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No Country for Old Men

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In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, the setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, the setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own,


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In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, the setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, the setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell–can contain.As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives–McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines. No Country for Old Men is a triumph.

16 review for No Country for Old Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    So are we gonna talk about No Country For Old Men, he said.Why not, she replied.Then we gotta do it like McCarthy, he said. Short sentences. Southern dialect. No punctuation.I can drop the punctuation, she said. But I can't do Southern.You can try.Well then I caint. That good enough for you?Youre tryin. That's the important thing. Caint do more than try. Thank you. I wish I could speak it. It's a beautiful language. But I aint got his ear. He's got the best ear for dialect this side of Mark Twai So are we gonna talk about No Country For Old Men, he said.Why not, she replied.Then we gotta do it like McCarthy, he said. Short sentences. Southern dialect. No punctuation.I can drop the punctuation, she said. But I can't do Southern.You can try.Well then I caint. That good enough for you?Youre tryin. That's the important thing. Caint do more than try. Thank you. I wish I could speak it. It's a beautiful language. But I aint got his ear. He's got the best ear for dialect this side of Mark Twain.He's got a mighty fine ear, that's for sure.Well like I said I loved the language. And I loved the characters. Sheriff Bell and Llewelyn and Chigurh and even the minor ones. Carla Jean and Loretta and Carson and the hitchhiker.They are all fine characters. They just come alive off the page. They do. I aint gonna forget none of them soon. But I dont know what it's about. It's gotta be bout somethin?Hell yes. Chigurh is more than just a man. He's some kinda elemental force. A symbol of somethin.A symbol.And his duel with Llewelyn. That's a symbol too. It's like that Swedish movie we saw. Where the guy plays chess with Death.The Seventh Seal.That's the one. But I dont think Chigurh is Death. He's somethin else. Somethin else we caint escape from.Now what would that be.I bin lying here thinkin and I caint rightly say. Maybe he aint no more than what he looks like. I know what I know, she said. But I caint put it in words.I dont think this conversation is goin noplace, he said. They lay there for a while until she heard he was asleep. She got up quietly so as not to wake him and checked the door was locked. Then she got back into bed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    “How does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?”― Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old MenMy first contact with this work of fiction was listening to a 'Partially Examined Life' podcast with three young philosophers and Eric Petrie, a university professor who has made a study of Cormac McCarthy's dark novel set in Texas in 1980. This fascinating discussion motivated me not only to read the book but listen to the audiobook read by Tom Stechschulte. I'm glad I did. Stechschute's reading i “How does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?”― Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old MenMy first contact with this work of fiction was listening to a 'Partially Examined Life' podcast with three young philosophers and Eric Petrie, a university professor who has made a study of Cormac McCarthy's dark novel set in Texas in 1980. This fascinating discussion motivated me not only to read the book but listen to the audiobook read by Tom Stechschulte. I'm glad I did. Stechschute's reading is spot-on, particularly his portrayal of one of the main characters, a good old boy by the name of Sheriff Bell. Since there are many reviews posted, in the spirit of freshness, I'd like to share a few reflections of a philosophical nature. My observations are in light of what contemporary British philosopher Simon May has to say about the nature of love. According to May, love isn't what philosophers like Plato say it is, that is, love being a longing for the Good and Beautiful; rather, May argues love has a wider range: we fall in love inspired by an anchoring for our life, an anchoring giving us a home in the world. Such a love is worth dying for, since we want so much to be rooted in the world with a feeling of being fully alive.So, keeping Simon May's idea of love in mind, let's take a look at McCarthy's novel. An entire essay could be written for each main character, but, in the interest of concision, I'll limit my remarks to a few sentences on each man's way of living and loving:Llewelyn Moss is a 37-year-old welder who served as a army sniper in Vietnam. Moss is out in the desert with his sniper rifle hunting game when he sees something unusual off in the distance - a bunch of cars and trucks appearing to have been abandoned. He walks down to have a closer look and finds the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad - men and even dogs filled with bullets and covered with blood. Moss then comes across a briefcase filled with $100 bills. He takes the money and knows this is the moment his life will be changed forever. Why would he do such a thing? I see one big reason Moss would take the money: by so doing he will be skyrocketed into a world where the intensity of being alive is a thousand times greater than being a welder. Having had an experience of life-and-death intensity in Vietnam, Moss knows the feeling well - and he loves intensity, made all the more intense when danger looms. Anton Chigurh, also a Vietnam vet or a veteran of other types of wars (or so it appears), is the man from the drug world who comes after Moss. As we follow Chigurh in the story, it quickly becomes clear he sees himself as a grim-reaper -- anybody who stands before him, if he so chooses, has come face-to-face with their own death. Well, not exactly his choice alone. Chigurh will occasionally flip a coin and ask the person to call it. If anybody shows the least hesitation to face their own choices in life or the reality of their own death, then, well, by Chigurh's standards, they might as well be dead. We would have to go a long way to find a character in literature, perhaps Richard III, who is equally the embodiment of pure evil. Love? Chigurh loves death; he is a true necrophiliac, and he shares his love whenever the occasion presents itself. In the course of this McCarthy novel, Chigurh kills men and women left and right.Sheriff Bell is a World War II veteran who sees his county losing its moral glue. And moral glue anchors Sheriff Bell's life and gives him a home in the world. He reflects toward the end of the story, "These old people I talk to, if you could of told em that