Friday, February 1, 2008

Book Review #3

Based on a recommendation by Sam De Brito over at All Men Are Liars, I picked up No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. I must admit to a certain amount of skepticism: I had always assumed McCarthy's work wouldn't appeal to me. Boy, was I wrong!

It took a bit to actually get into the book. I was turned off initially by the grammatical bludgeoning given the English language by the sheriff. I got over it quickly. McCarthy writes the way this man would have spoken and it grows on you. Then there was the lack of dialogue punctuation. I don't think there's a quotation mark to be found in the entire book! I found it a little off-putting at first, but failed to notice it after a few chapters.

The story is modern: drugs, money, guns and death. The setting is current day Texas/Mexico but somehow it has the flavour of an old-time western movie. I've never been to southern Texas (I've never been to Texas at all) but I could feel the heat, the dryness, the dust. McCarthy's writing transports you into his world and a vivid one it is. When Llewelyn Moss finds the remains of a drug deal gone bad and walks away with millions in cash, I found myself cheering for him, wanting him to get himself and his young wife out of their run-down trailer and into a decent life. Sheriff Bell does his best to do right by the people in his county but somehow you can taste the futility.

The book didn't end the way I was expecting. I anticipated a disappointing Hollywood ending with things coming together and ending happily ever after. I was happy to be wrong. Some books are well-written but end poorly. Not so with No Country for Old Men. Well-written, start to finish.

A colleague noticed me reading this novel and recommended another by Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses. I may just have to pick that up soon. Thank goodness for the library, or my reading would bankrupt me!


nursemyra said...

... and don't forget Blood Meridian

Canadian Girl said...

Welcome, NurseMyra, and thanks for visiting. Thanks for the book recommendation, too. I'll add Blood Meridian to my list.