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on 17 November 2017
I discovered McCarthy through the film of the same name and that took me to the book. What a discovery! The style of writing takes a little getting used to but his descriptive powers are immense and it only takes a few pages to get hooked.The deceptive simplicity of the writing reminded me of Hemingway and the violence he brings to some scenes is reminiscent of 'The Wild Bunch' or any Tarantino film. But unlike Tarantino( for me at least) you feel the violence is valid. Not a book for the squeamish.
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on 31 December 2012
The novel is structured around an extended chase which is triggered by the accidental acquisition of a large sum of drug money by Moss, one of the central characters. Moss is pursued by two hired gunmen - Chigurgh & Wells - & a careworn sheriff - Bell. The narrative is punctuated by the thoughts of the sheriff, as he tries to come to turns with his growing doubts about the validity of the moral code which has governed his life.
Bell & Chigurth represent the polarities of good & evil. Moss is a cypher for "everyman" - a normal, good-natured guy who is suddenly presented with limitless possibilities & their accompanying dangers.
The story is told in a stylised, spare prose. Character dialogue is often repetitive - presumably, characteristic of the dialogue of south Texan people - but every word is significant.
McCarthy is deeply concerned by what he sees as the ending of a way of life. Violence & greed undermine & corrode the morality of the "old West".
There is a funereal tone to much of the novel. It can be seen as a straightforward struggle between good & bad, & it is also possible to interpret the chase as a metaphor for the corruption & death brought about by drugs, greed & "big money".
I rate it as a classic for several reasons. Despite it's spare prose & laconic dialogue, it manages to address important themes in a clear & concise manner. It's characters are memorable. It evokes a sense of place. And it is a damn good read as well......
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on 30 December 2010
Written in McCarthy's typically spare, cinematographic prose NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a compelling story depicting how fate is often shaped beyond our control. Moss looks upon his unexpected situation through a haze of greed, resignation, and conflicted feelings about the direction his life's taking. Chigurh pursues Moss with clinical calm and unwavering belief that his actions are preordained and unavoidable. And sheriff Bell looks for clues in his past as he tries to find a way to face a new world that produces such calculating killers. There's an almost manic meticulousness to the way McCarthy describes the preparations for violence, the violence itself, and the consequences. We're treated to blow-by-blow accounts of the mayhem and how the walking wounded medicate themselves in the aftermath. Although it might be argued that the characters are rather stereotypical and the plot a little over-boiled, McCarthy manages to keep the pages flying by while still providing some moving and wistful musings on the inevitabilities of our existence.
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on 20 July 2012
Cormac McCarthy has been a favourite author of mine ever since I read the brilliant 'Child of God' and although I love his works, once I have read one, it takes me a while to get onto the next one. His novels are so heavy and deep in tone that it takes a couple of lighter books to get you ready for another round with Cormac and the west that he loves so much.

No Country For Old Men could probably be seen as a western, were it not for the magnificent literate approach that McCarthy gives to the novel. His words are unerringly succinct and accurate and he can take you to a place you could never have imagined going in your wildest dreams in one simple sentence, a sentence that can conjure up happiness, sadness, madness and grotesqueness.

We meet our hero if you like, Llewelyn Moss, as he hunts antelope and stumbles upon a drug deal gone horribly wrong. He finds a case filled with millions of dollars, and faces the moral decision - take it, or leave it. His choice has repercussions that echo through the lives of many people, and a lot of people die because of his decision. He is a careful, thoughtful man who knows he is being hunted, and does his best to evade the man, Chigurh, who is an unstoppable killing machine. He can take a beating, and a lot more, and shrug it off like we might shrug off a stubbed toe.

Then there is Sheriff Bell, the voice of reason that stands between these two men, this picture of good and evil. We hear from his perspective oftentimes and we learn a lot about who we are, what we do, and the reasons we do it through him. He is the one that answers those huge unanswerable questions about life and God and the Devil and the nature of good and evil.

The ending isn't what you would expect - or it might be, depending on who you are.

No matter what, this is a lean, taut novel that rushes on from the first pages and doesn't give up until the last. I cannot recommend this novel enough.
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on 6 June 2016
Highly recommended by a trusted friend. I read it eagerly; expecting a new insight, but found myself wading through the same old hokum. And so trusting my friend; I read it again the next day; more closely. But no; I could not discover anything beyond the same old hokum. I appreciate the author's effort and good intentions. But I am unable to detect anything to match the publisher's blurb.
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on 5 January 2014
The interchange between the sheriff, the hero and the killer can only be described as McCarty at is best. The sheriffis coming to terms with his past and realising the world is changing makes this one of the most thought provoking novels to the decade. Also see the film and if you don't want to sleep for weeks read "The Road
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on 18 August 2013
A Cormac classic set in the modern wild west, it is his usual beautiful combination of astute and uncompromising descriptions set amidst a stark and hard reality. His grasp of dialogue both through interactions and soliloquy is masterful and flows with a realism to match the harsh and unforgiving backdrop.
Addressing our complex and changing moral standards its poetic depiction of one man's madness, another's resilience and another's struggle to accept a changing world provide ample opportunity for us to find a little more out about ourselves as we follow the tale.
Bleak and beautiful.
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on 27 October 2013
I'd already seen the film twice and thought it was excellent (Coen brothers, so why wouldn't it be?)

Recently I acquired my Kindle Paper White, and had been trying to amass a few books ready to read. I wanted them to be in a variety of styles, and whilst talking to my brother in New Zealand, he mentioned that he had read the book and whilst already knowing what happens he assured me that it did not detract in any way from the enjoyment of the book, as it is so well written.

I basically could not put it down, always an excellent review for a book, I think. So more Cormac McCarty on the cards for me !!!
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on 30 November 2017
not read it yet but if it half as good as the film i'm in for a treat..
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on 8 December 2016
Well written and constructed novel which adds much to the excellent film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem.
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