there would be people on the streets of our Texas towns with green hair and bones in their noses speaking a language they couldn't even understand, well, they just flat out wouldn't of believed you. But what if you'd of told em it was their own grandchildren?" We also learn what especially anchors Bell's life (what Bell loves) is a prime military virtue: loyalty to your men. And Bell tells his old uncle about the major regret of his life -- when a Sergeant in the war he faced a choice: stick with his men or save his own life. Since at one point in a battle the overwhelming odds were that all of his men were dead, he made the choice to save himself by leaving. Bell says he has been reflecting on this event over the years and concludes he violated the code of loyalty. He goes on to say that if he had to do it over again, he would have died with his men rather than leaving.These observations about the nature of love are made as a kind of invitation to read McCarthy's novel and see where you stand philosophically. Is love only love for the Beautiful and Good, or can love have, as Simon May puts forth (and illustrated by the respective objects of love of these three men), a more expansive and darker range? American novelist Cormac McCarthy - Born 1933

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    This is officially the 1000th review I’ve written on Goodreads, and I wanted to make sure that the book would fit the occasion so that’s why I decided to re-read this one. What better novel could I choose than this heartwarming tale of human kindness from one of the most optimistic men on the planet, Cormac McCarthy?** Note - That statement is sarcasm done in the interest of humor. 1000 reviews have taught me that I apparently have to explain that or someone with poor reading comprehension will This is officially the 1000th review I’ve written on Goodreads, and I wanted to make sure that the book would fit the occasion so that’s why I decided to re-read this one. What better novel could I choose than this heartwarming tale of human kindness from one of the most optimistic men on the planet, Cormac McCarthy?** Note - That statement is sarcasm done in the interest of humor. 1000 reviews have taught me that I apparently have to explain that or someone with poor reading comprehension will troll me in the comments. In 1980 Llewellyn Moss is just a working Texan living in a trailer home with his young wife, Carla Jean. One day Llewellyn goes out hunting and comes home with a lot more than meat for the stew pot after he stumbles across the aftermath of a huge drug deal gone wrong in the desert. Over $2 million in a satchel would be hard for anyone to resist taking with no one around to know better, but giving into temptation unleashes hell in the form of Anton Chigurh, a relentless enforcer who removes any obstacles in his path with a cattle bolt gun and a silenced .12 gauge. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is also on Llewellyn’s trail, and he has to bear witness to the incredible violence unleashed by Chigurh and others. When Chigurh’s actions grow too much for the men who sent him they hire the savvy Carson Wells to stop him and recover the money.An unsuspecting reader unfamiliar with the story or McCarthy’s work might expect this to be simply a crime novel, and that’s how a good chunk of the story plays at first. Llewellyn may seem like your average good-ole-boy, but he’s also a Vietnam vet who shows a fair amount of caution and smarts even when he’s forced to go on the run. He’s clear eyed enough to know that once he’s taken the money that there’s no going back, and he’s actually got some good survival instincts for this kind of thing. However, for all the determination and capability he shows, and even knowing that he’s put himself in the crosshairs of very dangerous people by taking the money, Llewellyn doesn’t truly understand what he’s gotten himself into. The actions of those involved in the drug trade at that level have created an ocean of evil and chaos. The satchel full of money is just a bit of debris that washed up on shore that Llewellyn found like a piece of driftwood that he thinks he can scamper off with, and he’ll be fine as long as he stays off the beaches. However, something else lurks in those depths. Maybe it’s something new or maybe it’s something ancient that was awakened by all the noise around it, but this creature won’t stop at the water’s edge. Anton Chigurh strides out of that ocean on two legs but still fully capable of devouring anything in his path with no more thought than a shark gives any fish it chomps. He can swim or run, it makes no real difference to him as long as he gets to eat. Sheriff Bell has been aware of existence of men like Chigurh, and he’s not sure how to stop them or even if they can be fought. Take a boat out on the those waters and you’ll probably get dragged down into the depths with them. Battle them on the shores and you’re still likely to get pulled in and chewed up. What really worries Bell is that it seems like water is rising, and a lot of people seem willing to dive in so he's pretty well convinced that the entire world is sliding into hell.That’s why I consider this a next level book. The idea of a guy finding a bag of money and getting bad people on his trail has been done before. The characters also could be cliches. The regular guy with a tough streak, the bad ass pursuing him, the honest law man, the worried wife, the roguish hustler looking for an angle, etc etc. McCarthy is good and sneaky enough to let that play to the point where you think that you know how the story will end, and that’s when he pulls the rug out from under you. It’s also where the book really shifts from what seems like a straightforward thriller to a brooding contemplation about fate vs. free will as well as good vs. evil.I could make some complaints about that might ordinarily knock it down from 5 to 4 stars for me. McCarthy’s style of doing a minimum of punctuation so that quotation marks aren’t used and apostrophes are seldom seem can cause confusion and often seems like a distracting affectation, but on the other hand this is a book about the normal rules not applying so it does seem to work in a way. The story also seems to be littered with anachronisms for 1980. There’s a mobile phone capable of fitting in a shirt pocket at a time when a cell phone was essentially a bag, and while ATMs existed I don’t know if they would have been common in south Texas at the time. A Glock pistol is mentioned, but they wouldn’t exist for at least another year or two. Plus, I’m no gun expert, but I don’t think it’s actually possible to silence a shotgun.Despite that nitpicking this book hits an intersection of things I love. It’s a fusion of genres that draws on crime stories and westerns, but it ultimately becomes Very Serious Lit-A-Chur that’s done in a minimalist way that works very well for me. I’m also a deeply cynical person who agrees with McCarthy’s dim view of the world so I appreciate a story that isn’t blinding rainbows and unicorn farts. It also has the advantage of being turned into the fantastic flm by the Coen brothers which is one of my favorite book-to-screen adaptations. So I’ll stick with the 5 stars and consider it among the best of the best.Since this #1000, I’ll also provide a little bonus content. The violence associated with the drug trade in Mexico and it’s creep into the US has sparked a lot of great fiction that can be genuinely chilling in it’s depiction of the way it can corrupt and utterly destroy people. If you’re into that sort of thing I also recommend:- The film The Counselor was also written Cormac McCarthy. It isn’t nearly at the level of this one, but I do think it was unfairly savaged by critics. It’s not great, but it is good and shares similarities. You’ll also never look at Cameron Diaz in quite the same way again.