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No Country for Old Men (Vintage International)

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Book Overview

From the bestselling author of The Passenger and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road comes a "profoundly disturbing and gorgeously rendered" novel (The Washington Post) that returns to the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Movie or book? Or which first?

While I have seen the movie many times before reading, it's hard to determine what would have been better first. The faces to the names allowed me to have better immersion but also because the movie does stick to most of the books, not much was a surprise or had me enticed as much as never having experienced the story at all. Good read and not that difficult makes this a should read for anyone with the question, what would you do if you found a million dollars? The price, the consequences, and the hardship that follows will have you thinking.

A must-read if you’ve watched the movie!

I found myself needing to read McCarthy’s book after seeing the movie. This book will not disappoint. Cormac McCarthy has a unique writing style that pulls you in. Being a huge fan of the movie, this book will actually have you coming away with a deeper knowledge of the unique characters. One thing I will recommend; be sure to read the italicized excerpts. If you read them carefully, you’ll not reap more information, but you’ll see that the information rings true to today’s day and age.

Virtue Takes a Holiday

This is an extraordinarily complex and nuanced novel masquerading as a shoot 'em up. Like other of McCarthy's stories, the novel is propelled by the reflexively violent nature of men operating outside social constraints. The particular millieu for this story is the drug trade, depicted as an evil force of nature that makes claims on the lives of all the characters. The dynamics of the story lead toward entropy. The central figure is a West Texas sheriff clinging to old concepts of honor, who must confront the facts of a case he cannot solve involving a merciless killer he can neither name nor understand. His inability to do his duty to the people of the county he is sworn to protect amplifies a lifelong sense of inadequacy and duplicity that is revealed through a continuing interior monologue. Without giving away any elements of the captivating and fast-moving plot, the message seems to be inescapably dark: evil is afoot in the world, and we lack the tools and the will to defeat it. Our only small victories come from love and trust and as much selflessness as we can muster. The writing is extraordinary. McCarthy's style is of course mannered, but his words flow from the page and the voices of his characters are remarkably clear. The book is a delight to anyone who loves the language and loves to see it used well, and the story works on so many levels that it is difficult to imagine anyone -- apart from those who find violence offensive --who will not find something to take away from this novel.

Holy Cats!

If you like your conflicts fully resolved, you may want to look elsewhere; if you're bothered by unconventional punctuation, you may be irritated by this book; if you despise jump cuts and point of view shifts, you may find yourself rereading sections of this book to catch your bearings. Otherwise, however, you may find this one of the most original books you've read in years. The story begins when Llewelyn Moss stumbles across the aftermath of a drug shootout while out antelope hunting. He follows a trail out into the desert at the end of which he finds a dead man and 2.4 million dollars. What he doesn't find (until it's too late) is the bug hidden in the money. Soon he has a dauntless hit man on his tail. The bodies pile up like cord wood. This part of the story is pretty conventional. Llewelyn Moss is likable and smart. He seems to anticipate the killer's every move, until he meets a fourteen-year-old, female hitchhiker, who proves to be too much of a distraction. About two-thirds of the way through the book, the focus switches from Llewelyn to Sheriff Bell, who's trying to save Llewelyn from himself. There's more quirky point of view stuff going on here as McCarthy has Bell tell us what he's thinking in first person, then switches immediately to third, still using Bell as a focus. Bell philosophizes about how he's never seen criminals quite as bad as these drug pushers. He never really believed in Satan until confronted with these people. McCarthy does like to preach occasionally and Bell is a willing stand-in; he indicts not only the drug pushers, but also the people who buy them, and he also seems to hint at some kind of organized crime syndicate that is intentionally chipping away at the American character, hence the title NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. I have to admit that I was completely caught off guard by what happened to Llewelyn Moss. It happens after a jump cut, and I kept thinking McCarthy was playing some kind of trick on the reader. No such luck. McCarthy is just as ruthless as Chigurh, the hit man. And there's another surprise in story when it comes time to resolve Sheriff Bell's story arc. You won't believe that one either.

The master best novel yet!

I have read the "Border Trilogy," and "All the Pretty Horses" was my favorite, especially the horse breaking scenes and the scenes set in the Mexican Prison. BUT a lot of the time McCarthy leaves me scratching my head. Sometimes his stories go wandering off on tangents I just don't get (I sometimes fear I am just not intelligent enough to understand his point). This book however is more direct and simply laid out. A kind of modern day thriller that has so much more going on. The basic story is this: While out hunting along the Rio Grande river, Llewelyn Moss, a Texas welder, stumbles upon $2 million, and a bunch of herion ready for the street all guarded by a dead man. Ross takes the money and is soon on the run from drug dealers, assassins, and the law. The author uses the plot as way to explore good and evil, heaven and hell, right and wrong; and do these things even exist? The book also contains plenty of action and some very gory, brutal scenes, so if you are bothered by graphic violence be forwarned! The Violence, though is central to the story and the issues the author is exploring. To sum up this is an excellent thriller read with a lot more to say, than just entertain.

