Unfortunately it didn't make a good paragraph in a book. I don't think I'll watch the film, either, due to the level of violence it undoubtedly contains.
jepeters333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Llewelyn Moss is hunting antelope near the Texas/Mexico border when he stumbles upon several dead men, a big stash of heroin, and more than two million dollars in cash. He takes off with the money - and the hunter becomes the hunted. A drug cartel hires a former Special Forces agent to track down the loot, and a ruthless killer joins the chase as well. Also looking for Moss is the aging Sheriff Bell, a World War II veteran who may be Moss' only hope for survival. Great narrator (Tom Stechschulte), and a great story but I didn't like the ending - it's also very violent.
Storeetllr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just today, I read someone's review of The Road. They said something along the lines that they hated it because it was one of the most depressing books they'd ever read and it left them with no hope. Well, The Road has nothing on this one. Talk about hopeless. Of course, the writing was excellent, and the story itself, if you didn't mind the fact that ***SPOILER AHEAD, SO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE THE ENDING SPOILED FOR YOU, STOP READING NOW!!!!!***so many characters I really cared about are murdered and the murderer is never actually caught ~ which I did mind, a lot, almost enough to stop reading it ~ then this is a brilliant novel. Just not quite as brilliant as The Road.
WillyMammoth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ostensibly, "No Country for Old Men" is the story of a young welder and Vietnam veteran named Llewellyn Moss who in 1980 stumbles upon the scene of a drug deal gone horrible wrong out in the middle of the southern Texas desert. There he finds a satchel full $2.2M in large bills and takes it for himself. The rest of the novel follows Llewellyn and his wife Carla Jean's flight from all the nefarious parties (as well as local Sheriff Ed Tom Bell) who are trying to reclaim the ill-gotten goods. On the surface it sounds like a typical crime caper--but appearances can be deceiving.The theft of the money, the shoot-outs, all of it is window dressing compared to the real object of McCarthy's interest: the country itself. As the title of the novel would suggest, it's a hard, unforgiving land that the characters inhabit. It affects them, it molds them, and eventually--if they are not up to the task--it kills them. To be sure, it is men who do the actual killing, who pull the trigger and send their fellow man off to meet their maker, but the underlying idea is that the land itself has some sort of effect that drives men to do it. What happens to the characters is not as important--as is evidenced in how McCarthy treats Moss's eventual end.McCarthy gives great attention to descriptions of the hard-scrabble life, the bleak wind-swept deserts and rocky hills. Much of his most vivid prose is reserved for such descriptions as well as those of the men who reside in the land. Like his setting, his style and diction is dry and hard. There are no wasted words. Every sentence is bleak, bleached by the sun and pain and utterly devoid of emotion. All this combines into a visceral tale that punches you in the gut with its brutal honesty and indifference for human life--just like the land the author seeks to portray.Themes of fate are also explored in the book. One of the novel's protagonists (and Llewellyn's primary antagonist), Anton Chigurh, sees himself as an instrument of fate, rendering the deaths of those who have been destined to die. He even uses the toss of a coin to determine some victims' fate. Llewellyn himself says from the outset that stealing the money is a bad idea and that he'll pay for it with his life, but despite that knowledge, does it anyway. Several times Carla Jean cries that she knew "no good would come of this." But despite what all the character seem to know and understand, they are powerless (Chiguhr doesn't even try) to stop events as they unfold toward their fated conclusion.Is all this fate an outgrowth of the land's effect on its people? Or is it the characters' way of justifying their own impotence in the face of conspiring events? To tell you the truth, I don't know. Either would certainly fit the novel's over-arching theme, but McCarthy doesn't blatantly tell us why things