- Writer Don Winslow has been researching the history of the drug trade on the American/Mexican border for years, and he has two fantastic books that are essentially historical fiction that shine a lot on how US policies helped create that monster in The Power of the Dog and The Cartel. His Savages is also a black action comedy about people who think they can just dip their hands into that flow for profit and not get sucked into it. They are wrong.- Sicario is a great and criminally overlooked film from last year that features a haunting performance by Benicio del Toro. It should also come with a warning label to abandon all hope before watching.Thanks to all those who voted and commented without being a trollish asshat on my first 1000 reviews. It's genuinely appreciated, and I hope that you now all know better than to try and keep a bag of drug money you find in the desert.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men is a 2005 novel by American author Cormac McCarthy who originally wrote the story as a screenplay. The story occurs in the vicinity of the United States–Mexico border in 1980 and concerns an illegal drug deal gone awry in the Texas desert back country.The plot (of the book, rather than the film) follows the interweaving paths of the three central characters (Llewelyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, and Ed Tom Bell) set in motion by events relat No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men is a 2005 novel by American author Cormac McCarthy who originally wrote the story as a screenplay. The story occurs in the vicinity of the United States–Mexico border in 1980 and concerns an illegal drug deal gone awry in the Texas desert back country.The plot (of the book, rather than the film) follows the interweaving paths of the three central characters (Llewelyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, and Ed Tom Bell) set in motion by events related to a drug deal gone bad near the Mexican–American border in remote Terrell County in southwest Texas.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2012میلادیعنوان: جایی برای پیرمردها نیست؛ نویسنده: کورمک مکارتی؛ مترجم: امیر احمدی آریان؛ تهران، نشر چشمه، 1387، در 285ص؛ شابک9789643626006؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21مداستان «جایی برای پیرمردها نیست» درباره ی پسر جوان جوشکاری است، که روزی برای شکار، به کوه میرود، و آنجا شاهد یک صحنه ی بجا مانده از درگیری، در حین داد و ستد مواد مخدر میشود؛ در صحنه، مواد بسیاری بر جای مانده است؛ افرادی کشته شده اند، و پولها نیز، در همان نزدیکی، درون چمدان است؛ پسر، پولها را برمیدارد، و فرار میکند، و همین سبب پیگرد و گریزی دراز بین پسر، و کسی که در پی یافتن پولهاست میشود؛ و البته کلانتر آن منطقه نیز...؛ نقل از متن: (من یه پسر رو تو «هانتسویل» به اتاق گاز فرستادم؛ فقط یکی، نه بیشتر؛ خودم دستگیرش کردم و شهادت دادم؛ دو سه باری اونجا رفتم و باش ملاقات کردم؛ سه بار؛ بار آخر روز اعدامش بود؛ مجبور نبودم برم ولی رفتم؛ معلومه که نمیخواستم؛ دختر چهارده ساله ای رو کشته بود، و همین الان بهتون بگم که من هیچوقت هیچ علاقه ای به ملاقات پسر نداشتم، چه برسه به دیدن اعدامش، اما اینکار رو کردم؛ روزنامه ها نوشتند این جنایت از سر اشتیاق بود، و خودش به من گفت هیچ اشتیاقی در کار نبود؛ با اون دختره قرار میگذاشت هر چند که خیلی بچه بود؛ خودش نوزده سالش بود؛ به من گفت از وقتی که یادش میآد، نقشه ی قتل کسی رو میکشیده؛ گفت اگه ولش کنن باز همین کار رو میکنه؛ گفت میدونه که به جهنم میره؛ با زبون خودش به من گفت؛ نمیدونم درباره ش چی بگم؛ واقعاً نمیدونم؛ فکر کنم تا به حال هیچکس رو شبیه اون ندیدم و به نظرم خودش یه جونور تازه از نوع بشر بود؛ دیدم که چطور روی صندلی نشوندنش و در رو بستند؛ شاید کمی عصبی به نظر میرسید ولی همه ش همین بود؛ مطمئنم خودش میدونست که تا پونزده دقیقه ی دیگه به جهنم میره؛ شک ندارم؛ خیلی به این قضیه فکر کردم؛ حرف زدن باهاش خیلی هم سخت نبود؛ بهم میگفت کلانتر؛ ولی من نمیدونستم بهش چی بگم؛ به مردی که خودش میگه روح نداره، چی میشه گفت؟ چرا باید بهش چیزی بگی؟ خیلی به این قضیه فکر کردم؛ اما اون بچه نسبت به چیزی که انتظارمون رو میکشید هیچ بودمیگن چشمها پنجره ای رو به روح آدم اند؛ من نمیدونم چشمهای اون پنجره ای رو به چی بود، و حدس میزنم حالا حالاها ندونم؛ اما اون بیرون چیزای دیگه ای برای دیدن هست و چشمای دیگه ای که ببینند و اونجاست که همه ی اتفاقا میافته؛ مجبور شدم به جایی برم که عمراً فکرش رو هم نمیکردم سر و کارم بهش بیفته؛ جایی اون بیرون، پیامبرِ زنده و واقعی نابودی حی و حاضره و من اصلاً دلم نمیخواد به جنگش برم؛ میدونم که واقعیه؛ کارش رو دیده م؛ یه بار جلوِ چشمهاش راه رفتم؛ دیگه نمیکنم؛ دیگه ژتونهام رو وسط نمیذارم و بلند نمیشم برم به دیدنش؛ مسئله فقط پیر شدن نیست؛ کاش همین بود؛ حتا نمیتونم بگم این کاریه که به اراده ی خودم انجامش میدم؛ همیشه میدونستم برای انجام اینکار باید از قبل علاقه به مردن داشته باشی؛ این حرف همه جا صدق میکرد؛ هیچ چیز باشکوهی درباره ی هر کاری که بکنی وجود نداره؛ هیچی نیست به جز کاری که میکنی؛ اگه هم خودت ندونی دیگران میدونن؛ با یه نگاه میفهمن؛ فکر میکنم قضیه بیشتر اینه که چی میخوای بشی؛ فکر میکنم آدم مجبوره سر روحش قمار کنه؛ من اینکار رو نمی کنم؛ الان فکر میکنم که هیچوقت این کارو نمیکنم)؛ پایان نقلتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 14/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    A taut thriller with crisp, naturalistic dialogue, this book refuses to avert its eyes from the darkness. Perhaps I'm rating this a bit low, but--considering the author's reputation--I expected more. Besides, I liked the movie better. A taut thriller with crisp, naturalistic dialogue, this book refuses to avert its eyes from the darkness. Perhaps I'm rating this a bit low, but--considering the author's reputation--I expected more. Besides, I liked the movie better.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Well, if you saw the Oscar-winning film, you pretty much got the gist. This is an examination of evil at its most primitive level, in which lawlessness, even in the modern world, reigns over conscience, reason & morality. Chigurh is one very prototypical Boogeyman: a walking, talking Michael Myers (c.a. 1978 by J. Carpenter) that is not immortal, though the concept of him will rule all the ages, prevailing like a force of nature. Powerful stuff, emotional & heartless at the same time, & of cours Well, if you saw the Oscar-winning film, you pretty much got the gist. This is an examination of evil at its most primitive level, in which lawlessness, even in the modern world, reigns over conscience, reason & morality. Chigurh is one very prototypical Boogeyman: a walking, talking Michael Myers (c.a. 1978 by J. Carpenter) that is not immortal, though the concept of him will rule all the ages, prevailing like a force of nature. Powerful stuff, emotional & heartless at the same time, & of course, written in precise, minimalist prose.