Set in our own time
along the bloody frontier between Texas and Mexico, this is Cormac McCarthy's
first novel since Cities of the Plain completed his acclaimed,
best-selling Border Trilogy.
Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, instead finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and more than $2 million in cash. Packing the money out, he knows, will change everything. But only after two more men are murdered does a victim's burning car lead Sheriff Bell to the carnage out in the desert, and he soon realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. One party in the failed transaction hires an exSpecial Forces officer to defend his interests against a mesmerizing freelancer, while on either side are men accustomed to spectacular violence and mayhem. The pursuit stretches up and down and across the border, each participant seemingly determined to answer what one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?
A harrowing story of a war that society is waging on itself, and an enduring meditation on the ties of love and blood and duty that inform lives and shape destinies, No Country for Old Men is a novel of extraordinary resonance and power.
I sent one boy to the gas chamber 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 didn't have to go but I did. I sure didn't 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 wasn't 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 don't know what to make of that. I surely don't. I thought I'd never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin' if maybe he was some...
Most reviewers agree that No Country for Old Men is a "page-turner". They also agree that it's a simpler read than many of his previous books - but they disagree as to whether this is a good thing. The Washington Post reviewer feels that "McCarthy's language is stripped lean and mean here. In places, dialogue carries large sections of the story. His ear for speech, dialect and wordplay remains noteworthy in American letters. His descriptive passages are lucid and visual;" but the New York Times reviewer describes it as hokum and Library Journal conclude that it's a "made-for-television melodrama". Then again, Publishers Weekly conclude that it offers "a profound meditation on the battle between good and evil and the roles choice and chance plan in the shaping of a life", and Booklist gives it a starred review.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (504 words).
McCarthy was born in Rhode
Island in 1933 and spent most of
his childhood near Knoxville,
Tennessee. He served in the U.S.
Air Force and later studied at
the University of Tennessee. In
1976 he moved to El Paso, Texas,
where he lives today.
McCarthy's fiction parallels his movement from the Southeast to the Westthe first four novels being set in Tennessee, and his later novels set in the Southwest and Mexico. The Orchard Keeper (1965) won the Faulkner Award for a first novel; it was followed by ...
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