are the way they are, they simply *are*. As the book nears its completion, the narrative shifts more and more until the primary focus is Sheriff Bell--an older man who, in the wake of Chiguhr's killing spree and Moss's demise, can no longer handle the pressures of his job and resigns. This act reinforces the message behind the novel's title, but one scene subsequent to that struck me especially. Bell visits his Elderly Uncle, and they discuss their family history and the history of their little slice of the Mexican-American border especially. The general idea of the history lesson is that men--many of their family members--have been fighting and dying over that barren stretch of land for decades. It may be because a hard land does something to men, or maybe it's because hard men are attracted to lawless, barren country. I don't know, and I don't think McCarthy does either. But the effect is there, and McCarthy portrays it with a grim beauty that few writers can match.I gave the novel five stars. I enjoyed it that much. But reader beware, if you go into the novel thinking that it's going to be your typical read (given
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The writing in No Country for Old Men is as sparse as the Texas desert where the story unfolds. What really makes this a worthwhile read, however, is that Cormac McCarthy tells the story through dialog. With the background stripped of all nonessentials, the dialog shines through.To give you an idea of how sparse the description in this work is, McCarthy creates one of the nastiest killers ever put on a page. You will absolutely loathe this person. Yet all we know about him, other than the name Anton Chigur, is he has blue eyes and dark hair. This fits, because this psychopathic killer is all but invisible to law enforcement.While there is a lot of action in this novel, much of it bloody, the real attraction is the dialog. Most of these involve Chigur and his victims. Other shining examples of dialog are the sparse exchanges between other pairs of characters. As I said, everything about this novel is sparse. Even in scenes, it is rare to find more than three characters involved and two is the norm.Despite the sparse writing, the story is a very full tale. The sheriff's speeches become a little boring towards the end of the book, but it fits his character. At that point in the story he is losing his faith, faith in himself, faith in religion and faith in humanity. I won't spoil the ending, but it is different from the movie version and it is a very definite ending.The narrator for this audio version, Tom Stechschulte, is an excellent choice. He has just the right twang for his Texas characters to sound as if they are standing right in front of you while not sounding like a parody. The vocalizations for Chigur are almost devoid of emotion, just as you'd expect for such a cold-blooded killer. Excellent casting.Strongly suggested for desert rats, lovers of action / adventure and modern Western stories. If you are squeamish about blood scenes or get nightmares easily from what you read, you may want to bypass this story.
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another very well-written novel by McCarthy, who I've come to regard as one of my favorites. However, if you like neat & tidy endings, you may want to steer clear of this, & other, of his novels. In addition, this one's got plenty of in-your-face violence. I did the majority of this on audio, & in all honesty, Tom Stechschulte really makes this novel come alive (just as he did with McCarthy's "On the Road"), whereas the flow of the book is a little harder to follow when reading the book itself. As a book read, I think it would be good. As an audio, it's excellent. It doesn't have a neat & tidy ending, & some readers may have trouble with the rather abrupt transitions, especially near the end. I myself found this a little troubling, & that's why my rating isn't higher than it already is. I'm off to go rent the movie now!
goddamn_phony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crime thriller with lots of guns from McCarthy. More plot and characterisation; less metaphorical flourish. Middling level of raw violence. Highly readable, but it's no Blood Meridian. McCarthy seems to write best about men who have become beasts, and there are no such men in this novel. Chigurh is more of a robot, and I think his character had a greater impact in the film.