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    When I was reading this book I began noticing how much the killings in it reminded me of the bible. They are the same book, I thought, No Country for Old Men and the bible. Only one is more graphic than the other. You have to really use your imagination when reading the bible. McCarthy fills in the cracks, takes away your imagination. I once read a story about a woman who lived with a tribe, and a man from another tribe came in and raped her. After that her people killed every one of his people, When I was reading this book I began noticing how much the killings in it reminded me of the bible. They are the same book, I thought, No Country for Old Men and the bible. Only one is more graphic than the other. You have to really use your imagination when reading the bible. McCarthy fills in the cracks, takes away your imagination. I once read a story about a woman who lived with a tribe, and a man from another tribe came in and raped her. After that her people killed every one of his people, men, women, and children. Sound like a McCarthy book? The murderers, in this case were the Israelites. God’s people. It was okay for them to kill because there was a reason, but whatever that reason was, I do not know, but I could not see the justice. The murderer in McCarthy’s book does the same thing, he kills innocent people, but he is a psychopathic killer. He feels nothing for those he murders. If you want a psychopath to feel your pain, he has to look into your eyes. They won’t for this reason. Did God look into the eyes of those he had killed? Did he feel anything for them? Moss, the main character in this book, lives in a Texas desert town with his wife, and he loves hunting antelopes. He was out hunting for antelopes on this fateful day, but instead of killing an antelope, he hunted up trouble. He got out his binoculars and scratched around the land for antelopes, finding instead three vehicles with dead bodies scattered on the ground. Remember Lot’s wife in the Bible? She was told by an angel of God to not look back, if she did she would die. Moss looked back instead of running from the scene. He couldn’t help himself anymore than Lot’s wife could. Moss went down to check out the dead too many times. The first time was fatal; the second was just dumb. But I am not saying that he died in the story; just saying. One man was still alive and asked for water, just like Lazarus,the man in hell in the New Testament, had. When Lazarus asked for water; God didn’t listen. Maybe He didn’t even look into his eyes to know his suffering. I don’t know. Moss, on the other hand didn’t have any water to give or he would have given it to him. Then Moss checked out the vehicles, found heroin. He left the heroin where it was and walked down a bloody path where he found another dead man--and money. He took the money, went back to his truck and then home to his wife. I thought then that his wife was now good as dead. She should have left him when he told her about the money. Maybe she should have left him long ago. Life is like that, sometimes you get only one window of opportunity. Moss leaves his wife at home and decides to check out the scene again, but by this time it doesn’t matter. Whatever happens now is fate.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Mridula

    This is started as a one-star book, then progressed to four slowly as the story unfolded. The novel grows on you.No Country for Old Men starts out in a thoroughly disjointed way. Multiple POVs, total lack of punctuation, dialogue rendered exactly as the characters speak it... the reader is utterly confused as to where the focus is, who the protagonist is, and what the story is about. It could be about one Llewlyn Moss who stumbles upon a fortune while hunting antelope near the Rio Grande. A tran This is started as a one-star book, then progressed to four slowly as the story unfolded. The novel grows on you.No Country for Old Men starts out in a thoroughly disjointed way. Multiple POVs, total lack of punctuation, dialogue rendered exactly as the characters speak it... the reader is utterly confused as to where the focus is, who the protagonist is, and what the story is about. It could be about one Llewlyn Moss who stumbles upon a fortune while hunting antelope near the Rio Grande. A transaction between drug dealers has gone wrong, leaving a number of bodies, a huge stash of heroin, and a case full of cash. Moss takes the cash and runs, knowing fully well that his life is changed for ever.Or then, it could be about Anton Chigurh, hired gun and cold-blooded killing machine. He is entrusted with the task of finding the money taken by Moss. On the way, Chigurh leaves a trail of dead bodies, sometimes philosophising to his victims.Or it could be about Sheriff Bell, bent on doing his job of keeping law and order and protecting the citizens of his county to the best of his ability-even though most of the time, he fails.The story moves at a roller-coaster pace. The scenes are short and mostly disjointed: the author sometimes leaves a major piece of the action behind the scenes. Characters come and go without any introduction. The sentences hit you like machine-gun fire.If you stick with the novel, after some time, you get accustomed to the style; it loses its annoyance potential, and the real story starts coming through.For this is not the story of Moss, or of Anton Chigurh; but of Sheriff Bell, and the country he is a symbol of. This is the country of Daniel Boone and Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kidd and Jesse James: the country of "The Man With No Name", and a hundred Spaghetti Westerns we have seen and forgotten. This country is absolutely heartless but imbued with a certain terrible beauty. This country sends forth its sons to die in Vietnam and Iraq.It is, indeed, not a country for old men.Anton Chigurh is a masterly creation: one of the most frightening villains I have come across, because he is not "evil" in the traditional sense. Chigurh is a philosopher, a believer in the karma of what he is doing, the karma which is unstoppable and which will find you out no matter what. The scenes of him philosophising with Carson Wells and Carla Jean before he shoots them are terrifying for the lack of emotion in them. It is also ironical that an out-of-control car driven by three junkies, an entirely chance event, ultimately proves to be his undoing.But as I said earlier, this is the story of Sheriff Bell, who is atoning for a single act of cowardice during the second world war (rather like Lord Jim). We get to know this only towards the very end, after the whole affair of Moss and Chigurh is over and done with: then the story suddenly falls into focus, and the philosophical interludes of the sheriff interspersed throughout the novel with the main narrative starts to make perfect sense. The killers, the chase and the shootouts are all just window dressing for the story of this one man as he tries to make sense of the conundrum of the meaning of life. And he does find his answer, though maybe not the one he expected.The image of this man, standing alone in the midst of the desert, shoulders slumped in defeat against an increasingly violent and unjust world, is a touching one: and somehow heartening. Because we know that he is the real spirit of the desert, the gunslinger of American myth who rides off into the sunset after taking care of the baddies. And because we know that finally at the end of the trail, his dad will be waiting for him with the fire burning in the dark as he saw in his dream.Ride on, Sheriff Bell.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brett C(urrently deployed...can't read too much)

