No spoilers here, safe to read!
Basically what happens is a regular guy stumbles across some deep shit in a drug deal gone wrong – he's got to find a way out of it with both the Sheriff of his town and a really, REALLY evil hitman on his tail.
If you don't feel like schlepping through this whole review, have a visual representation of my reaction to No Country For Old Men:
|I liked this book!|
|...But it made me sad.|
You know what the best bit was? The opening was gripping – I mean, a guy's hunting and suddenly comes across a field strewn with dead bodies, abandoned cars, a stash of heroine and a case full of MONEY. Shit son, I'm interested. I'm wondering what I would do in that situation and I'm eager to read on.
I also loved the interludes of the old Sheriff's inner monologues. These were refreshingly personal and engaging, compared to McCarthy's usual dry, direct style. Which I love almost a little too much on its own.
The entire narrative was an honest, sad portrayal of moral degradation without being didactic. I still can't quite figure out how McCarthy did that. I think he's magic.
You know what pissed me off? This was one of those books where a simple statement of what fucking year it was would've really helped. I was so confused – this guy is a war veteran from Vietnam, okay, but he seems sorta old, so maybe it's the eighties, but maybe it's the seventies because his wife is nineteen, wait, no, is that a DeLorean I see over the horizon?
And another thing... When I was expecting a massive showdown at the crux of the novel, when the guy we're rooting for and the seemingly indestructible hitman stalking him finally go head-to-head, it just didn't happen. Instead I got a straight-faced account of the aftermath from the Sheriff's point of view. I felt like I got left at the altar, man. Lame.
In a way I can understand why McCarthy made that choice, but you can have all the highbrow literary aims you like, you still left your reader unsatisfied and that's the bottom line. Nevertheless, that one anticlimax didn't ruin the book for me, because by then I was invested in the other characters. Overall the book ended on a poetic high note.
Quotable quote: When you've said that it's real and not just in your head I'm not all that sure what it is that you've said. (p. 299) I mean, how awesome is that? Layers, dude. Layers.
Should you read it? Sure! It's one of those books where even if you didn't like it, you still know it's good. While it didn't rock my world I'm definitely glad I read it, and I'm eager to reread it soon to play spot-the-foreshadowing.
Should I rate it? That's what reviewers do, right? Well I'd give it 4/5 or 7.8/10 , whichever you like.
What'd you think of my new review format? I'll be putting up new reviews every Friday. Don't worry, there will still be deviations and snark, but luckily not everything's as bad as Divine: The Series!
If you have suggestions for stuff I should review, let me know in the comments!