[[ Free kindle ]] No Country for Old MenAuthor Cormac McCarthy – Cheapnikeshoes.co

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. Coac McCartney s No Country for Old Men is a quick but intense read For those that saw the Cohen brothers movie first as I did years ago , the book is as bleak and violent as the movie was Chigurh is probably up there with The Joker as one of the most evil, conscience free bad guys in literature He kills willfully and without a shred of remorse before slinking back into the woodwork unseen and uncaught Moss is a tragic, but heroic character who gets caught up with something far beyond his abilities which are great to say the least to control Bell is precisely how he was portrayed in the film tired, old, jaded The writing is typically devoid of quotation marks but full of wonderful descriptions It was a big redtailAny small thing might venture to cross Closing in on the prey against the sun Shadowless Lost in the concentration of the hunter P 45 This attention of Bell for the dead hawk mirrors his attention to the various victims of the cartel and Chigurh Anything can be an instrument, Chigurh said Small things Things you wouldn t even notice They pass from hand to hand People don t pay attention And then one day there s an accounting And after that nothing is the same P 57 This is sort of the leitmotif of the entire novel Nothing is ever the same Moss and the hitchhiker What do I gotta do for it You don t gotta do nothin Even a blind sow finds a acorn ever once in a while P 233 Moss never asks for help and yet throws himself into what he knows is a deadend quest for a goal he is not even aware of, other than knowing that he will never reach it.The last time we see Chigurh with Carla Jean, he again leaves her fate to the toss of a coin I only have one way to live It doesn t allow for special cases A coin toss perhaps In this case to small purpose Most people believe there cannot be such a person You can see what a problem that must be for them How to prevail over that which you refuse to acknowledge the existence of P 260 As in most of McCarthy s novels, there is not really a moral to be found here There is inescapable evil in the world and at some point you place yourself on one side or the other When you straddle the line as Moss did, things usually do not come out well Nonetheless, it is powerful reading and of course was made into an epic film Hard to forget 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 3 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 Sherriff 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 Viet Nam 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 Viet Nam, Moss knows the feeling well.Anton Chigurh, also a Viet Nam veteran, 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 necrophilia, 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 Sherriff 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 speakin a language they couldnt even understand, well, they just flat out wouldnt 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 3 men , aexpansive and darker range American novelist Cormac McCarthy Born 1933 Here s an unusual encounter.I met Cormac McCarthy at the Oscars this year, and we had a very pleasant little chat This was an important moment for me not only because he is the author of Blood Meridian, No Country For Old Men and The Road, all books I worship, but also because McCarthy is famous for his almost Salinger like reclusive tendencies He does not do interviews nor does he show up on The Tonight Show He doesn t walk red carpets, tour colleges on the lecture circuit, or do any of the public events that come with being one of the nation s greatest prose stylists.He writes these remarkable, beautiful, elegiac tragedies, steeped in prose that at times become Biblical in their sweep and intensity Then he stays utterly quiet about them With few exceptions he did a New York Times interview in 1992 and sat down with Oprah Winfrey last June I saw him at the Oscars on Sunday, just a face in the crowd gathered in the three story lobby of the Kodak Theatre before the show, where champagne flutes were being clinked by the beautiful horde in anticipation of the big night.Of course, the Coen brothers adaptation of No Country For Old Men was up for many of the top prizes, and that is why McCarthy was making this rare public appearance At first, I wasn t sure it was really him, and then I lost sight of him A female voice over the sound system announced that there were 45 minutes before the start of the telecast Soon after that, he vanished.My job on this night is to be a reporter covering the backstage area, trying to capture true behind the scenes stories that no one sees After cruising around a bit, talking with host Jon Stewart, making sure I didn t miss Jack Nicholson s annual pass through last year he showed up with a shaved head I ducked into the main hall of the theater I am one of the few reporters with a pass that opens pretty much all doors I spend most of the night in the wings of the stage, catching candid moments from the winners and presenters, chatting