No Country for Old Men (McCarthy)

Even after some years, it was hard to read this without picturing Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem (and that haircut!), Josh Brolin and even Woody Harrelson. The Coen Brothers just got this one right.

But I have to read some Cormac McCarthy every once in a while, and when Elmore Leonard died, I checked my shelves. When I didn’t see any Leonard, I decided that the time was right for this one.

I imagine McCarthy’s spartan style must annoy some, but I like it (21):

Where’d you get that pistol?

At the gettin place.

There’s just no better answer.

Bell, the sheriff, really becomes more central in the novel. He has regular internal monologues, and I think McCarthy is speaking through him. Something is changing, and neither Bell nor McCarthy seems to know what to make of it. From one of the monologues (295-296) –

These old people I talk to, if you could of told em that there would be people on the streets of our Texas towns with green hair and bones in their noses speakin a language they couldnt even understand, well, they just flat out wouldnt of believed you. But what if you’d of told em it was their own grandchildren? Well, all of that is signs and wonders but it dont tell you how it got that way.

“Signs and wonders.” I love that.

Bell and McCarthy want to know “[h]ow come people dont feel like this country has got a lot to answer for?” (271). We are, after all, “bein bought with our own money” (303).

I couldn’t agree more.

If you haven’t seen the movie, read this book. If you have, read the book anyway and then see the movie again.

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