    This was a great read in my opinion. The story reminded me of an American Western with a steady plot involving money, pursuits, shoot-outs, and the arid backdrop of West Texas. I saw the movie recently and that was only helpful because it provided visual aids while I reading. The reading took some adjusting because the author employs a unique style of writing. McCarthy used a minimalist approach: short/quick dialogue, basic punctuation, and a gritty colloquial vernacular in the characters speech This was a great read in my opinion. The story reminded me of an American Western with a steady plot involving money, pursuits, shoot-outs, and the arid backdrop of West Texas. I saw the movie recently and that was only helpful because it provided visual aids while I reading. The reading took some adjusting because the author employs a unique style of writing. McCarthy used a minimalist approach: short/quick dialogue, basic punctuation, and a gritty colloquial vernacular in the characters speech patterns. Examples of his stylized speech include 'I was fixin to', 'Them over yonder aint Mexican' and 'Dont got no'. Overall I really enjoyed this one. I would recommend it if you like a good suspense/action story. Thanks!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    NO COUNTRY FOR OLD REVIEWERSRayner took the bolt of the Uzi and slid the firing pin on. He aligned the springs and dropped the housing in. He felt and made sure it was seeded properly. He got the barrel and pushed that down. It rotated and found the notch. Bryant rolled a thin one, tamping the tobacco, pinching off the surplus and returning it to the tin. There was a dog. You fixin to make me flip a coin on you. No I particular aint.Don’t look like it to me. You shouldn’t likely do this. Well yo NO COUNTRY FOR OLD REVIEWERSRayner took the bolt of the Uzi and slid the firing pin on. He aligned the springs and dropped the housing in. He felt and made sure it was seeded properly. He got the barrel and pushed that down. It rotated and found the notch. Bryant rolled a thin one, tamping the tobacco, pinching off the surplus and returning it to the tin. There was a dog. You fixin to make me flip a coin on you. No I particular aint.Don’t look like it to me. You shouldn’t likely do this. Well you know how this is goin to go when you done it. I know they gone say I stoled it from you, I knows it. But I aint. It was the only way to do it. Yep. You got that right. Stole it.Dint stole nuthin. Likely cant be done no other way. Tried it ever which way. Dint come out right. Rayner eased in a new clip, slid one into the magazine. Bryant watched the barrel. It was pointing at his gut. A dog poked ragged ears round the plywood door. Rayner moved the barrel three inches sideways and put a cartridge into its brains. The dog flew in a red arc about eight feet four inches in the air and landed somewhere they couldn’t see. It yowled somewhat and then it didnt. What you shoot a damn dog for.Wasnt your dog.Yeah wasn’t my dog. Aint sayin.Well, it might could be emphasisin a point here. Which you don’t seem to of got.Well, all right. You try an write a review of No Country for Old Men without doin it like in speech and like that. I’m getting tired of sayin cant be done. I knows you done it first.You shouldna kindly stole it. I’s thinkin we should flip a coin on thisn but we done here.The bullet put a hole the size of a fair sized bag of cashew nuts in around the upper middle of Bryants front carpicles. Blood pooled over the plastic chair legs and the rough plywood floor. Bryants arm spasmed out onto the laptop and pressed SAVE. Rayner stepped around the dead man and went into the sun. He got into the Dodge pickup and started the engine. He let it idle for a while. He took the list from his front shirt pocket and took a pencil and crossed through Bryant’s name. He studied the next name on the list then threw the Dodge into gear.*****With apologies to my old GR friend Manny Rayner, who I firmly believe would never shoot a dog just to emphasise a point. I tried this where I shot Manny, and it was pretty funny, naturally, but also a little creepy assassinating a fellow reviewer, so I let him shoot me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I'd already seen and loved the film. I found my memory though was ingenious in withholding knowledge of what happens next until it happened on the page. The novel is written in the simple prose a gifted but alienated teenager might adopt. Up to the half way point it reads like a darkish crime story without much depth. Then, of a sudden, there's this hallelujah moment. The baddie delivers a speech about why he has to kill this innocent girl and it's as if lights were suddenly thrown on to reveal I'd already seen and loved the film. I found my memory though was ingenious in withholding knowledge of what happens next until it happened on the page. The novel is written in the simple prose a gifted but alienated teenager might adopt. Up to the half way point it reads like a darkish crime story without much depth. Then, of a sudden, there's this hallelujah moment. The baddie delivers a speech about why he has to kill this innocent girl and it's as if lights were suddenly thrown on to reveal all the clever and wondrous design of the novel which had been taking place in the dark. It becomes a kind of fable about the pathways of life and the nature of bad luck. From that moment on it was it was a fantastic and moving read with an especially goosebumping emphasis on the consoling and restorative beauty of human relationships. The only bulwark we have against all the bad luck waiting in the wings out there.