'It's A Mess, Aint It Sheriff?' '"

'It's a mess, aint it Sheriff?' 'If it aint it'll do till a mess gets here.' "Sheriff Bell's deputy says to him. And, yes, what a hell of a mess. 305 pages of a riveting book that I read in almost one sitting. I could not stop reading. The "old man" of the book if there is one, is Sheriff Bell. And his wife, Loretta, is the calming influence. Bell's voice is heard through out this book, in italicized version; we recognize that his down to earth common sense views are sure to calm down the violence that starts on page 4. The first murder, and then the second on page 5 and... The setting is Texas, and the title of the book may be a simile for what is happening in our world and in Texas. Llewellyn Moss, a young cowboy, who works hard for a living and is out hunting antelope, stumbles upon millions of dollars, drugs and 8 dead men in the Texas desert and highland. He does what many of us would do, he takes the money. He understands that his life will never be the same, but it is worth it, isn't it? Money is trouble and Moss is in for as much trouble as anyone could imagine. He has his wife move from their trailer to her mom's to keep her safe. And, Moss, well Moss goes looking for that trouble. And, Zagnorch? Well, find out for yourself. The character that I am intrigued with is Anton Chigurh. We meet him via a murder in which Chigurh goes from being handcuffed by a West Texas county deputy to driving away in his patrol car, splattered with blood. The telling of the murder is so gory, your heart stops but for a second. The heartlessness of Chigurh is burned into our memory, he will allow some of his victims to flip a coin for their life, but that is just as grizzly as the murders. The dignity and honor of Moss is contrasted with the heartlessness of Chigurh. We are rooting for Moss, and we understand this may be a little foolishness on our part. As Sheriff Bell says,the problems with our society now starts with the lack of manners. No one says, yes sir, anymore and it is all down hill from there. The lessons stated and learned in Cormac McCarthy's new book are many. We understand we are in the presence of a literary genius. Such a well written and played out novel. As Sheriff Bell states, "I think if you were Satan and you were settin' around tryin' to think up somethin' that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics." Money is the root of all evil. Millions of dollars may be equitable to evil, but wouldn't we all like to have a chance to experience it? Anton Chigurh may be likened to evil; will we look evil in the face again? Highly recommended.

"Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction."

Cormac McCarthy's first novel since completing the Border Trilogy in 1998 is a dramatic change of pace. Gone is the focus on the wild Texas plains and the encroachment of civilization. Gone are the lyrical descriptions of untamed nature and young love. Gone is the belief that love and hope have a fighting chance in life's mythic struggles. Instead, we have a much darker, more pessimistic vision, set in Texas in the 1980s, a microcosm in which drugs and violence have so changed "civilization" that the local sheriff believes "we're looking at something we really aint even seen before." Forty-five-year-old Sheriff Ed Tom Bell must deal with the growing amorality affecting his small border town as a result of the drug trade. The old "rules" do not apply, and Bell faces a wave of violence involving at least ten murders. Running parallel with Bell's investigation of these murders is the story of Llewelyn Moss, a resident of Bell's town, who, while hunting in the countryside, has uncovered a bloody massacre and a truck containing a huge shipment of heroin. He has also discovered and stolen a case containing two million dollars of drug money, which results in his frantic run from hired hitmen. Hunting Moss is Anton Chigurh, a sociopathic cartel avenger, a Satan who will stop at nothing, the antithesis of the thoughtful and kindly Bell. A rival hitman named Wells is, in turn, stalking Chigurh. By far McCarthy's most exciting and suspenseful novel in recent years, the story speeds along, the body count rising in shocking scenes of depravity. Bell's first person musings about crime, society, and the people around him break the tension periodically, allowing the reader to ponder the wider implications of the action and to see it as a symbolic struggle for man's soul between good and evil, love and hate, God and Satan. As the violence continues and Bell becomes more discouraged, he visits his elderly Uncle Ellis, a former deputy sheriff and war veteran, and as they talk about World War I and the Vietnam War, where they were willing to give their lives for a presumably winnable cause, the contrast between those battles and this battle on the home front is seen in broader and bleaker perspective. McCarthy's desire to preserve traditional values, and his grim vision of the present and future, reflect a view of life that many readers will not share. The artistry the reader has seen in McCarthy's thematic development throughout the rest of the novel is sacrificed in the last forty pages, in which Bell's overt warnings and cautionary remarks about the future sound preachy. Still, the novel is breathtaking in its construction, and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is one of McCarthy's best-drawn characters. (4.5 stars) n Mary Whipple

No Country for Old Men Mentions in Our Blog

No Country for Old Men in Remembering Cormac McCarthy
Remembering Cormac McCarthy
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 22, 2023

Renowned author Cormac McCarthy passed away last week at the age of 89. As a writer, he was a bit like some of his characters—determined to play by his own rules. His bleak, often violent stories were tempered by lush prose and stark authenticity. Here we remember his life and legacy.

No Country for Old Men in Your 2023 Oscars Reading List
Your 2023 Oscars Reading List
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 09, 2023

Are you excited for the Oscars next month? If so, you might want to catch up on the literature that served as inspiration for some of the nominated movies. Plus, check out a few of our favorite book-to-screen best picture winners from the last quarter century.

No Country for Old Men in An Especially Bookish Oscars
An Especially Bookish Oscars
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 24, 2022

Watching the Oscars this weekend? If so, you’ll want to catch up on the literature that served as inspiration for some of the nominated movies. Plus, we share some of our favorite book-to-screen best picture winners from the last quarter century.

No Country for Old Men in And the Oscar Goes To...
And the Oscar Goes To...
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 30, 2021

Did you watch the Oscars last weekend? If so, maybe you're intrigued to catch up on the plays, books, and movies that served as inspiration for some of the nominated (and winning) movies. Plus we share some of our favorite book-to-screen Best Picture winners from the last quarter century.

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