Friday, July 25, 2008

"No Country for Old Men" by Cormac McCarthy (pub. 2005)

Let me start this review by first saying, "I never saw this movie." I think I will see it but I know I'll be let down because the books are always better than the movie. But using that formula ( Book > Movie) the movie can't be too bad (I know famous last words). But for now let's talk about the book.

Cormac McCarthy writes the book in two voices. The bulk of which is presented in third person, but this is interspersed with first person reminiscences from Sheriff Bell. The reliance on dialogue and the sketchbook revelation of plot details lend a mystical air to the work. The plot revolves around 3 main characters and as a little bit of a spoiler here, there is no "real" happy ending.

The 3 characters are; Anton Chigurh, the main antagonist, a sociopathic hitman, Llewelyn Moss, the main protagonist, a welder and Vietnam War veteran, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, a laconic World War II veteran who oversees the investigation and the trail of the murders even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to solve. His reminiscences serve as part of the book's narration.

The book takes place sometime around the late 70's along the Texas/Mexico border. Moss is out hunting when he comes across a drug deal gone really wrong. Several dead bodies and trucks are found along with a living Mexican drug dealer who is on his last breath. The drug dealer asks Moss for "Agua" in his dying breath. Moss takes the dealers weapons and leaves. Following a trail of blood and a thought of "there has to be one that got away," Moss finds a dead man grasping a leather satchel. In the satchel is over two million dollars. Moss takes the money and the weapons back home and hides them. That night a guilty feeling comes over him and he returns to the scene to bring the Mexican a jug of water. Upon returning, he finds a truck with 2 men investigating and soon comes under fire and becomes the hunted. Moss heads toward Mexico and sends his wife of so she won't get caught in the crossfire.

Meanwhile after killing a few police officers Anton Chigurh is tracking down the money to return to its "rightful" owner. Chigurh is a ruthless killer, who at one point uses a coin toss to determine wheter a store owner will live or die. Chigurh's weapon of choice is a "cattle-gun" which leaves police puzzled as to what he's using. The "cattle-gun" shoots out a rod at a high power, the same used in a slaughter house to kill the beef cattle for slaughter.

Sheriff Bell begins the task of putting the pieces together and begins tracking down Moss in order to find Chigurh.

This book is at times a great thriller, a great philosophical insight to humanity and a dark murder crime novel. A great read that you won't be able to put it down.

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:53 PM Comments: 0