Monday, October 23, 2006

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men borrows a Yates line for its title. It’s another CMC novel in which evil wins, or at least gets away. It’s also basically a pulp thriller, fundamentally in the same vein as Jack Crow or Travis McGee. Lots of bullets fly, there’s a little sex, and some Mexican drug lords.

Of course, the esteemed Mr. McCarthy’s language renders all of this in a tone that imparts neobiblical weight to each action, though with nowhere near the beauty or complexity of some of his other novels. And in any case, you don't ponder too deeply the wordsmithing here. Fundamentally this is still mostly action.

What happens is: a young man stumbles across the aftermath of a drug war killing in rural Texas. He takes the money. Worse, he decides to bring water to a dying man. This dooms him, and everyone else. The resulting tale is a man-on-the-run type chase thriller. It’s exciting, but really not in the same league as the rest of his novels.

And in the end, aside from, “darkness always prevails”, I’m not sure what kinda take home lesson I’m really left with… And best of all, since McCarthy seems to be on a bit of a roll, there’s a new novel already out, which might well shed further light into this darkness!

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