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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » No Country for Old Men (book) » User review

Let The Blood Flow

  • Dec 27, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+3
"Yeah, Wendell said. I guess you ought to be careful cussin the dead.
I would say at the least there probably aint no luck in it.
It's just a bunch of Mexican drugrunners.
They were. They aint now.
I aint sure what you're saying.
I'm just saying that whatever they were the only thing they are now is dead.
I'll have to sleep on that."
(No Country For Old Men, Page 73)

Sleep is something in short supply in this violence filled book.

Llewelyn Moss while on a hunt for antelope manages to wound one and is forced to chase it across the West Texas desert country. Instead of finding the antelope dead or dying he finds the results of a drug deal gone bad. To the south of him lie the mountains of Mexico and their stark beauty as well as the surrounding stark beauty of the desert country he walks in as he closes in on three off road vehicles and numerous bodies. He investigates and discovers the dead, the dying, the drugs and a large amount of money. He decides to take the money and run.

Huge mistake.

For Sheriff Ed Tom Bell society at large, as well as the folks that populate his county next to the Rio Grande, have changed so much that he doesn't know what makes sense anymore. Already facing the twilight of his law enforcement career and burdened by what he did in the war, he feels helpless to stop the killing. With Moss on the run and a number of parties looking to get the money as well as the suddenly now missing drugs and not caring who dies in the process, this caring Sheriff seems always two steps behind.

But their paths do cross, as do numerous other paths in this highly atmospheric read. What follows is an engaging and often very violent read as the bodies pile up on a trail that leads into Mexico and back and forth across Southwest and West Texas. While the read does occasionally confuse the reader due to the author's absolute refusal to use quotation marks and his rare use of identifier tags such as "he said," etc., the novel provides a complex study of morality.

Much of this is done through the deeply complex character of Sheriff Bell. Simplifying greatly which does a disservice to the character and the novel, this is a man who knows that he has always done the best he could and yet wonders if he could have done more. He also wonders why so much was sacrificed in war to have society as it stands today. He wonders why the country he fought for has so many folks willing to dope themselves up among other philosophical issues. His conflicted character is in contrast to the killer Chigurh, who along with killing a number of people innocent and guilty alike, offers his own brand of absolute certainty in wisdom regarding himself and the world he inhabits. Somewhere in the middle is the character Llewelyn Moss, who far from perfect, gives in to temptation and sets lose a secondary wave of death and wonders what fate had to do with all of it.

The result is an engrossing story where amidst everything else, a world that makes no sense on one hand and perfect sense on the other is contemplated. Those looking for escapist fun need to look in other places and steer wide of this book. The novel is one of those examples that abound in good literature-a work that makes the reader think.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2005

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More No Country for Old Men (book) reviews
review by . December 11, 2007
Am I gone soft, rating three of the last four books I've read as classics? Well I think not, because of the widely divergent subjects: Les Miserables, Moneyball, and No Country for Old Men, about as disparate as any three books could be. But, as I said in reviewing Moneyball, don't prejudge a book by its subject. And the subjects of these books are only matched by the ability of the authors to write superbly about them.    McCarthy writes this spare, tense novel in short sentences, …
review by . June 03, 2010
   Cormac McCarthy's "No Country For Old Men" is like an update/hybrid of both the thriller and western genres.   It's a relentless, merciless story of a man who discovers and absconds with a cache of drug money (Llewelyn), a hired killer who will stop at nothing to track him down (Chigurh), and an aging sheriff (Bell) who can't understand the motivations driving this younger generation.      McCarthy's spare prose creates claustrophobic scenes for …
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
A suspense-ridden page turner by one of America's most timeless authors.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
A dark and gruesome look at the power and dangers of greed.
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
movie was better
Quick Tip by . June 10, 2010
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review by . October 29, 2008
No Country For Old Men
'No Country For Old Men' starts fast, with a violent murder of a young deputy by a chained prisoner. Then it switches to Llewelyn Moss, who's out hunting antelope when he stumbles across three trucks and multiple dead men in the middle of nowhere. In the back of one truck is Mexican brown heroin, in the back of another two million dollars in a case. Moss takes the money and heads home, but after waking up in the middle of the night decides to go back to the scene. Big mistake, this time he's not …
review by . February 06, 2006
Years back, Kirk Douglas starred in a dark masterpiece called "Lonely Are The Brave." A cowboy was living out the old code in a modern era. The Dalton Trumbull screenplay and Douglas's performance left me sad for the passing of an age.     Cormac McCarthy evokes this passing of ages theme in "No Country For Old Men."     Llewelyn Moss, a welder from small-town nowhere is out hunting antelope when he comes across a modern day massacre. No circled wagons here. …
review by . August 13, 2005
Like all of the McCarthy works I've read, this is a suberbly written, raw and stunningly violent novel. It is also, unlike especially his masterpiece Blood Meridian, a quick and easy (which does not mean comfortable or comforting) read: a thriller with a rigorous plot and pace.     I won't repeat details that have already been included in other reviews, but did think one point worth mentioning that I haven't seen in the other reviews. One feature of this novel that stands out …
About the reviewer
Kevin R. Tipple ()
Ranked #90
My stories have appeared in such magazines such as “Lynx Eye,” “Starblade,” “Show and Tell,” and "The Writer's Post Journal" among others and online at … more
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Starred Review. Seven years afterCities of the Plainbrought his acclaimed Border Trilogy to a close, McCarthy returns with a mesmerizing modern-day western. In 1980 southwest Texas, Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, stumbles across several dead men, a bunch of heroin and $2.4 million in cash. The bulk of the novel is a gripping man-on-the-run sequence relayed in terse, masterful prose as Moss, who's taken the money, tries to evade Wells, an ex–Special Forces agent employed by a powerful cartel, and Chigurh, an icy psychopathic murderer armed with a cattle gun and a dangerous philosophy of justice. Also concerned about Moss's whereabouts is Sheriff Bell, an aging lawman struggling with his sense that there's a new breed of man (embodied in Chigurh) whose destructive power he simply cannot match. In a series of thoughtful first-person passages interspersed throughout, Sheriff Bell laments the changing world, wrestles with an uncomfortable memory from his service in WWII and—a soft ray of light in a book so steeped in bloodshed—rejoices in the great good fortune of his marriage. While the action of the novel thrills, it's the sensitivity and wisdom of Sheriff Bell that makes the book a profound meditation on the battle between good and evil and the roles choice and chance play in the shaping of a life.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0375406778
ISBN-13: 978-0375406775
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
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