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”Marking this one down as one of the books that has surprised me the most this year! I expected an action-packed chase with lots of violence, but what I got was so much more.One day Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain of catastrophic violence that not even the law can contain. “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”Marking this one down as one of the books that has surprised me the most this year! I expected an action-packed chase with lots of violence, but what I got was so much more.One day Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain of catastrophic violence that not even the law can contain.I wholeheartedly loved this book. Sure, it’s bleak and hopeless, but it leaves you with a lot to think about. You think this is a typical thriller about a badass pursuing a regular guy who should have left well enough alone, but it ultimately evolves into a brooding analysis of fate vs free will, and also good vs evil. These are themes I love to read about, hence why East of Eden is one of my favourite books, and McCarthy really elevates it to another level.The chapters alternate between the main story and the meandering thoughts of Sheriff Bell, and it was Bell’s monologues that really stood out. Every quote worth noting came from those sections, they were just so full of wisdom. His love and tenderness for his wife felt like a nice counterbalance to all the evil and violence unfolding around him.No Country also gives us one of the most formidable and shit-your-pants-scary villains in literature. Anton Chigurh is the embodiment of pure evil, the grim reaper. Occasionally he will flip a coin and ask a person to call it - by Chigurh’s standards if there is any hesitation in facing their own choices in life, they might as well be dead.As always, there is the traditional McCarthy style - no quotation marks - but I always surprise myself at how quickly I fall into the rhythm of his writing, and it ceases to be an issue within a few pages. The only minor reason I didn’t give it the full 5 stars was that some major events took place “off-page”, which somewhat confused me, and I still feel a little cheated by.Overall, incredibly suspenseful. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Highly recommend! 4.5 stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pantelis Andreou

    “People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they don't deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things”.The perfect example of a book about being good and all the dangers and evil that someone may encounter.With the movie being one of my all time favorites for a long time, the flow and style of the book it’s so immersive and had that sense of dread that lurks on every corner, making it all the way hopeless till the end.- What’s his name?- Ch “People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they don't deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things”.The perfect example of a book about being good and all the dangers and evil that someone may encounter.With the movie being one of my all time favorites for a long time, the flow and style of the book it’s so immersive and had that sense of dread that lurks on every corner, making it all the way hopeless till the end.- What’s his name?- Chigurh- Sugar?- Chigurh. Anton Chigurh.Anton Chigurh is definitely one of the greatest villains ever created in fiction. An amoral psychopath who will stop at nothing till he guns you down. The perfect punisher.McCarthy is Pulitzer winner for a reason!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    With a book like this, the movie pretty much made itself. You could've just as well filmed the pages being flicked through (preferably by Javier Bardem, I'm sure he'd do it astoundingly) and you'd get roughly the same experience. I understand the comparisons being made between the film and the book. That's the kind of understanding guy I am. I can only say both are masterpieces. It all starts with Cormac McCarthy though, and while the Coen brothers and the cast of the movie did a tremendous job, With a book like this, the movie pretty much made itself. You could've just as well filmed the pages being flicked through (preferably by Javier Bardem, I'm sure he'd do it astoundingly) and you'd get roughly the same experience. I understand the comparisons being made between the film and the book. That's the kind of understanding guy I am. I can only say both are masterpieces. It all starts with Cormac McCarthy though, and while the Coen brothers and the cast of the movie did a tremendous job, I think the biggest piece of the praisecake should go to the author. This book has many things that define good books: 1. Suspense: Danger looms everywhere as soon as that suitcase gets in the picture. You can feel it breathing down the neck of everyone who comes near it. The main personificiation of this danger, Anton Chigurh, is one of the most legendary villains I've come across. Cold, rational, in control. 2. Pacing: While this is a book where you wonder what will happen next, it doesn't give you much time for doing that. Because while you're wondering BOOM, there's a surprise for you. BAM, there's another one. WHOOSH, still didn't see that coming, did you? Chigurh moves faster than your fears do.3. Characters: Bell, the good. Chigurh, the bad. And everyone else gloriously in between, with their little views and wisdoms.Speaking of wisdoms: The Bell-monologues are what really gave this book the extra touch for me. His fondness for his wife Loretta is the strongest counterweight to Chigurh. There are things that Bell possesses that Chigurh can never put a hole in. Reading those monologues is like listening to your grandfather, full of wisdoms that seem so commonplace to the person uttering them that it becomes touching, especially in contrast with what's really going on in the world that has gone and changed around them. Some of my favorites, that I'd like to print on little plaques and hang up around my kitchen:(without quotation marks, they wouldn't feel right)All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door.He said there was nothin to set a man's mind at ease like wakin up in the mornin and not havin to decide who you were.I think that when all lies are told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it anymore than you can salt salt. You cant corrupt it because that's what it is. It's the thing you're talkin about. (...) I'm sure they's people would disagree with that. Quite a few, in fact. But I never could find out what any of them did believe. You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.If you'd like even more wisdom, particularly pertaining to this book and its interpretation, you might like the views of someone who actually knows what he's talking about. (that mysterious review he refers to is also very interesting, but I don't want to reveal too much yet in this regard)

  15. 4 out of 5

    ΕyesNEiN|v|EisΝinΕ