with the folks I know or have interviewed before, gathering the backstory for USA Today s Oscar lead the next day.The theater was mostly empty A few dozen seat fillers were lined up along one side of the theater, getting instructions for the night, and some crew guys were checking the camera rigs near the foot of the stage.McCarthy was sitting by himself, alongside his young son, John, the inspiration, incidentally, for The Road about four rows from the front, with no one else around One crew member walked by and shook his hand, and the author seemed genuinely pleased to chat On one hand I thought I should leave him be He is famously press averse, as I said, and I didn t see any value in trying to disturb him My job is to do interviews, to gather anecdotes from the scene, but if someone doesn t want to talk, I try not to hassle The New York Times, in its interview 15 years ago, described him as a gregarious recluse who has lots of friends who know that he likes to be left alone On the other hand, when you are at these events as a reporter, you are also constantly aware of your status as an outsider Not only that, but when you come from a little town outside of Pittsburgh and find yourself in the glittering swirl of a setting such as the Academy Awards, you can t help but have a little pang of squirming desperation It s easy to feel lonely in these crowds.McCarthy s charming reaction to the crew worker who recognized him suggested he was not shy or hostile I don t think this Pulitzer winning author needed company from the likes of me, but he is a human being and one I admire so I decided to just put away the notebook and take a chance on saying hello.I approached respectfully and said that I was a reporter, but not one who wanted to interview him He smiled, stood up and shook my hand What s your name he asked, and I told him Bresnihan he asked Is that Irish No, it s Slovak, I told him Breznican, he repeated How is that spelled Momentarily unable to remember the letter order of my own name, I looked at my credential He said isn t it interesting how it could sound so much like the Irish name Bresnihan and yet be from somewhere so far away I agreed that was a funny coincidence Is this your son I asked, leaning over to wave at the little boy He reminded me of the little kid from There Will Be Blood a round head with neatly combed hair and wise little eyes This is John John, this is Anthony, McCarthy said, and I shook the kid s hand He had a big smile on his face McCarthy asked me what paper I was writing for, and I told him, gesturing back to the stage where I would spend most of the night, describing my duties in brief.Then I told him that I just wanted to shake his hand, to thank him for all the remarkable work, and wish the both of them an enjoyable evening He said, It should be fun It should be trippy, and we both laughed.He seemed pretty relaxed, and that was such a great line very unexpected So I took another chance and said, You know, I am writing about the scene here tonight, and if you didn t mind, could I quote you Could I get your thoughts on all this If he d said no, that he d rather not, that would have been fine I tried not to put the pressure on I know the guy s reputation Showing up at Thomas Pynchon s door is not going to persuade him to pose for a snapshot, you know But McCarthy didn t balk He looked around and waved one arm from the stage to the lobby What s there to say I m at the Oscars and I m not even in the film business He said again that he thought it would be fun, and knowing how stressed all the nominees have been I said, yeah, it should.After all the snark and cynicism of Hollywood, it was a relief to hear some pure cheerfulness for a change I m grateful he didn t shoo me away, and hope he doesn t regret chatting or me describing the encounter here I told him the thing that surprised me the most about the film was how similar the scenes in the movie seemed to the book, that the way I had pictured certain sequences were almost exactly as they appeared in the film which means the Coens must have followed even the most subtle of descriptions from the novel.McCarthy said, Well, you can never put a whole book on the screen, but said he admired the movie they made from it They got the heart of it, I told him, and he nodded, saying that he was surprised anyone wanted to make the movie at all, since the book has such an unusual ending I m just glad people didn t run screaming from the theater, he said, chuckling I said it was the best kind of ending one that gives you something to talk about later.With that, I decided to cut these two fellows loose I could have stood there and talked to him from then until the end of the three and a half hour show, grilling him about his stories, hearing the greater writer s thoughts on his work That, he really would have hated And I knew that was never going to happen anyway.I wished them both a good evening, and waved good bye Part of me wondered if it had not been a missed opportunity So few people get to encounter him, should I not have gathered some thought or nugget from him, some