es135 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the buzz surrounding the 2007 film, I decided to read the novel before I surrendered to Hollywood. I loved this novel. Cormac McCarthy paints a clear picture of the barren Texas landscape and the horrors of the drug cartels. Even more amazing is the way in which he treats his characters. Each person, even the minor ones, seem like a real person who you could come across in your everyday life. The ending might not work for some readers, but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I liked:- McCarthy paints a picture of the country and the characters; the chapters early in the book are particularly good.- The "voice" of the characters, both endearing and real.- Musings on whether violence in man is "new", and other thoughs from the Sheriff directly in the chapters written from his perspective that are interspersed throught the book. He is far from incompetent, but is simplly overwhelemd and outmatched. His conversations with his old uncle at the end is great.- Stark and direct. McCarthy does not waste a single word and "brings it", but despite that is still able to develop interesting characters and philosophize.What I disliked:- It's certainly not a book for anyone who dislikes violence (or lack of punctuation :-)), the bodies quickly pile up as the story goes on.- Inexplicable behavior; the first of which is admitted as idiotic by the character ("I'm fixin to go do somethin dumbern hell but I'm goin anyways" ... also "There is no description of a fool, he said, that you fail to satisfy"), but the second of which is just baffling.Favorite quotes:"I thought I'd never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin if maybe he was some new kind.""I dont even want to know. I dont even want to know what all you been up to.He sipped the beer and nodded. That'll work, he said.I think it's better just to not even know even.You keep runnin that mouth and I'm going to take you back there and screw you.Big talk.Just keep it up.That's what she said.Just let me finish this beer. We'll see what she said and what she didnt say.""Where's your truck at?Gone the way of all flesh. Nothin's forever.""You think about a job where you have pretty much the same authority as God and there is no requirements put upon you and you are charged with preservin nonexistent laws and you tell me if that's peculiar or not. Because I say that is. Does it work? Yes. Ninety percent of the time. It takes very little to govern good people. Very little. And bad people cant be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it.""People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they dont deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things. I dont recall that I ever give the good Lord that much cause to smile on me. But he did.""Nineteen is old enough to know that if you have got somethin that means the world to you it's all that more likely it'll get took away. Sixteen was, for that matter. I think about that.Bell nodded. I aint a stranger to them thoughts, Carla Jean. Them thoughts is very familiar to me.""The people I know are mostly just common people. Common as dirt, as the sayin goes. I told her that and she looked at me funny. She thought I was sayin somethin bad about em, but of course that's a high compliment in my part of the world.""I think if you were Satan and you were settin around tryin to think up somethin that would ust bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics.""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.""I think by the time you've grown you're as happy as you're goin to be. You'll have good times and bad times, but in the end you'll be about as happy as you was before. Or as unhappy. I've knowed people that just never did get the hang of it.""You can be patriotic and still believe that some things cost more than they're worth. Ask them Gold Star mothers what they paid and what they got for it. You always pay too much. Particularly for promises.""You know that Gospel song? We'll understand it all by and by? That takes a lot of faith. You think about him goin over there and dyin in a ditch somewheres. Seventeen year old. You tell me. Because I damn sure dont know.""This country will kill you in a heartbeat and stil
quynies_mom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More enjoyable than the movie as you are actually doing something while you are reading. Provides a bit more details than the movie but not much. Synchronizing with the cadence of the author was difficult for the first third of the book.
samfsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is worth studying just to understand how McCarthy constructed it. Yes it is violent and hopeless, but it is also riveting and compelling.My understanding of the construction of the novel is that McCarthy took the novel apart, separated it into two parts, and put it back together. The compelling part is a linear telling of the story of the stolen money and the chase. In this part the writing is restricted to only what can be seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled ¿ the senses. There are no reflections by the characters, no feelings, no rhetorical questions, and no flashbacks. Essentially all of that has been removed and placed in the other part of the novel, in which the character of the Sheriff addresses the reader. There is no action in this part, only a discussion by the Sheriff in first person of his life as a sheriff and his feelings about what he has observed. The two parts alternate, with the Sheriffs first person musings in italics.It works, very well. Makes me want to try to imitate it.
upstairsgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
McCarthy's writing is as spare and dry as the empty, dusty 1980s Texas in which his story is set. The writing feels heavy, and deliberately flat in a way that's compelling instead of off-putting. It's a novel with a high body count and a lot of cold, coldly-described violence, and it's bleak and frightening and depressing, and yet it's really hard to put down. I can't say I *liked* it, as such, but it's an excellent, excellently-written story (even in spite of my general disdain for writers who can't shift themselves to follow the conventions of the English language, like, say, using quotation marks to indicate dialogue) and I'll probably read it again. Although some of the power definitely comes from the sudden, half-unexpected ending, it's the writing itself, the use of words and diction and dialect and the way in which something so spare can still be so clear (the lack of quotation marks is never once an impediment to understanding what's happening) that makes me think this book is brilliant, even though it's absolutely not the kind of book I usually like at all.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading this book, I could see why it must have made a magnificent movie- it reads like a cinematogepher's dream. That said, I wasn't a huge fan of the voice, the lack of punctuation, and the need to count lines of dialogue in places to figure out who was talking. The book is violent, the language spare, and after finishing it, I may just rent the movie after all.
Talbin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In No Country for Old Men, Lewellyn Moss discovers a grisly crime scene while hunting in the west Texas desert. All except one drug runner is dead, the last survivor barely alive, and there is a case full of wrapped $100 bills in a truck. Moss takes the money, which sets off a murderous chain of events. Anton Chirugh, a sociopath who lives by his own strict code of morals, sets out to find Moss and the money leaving a wide trail of bloodshed in his wake. Meanwhile, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, the sometime narrator of the story, tries to figure out what happened, not only at this crime scene, but in his own life and in the world.McCarthy's book is a morality tale - or a tale about the loss of morality in the world. Throughout No Country for Old Men, McCarthy weaves Sheriff Bell's internal monologue throughout a strict third-party telling of events. Bell firmly believes that society has turned a corner and that evil has been loosed on the world. In many ways, Chirugh is the embodiment of this evil - which is made even more sinister by the fact that Chirugh has no emotional investment in the killing he does: he does it because it's part of what he believes is the inevitability of the actions of the universe. As Chirugh tells Clara Jane, Moss's young wife, just before killing her, "I had no say in the matter. Every moment in your life is a turning and everyone a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased." Each person in the novel deals with a choice he or she made which inevitably, eventually leads them to the place they are in the novel. McCarthy has written a spare, bloody and ultimately moral novel - one that makes the reader think about choices made and the way life plays itself out. At the same time, the reader is also forced to think about evil in today's world and it's role in our everyday lives.
Neverwithoutabook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can see how this book would make a much better movie. I found the format difficult to follow. Sorry, but I like my punctuation marks. This book has minimal. I found it difficult to know who was talking. The story may be a good one...but I lost it along the way. I can't say I'd recommend the book, but there are some big names in the movie! Maybe I'll watch it.
SanctiSpiritus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My astounding first book from the virtuoso, Cormac McCarthy. The book is so interesting, and fast paced that the pages almost turn themselves. The violence is gripping. The characters well drawn, and interesting. The antagonist is well sculpted, and about the most demonic bad guy I have read on a written page. Bravo!
irisdovie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story chilled me. I had seen the movie and was not very impressed, but when I read the book I realized what a soulless creature Chigurh really is and how scary a person like that would be in real life...
wortklauberlein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A modern morality tale that sucks the reader in and doesn't let him go. Several veterans of foreign wars, each a very different man, are ensnared in a new war in southern Texas. The questionable morality of their own wartime experiences pales in comparison with the amoral hunter-stalker bent on not only retrieving a stolen shipment of heroin and the $2.2 million meant to pay for it but also on keeping his own balance sheet of lives taken and lives saved at the flip of a coin. Do the decisions small and large that we make along the way inexorably shape our fates?
Periodista on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow. Unputdownable, cinematic, violent, true and all the other accolades. You can see why the Coens grabbed it for a movie; there must have been quite a fight for the screen rights. Is there any physical description at all? The dialogue (and what a dialect!) carries everything. I bet there was little debate: the sheriff had to be Tommy Lee Jones.But it's Sheriff Bell's thoughts that should be the center of any book discussion. That's where the meaning of it all coalesces. I wish online book discussions worked because this is a book I'd like to talk about.