    Elevating and Transcending Genre: McCarthy and 'Existentialist Crime' [WARNING: Here there be spoilers.]Another world unrolled like a carpet of dry, golden plains when I started reading 'No Country for Old Men'; the prose was vivid, but every word was a careful expenditure of idea and style. Cormac McCarthy is not an overly descriptive writer. But the antelope hunt in Southwest Texas that leads Llewelyn Moss to the bullet-riddled cars and corpses of the silent cartel battlefield is told with Elevating and Transcending Genre: McCarthy and 'Existentialist Crime' [WARNING: Here there be spoilers.]Another world unrolled like a carpet of dry, golden plains when I started reading 'No Country for Old Men'; the prose was vivid, but every word was a careful expenditure of idea and style. Cormac McCarthy is not an overly descriptive writer. But the antelope hunt in Southwest Texas that leads Llewelyn Moss to the bullet-riddled cars and corpses of the silent cartel battlefield is told with absolute clarity. It played out somewhere in my cerebrum like a memory, nearly identical to the film adaptation by Joel and Ethan Coen. It is a testament to the genius of all three men that the movie felt like a 'remake' of the 'original film adaptation'... by which I mean the film that played out in my head. McCarthy condenses his prose into clean, spare lines of poetic brevity. The skeletal structure of his language is porous, like the bones of eagles and vultures: it can take flight when it needs to fly, it can sink its narrative talons into heavy prey and dead-ugly notions, it can take to the air with these blood-soaked prizes. Very few writers are comfortable with the high places he makes for his home, or the low places where he hunts for stories. His narrative voice marks him as a blood relation to Faulkner, with a casual grandiloquence strained from the apocalyptic cryptograms of Revelations and the more ominous books of the Old Testament. 'No Country for Old Men' was not well-received by many of McCarthy's fans, seen as an unnecessary digression from literature, 'slumming' in the ghettos of genre-fiction. But if 'NCfOM' is a 'crime novel', and it is, McCarthy not only matches the genre's previous high water marks, but with 'No Country For Old Men', he floods the deep-carved banks of the Genre's narrative current with all the force of a million-year old glacial dam's final collapse, ice-cold waters turning parallel genre streams into a mega-river before spilling into an impossible system of ancient and carefully engineered locks, dams and channels, flowing to feed into the archetypal ocean of human knowledge. The channel of Philosophy was built for regulating the tidal algorithms and powerful undercurrents that would protect the data by isolating whatever play-science variables find important to objectively judge just how sea-worthy the vessels of hypothetical Philosophy truly are as they pass through the system. Dostoevsky's 'Crime & Punishment' was probably the first work of fiction to navigate both the well-traveled central canal/canon of Western literature AND the philosophical channel of proto-relativism. It was portrayed as it had to be: a cautionary tale, concerning an arrogant young man who renounced god and imagined himself beyond good and evil. But all the questions asked by the existentialism of Sartre and Camus are plainly asked or hiding in subtext: How can I justify the restraint of selfish, natural impulses if good and evil are arbitrary and outdated notions used to manipulate the weak-minded? Is a morality based entirely on logic and serving individual needs possible? Is it cowardice to submit to a moral and legal code that contradicts one's core philosophy? In a world without gods and heavenly rewards, how can the individual justify self-sacrifice? With nothing but the void waiting for us after death, is dying to keep a secret that will save lives justifiable... when the world essentially dies with you? This presaged the overtly existentialist currents of Albert Camus' 'L'Etranger', with their fictional meditations on the dilemmas facing atheist or agnostic protagonists who let their individualistic philosophy guide their actions, taking them into territory deemed immoral and criminal, and then trapped inside hostile legal institutions with illusions of permanence and religious foundations built on shifting moral sands. NCfOM should also be read as a conflict between the conservative notions of right and wrong held by Sheriff Bell, and the terrifying personification of moral relativism and the Nietzschean ubermensch, Anton Chigurh. Again: 'No Country for Old Men' is a perfect example of great writing that both elevates genre and transcends it... (view spoiler)[ High-Brow and Crime & Semi-Crime Fiction Favorites:00. Cormac McCarthy 01. Jim Thompson 02. Dashiell Hammett 03. Raymond Chandler 04. Denis Johnson 05. James Carlos Blake 06. Thomas Pynchon 07. James M. Cain 08. Jonathan Lethem 09. Richard Price 10. Dennis Lehane 11. Charles Willeford 12. James Ellroy 13. Richard Stark 14. Norman Mailer 15. William S. Burroughs 16. Ron Hansen 17. Michael Chabon 18. Paul Auster 19. Charles Portis 20. Larry McMurtry (hide spoiler)] Just as Llewelyn Moss declares war on Anton Chigurh, after realizing that the only way the assassin will let the woman he loves live is by sacrificing his own life, the Mexican drug-lords find him instead. The narrative symmetry that favored a violent showdown between Moss and Chigurh is thwarted, in a shocking subversion of genre expectations. And just as the enigmatic killer makes good on a terrible promise, as smart and deadly and unstoppable as some capricious Celtic god, his car is T-boned at an intersection, and he is badly injured. A Random Act of Traffic; it comes too late to save a life, or to offer anyone an advantage -- Chigurh is the last piece left on the board. And it's not a punishment, or a condemnation, since his 'sins' would demand a far more severe accounting. It once again demonstrates that even the hardest and most terrifyingly competent killers are not immune to the many ways the world can kill us without caring or trying. Whatever plans we make, they cannot compensate for the endless variables that number our days.Sheriff Bell struggles to keep up. As the 'Old Man' of the title, his experience and intellect are not enough to stop the killer it is his sworn duty to stop. He is unable to protect the citizens it is his sworn duty to protect. His thoughts punctuate the action as philosophical prologue, interludes, and epilogue. His failure to understand the callous ease with which these younger men unleash death and suffering is a failure of age. The predatorial hunger and greed that drives the various gangsters of the borderland is something that fades with time. The willingness to inflict harm remains, but not the eagerness, and killers that survive long enough to get old delegate these tasks once their hair has gone grey.McCarthy rarely provides physical descriptions of his characters, leaving it to the reader to cast the roles. There is one scene in the novel that I felt was integral as a foreshadowing to the seemingly inevitable showdown that never happened. It's also one of the most powerful and suspenseful passages in a book that is perhaps more gut-wrenchingly suspenseful than any other I've read; this is a truly existential crime novel, lacking any connection to myth or morality, subverting reader expectation and creating a sense of near helplessness. With Cormac McCarthy, the reader always finds himself in terra incognita, without signs or maps or lines of demarcation. The sun is always buried behind the clouds, but that doesn't mean it's going to rain. In safer continuums of literature, an overcast day always foreshadows The Storm. This unpredictability is not a forced gimmick, it's thematic honesty, now that the young gods of chaos have taken an empty throne unchallenged. Archetypal heroes will die unsung and unmourned. The moon will break in two, and drown the earth with its blood. The pivotal confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist, as it occurs in the novel, further establishes expectations of a 'good guy'/'bad guy' dichotomy that doesn't really exist; but McCarthy uses it to perpetuate the illusion before exposing it. When the Coen brothers significantly altered this scene in the film, after remaining so faithful to the source material, it surprised me.Anton Chigurh's insistence on killing anyone who knows both his name and his face is a promise he fulfills several times throughout the novel. In both the book and the film, after Moss has checked into a motel room following his first close call, he realizes there must be a tracking device hidden with the money. He uses this device to get the drop on his pursuer. In the film, the dead-bolt is blown in by the compression-powered cattle-killer, stunning Moss. He fires blindly, then escapes through the window. In the novel, however, Chigurh enters the room quietly using a key -- which would have made more sense in the film as well, since he killed the motel-clerk. Moss waits until he enters, and manages to catch him off guard. Moss and Chigurh face one another, with the killer kept at gun-point, hands raised. It is here, through Moss's eyes, that the reader is provided with their first and only description of Chigurh: "(...)an expensive pair of ostrichskin boots(...) Pressed jeans... The man turned his head and gazed at Moss. Blue eyes. Serene. Dark hair. Something about him faintly exotic. Beyond Moss's experience." I won't explain how the stand-off ends. This is not McCarthy's best work... that honor goes to 'Blood Meridian'. But it's one of the most powerful crime novels ever written, and it is far more than a crime novel. Norman Mailer, Thomas Pynchon and Denis Johnson have all immersed themselves in the genre, and written excellent books. But 'No Country for Old Men' tops them all, in my opinion (and those are three of my favorite writers). Even though writer Michael Chabon, a brilliant author in his own right and a fan of McCarthy, dismissed 'No Country for Old Men' in his essay collection 'Maps and Legends' as an unfortunate effort unworthy of his talent, I think the novel will be remembered differently by most. Now that it has been adapted, and is one of the greatest films ever made, it will be nearly impossible to separate them. But this is a novel that deserves to stand alone. More Art-book Reviews More Comic-book Reviews More Novel Reviews A Mysterious Review That Might Be Related to the Book in Question, But Written By Someone Else Entirely ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    What’s the most you ever saw lost on a coin toss? In the first three scenes of the novel, we are introduced to our three main characters. We are also shown in those three scenes, a matter involving them with death. The first character discusses how he only ever sent one person to be executed, and how he talked with the boy several times before the execution and personally has no stomach for the situation even knowing that he was guilty. The second character is shown successfully killing someone What’s the most you ever saw lost on a coin toss? In the first three scenes of the novel, we are introduced to our three main characters. We are also shown in those three scenes, a matter involving them with death. The first character discusses how he only ever sent one person to be executed, and how he talked with the boy several times before the execution and personally has no stomach for the situation even knowing that he was guilty. The second character is shown successfully killing someone close up, strangling them and having no feelings on the matter. The third is presented hunting, shoots at a deer, maybe grazes it (he’s not fully sure), but the deer gets away. (view spoiler)[This ladies and gentlemen, will be a metaphor for the rest of the book, as it pretty much tells you what happens to all. Bell will have no stomach for his job, Chigurh succeeds in his goals, and Moss seems like a few times he may getaway with it, but ultimately misses. (hide spoiler)]McCarthy does something truly special with this book. He writes a truly literary southern noir. It’s faced paced, exciting, nihilistic, poetic and beautiful all at once. Some of the scenes, particularly those involving Bell’s monologues I read, and then immediately reread. They’re melancholy, but beautiful pieces. In fact, the entire book could be described that way. The writing is stunning, though often using short burst sentences; he never wastes a word even when he does use longer speeches or flowery prose. I’m personally not a huge fan of his stylistic choices (I like quotation marks and punctuation damn it!), but I do not deny his skills as a writer, and I find that even if I couldn’t stand to read multiple books in a row like this, the style works well enough for him that I ignore it for the duration of one of his novels. Now I’m about to go deep into spoiler territory, so for those of you who wish to remain in the dark about the plot, let me just say that this is an excellent read. Fast paced, but poetic and well worth your time. An amazing experience and a rare full 5/5 stars. (view spoiler)[Okay, I’ve seen the movie. I thought I would be ready for the ending. I was not. I was NOT. This is one of the most depressing things I have ever read. The fact that our cat and mouse game between Moss and Chigurh ends between scene breaks really hit me hard. We cut away as a conversation ends, and next we know Bell is pulling up to the crime scene and looking for Moss’ body. We’re only given a brief explanation about what happened, how he was killed by some nameless side character. He wasn’t even killed by our main antagonist… he wasn’t given a proper death scene and no closure. It ended in a case of bad luck on his part, and that made it all the more shocking.Add to that, the movie ends shortly after this. In the case of the novel, there are still another 40 pages of Bell trying to come to terms with what happened and try to find any way to pick up the case, all for it to come to nothing. For disillusionment to set in and for him to just give up. It’s heartbreaking reading these scenes. This is the sort of ending the author has to earn for it to be effective and not feel like a cop out, and McCarthy pulls it off with grace.One last thing while we’re in spoiler country. I’ve seen many theories that Chigurh is possibly the incarnation of death. Given the metaphoric nature of this novel, I feel it’s appropriate to think along these lines, but I disagree. He gets injured and has too many random accidents, and while yes he seems unstoppable, in the end he’s not really given closure either. Hell, the car accident at the end shows him to be just as much caught up in random violence… which makes me think he’s the incarnation of bad luck. It shows in how he flips coins to decide some lives or how Moss keeps escaping only to have left something behind. Chigurh is bad luck for all involved, and when they are all dead, he’s even bad luck for himself. And to a certain extent, isn't that even more terrifying? (hide spoiler)]

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