insight into the mind that has so eloquently pondered the violent and cruel tendencies of our species Where are we headed Why are we this way What s next Where did these tales originate in his synapses But that s heavy business, and interesting to me, but probably not to him Surely he would have hated it and has said so in the past I decided beforehand that I wasn t going to talk to the great author, I was going to talk to a guy I respected I only rolled the dice and asked to quote him because he ultimately did seem so friendly and happy to be there, and it seemed okay to ask For someone whose writing explores our darkest natures, I enjoyed the opportunity to share an exchange about a happy moment McCarthy doesn t attend events that are held in his honor, and yet here he was at the Oscars and he was the first one standing and clapping in honor of the Coens when they won best picture.Just meeting the man was a treat Glen Hansard, the actor singer from Once who won the best song trophy that night, told me that when he met Bob Dylan, he told Dylan This means as much to me as when you met Woody, referring to the iconic folk singer Woody Guthrie I don t pretend to be on that level, but as a writer getting to meet McCarthy, there was nothing better for me that night, despite all the other famous folks around.My brief, light encounter reminded me in some ways of Allen Ginsberg, describing in his poem Death News the time he and Jack Kerouac and some of the other Beats met William Carlos Williams and inquired wise words W.C.W looked out his window and said, There s a lot of bastards out there My exchange was muchlighthearted, but no less surprising I might have expected McCarthy to be grim,stone faced than he was, or to find him brutally uncomfortable with conversation As it turned out, he was very warm and kind, surprisingly so And I enjoyed meeting his little boy and seeing a father and son sharing a fun night out McCarthy and I didn t exchange any secrets of life, but we exchanged pleasantries In a world where cruelty is too often the top commodity, that s something, at least I hope he felt the same UPDATE I m an author myself now, and my novel Brutal Youth comes out in June 2014 If you liked this story, maybe you ll be interested in finding me here on Goodreads. Cormac McCarthy has created again the perfect villain, this time in the form of a former special forces killer named Anton Chigurh Like Judge Holden and Glanton in Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, Chigurh is intelligent, resourceful and utterly devoted to violence and chaos Yet, like the antagonists in Blood Meridian, McCarthy has imbued in Chigurh a strange integrity, a devotion to a natural order that I think is McCarthy s embodied illustration of evil a man cut off and separated from the love of man or God McCarthy s lean, muscular narrative style is in masterful form for this dialogue on good and evil, and like other McCarthy novels, he pays no mind to popular ideals of what a story should say or do McCarthy is the quintessential post modernist with his bold disregard for traditional plot structure and unsettling d nouement There is no warm and fuzzy Hollywood ending here, no cathartic summation Mccarthy leaves the reader to ponder this modern tragedy without a clear sense of resolution, this is the present day, cultural Lamentation of Jeremiah, but without the prophet s faith. 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 expectedBesides, I liked the movie better. Is No Country for Old Men a great book It is Is Cormac McCarthy becoming one of my favorite authors He is You reckon I outta readof his books I do I don t know why I love this book so much I surely dont Read it bout three times now Bout three times or so Dont ever seem to get old does it sheriff It dont It surely don t Got a bad man in it Flips a coin Scares people Call it It s your lucky penny Books got an old west flavor to it with a contemporary tone all at the same time Feels older than it is Feels like it coulda been written decades ago, not this century or no time like that I always enjoyed the movie too Always loved those Coen brothers and what they did with the story And other stories Sometimes I like to pour a cup of lukewarm black coffee into a styrofoam cup and watch that movie Always takes me outta this world with its problems and makes me feel a little better I dont reckon I put that right It aint a feel good story or nothin.It surely aint Should you read this book You should Should you watch the movie.You should There aint many books out there written as good as this one Ive read a few of em There aint. 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 the prototypical Boogeyman a walking, talking Michael Myers c.a 1978 by 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. 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 McCarthyNote 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 lotthan 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 nothought 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. 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 ContainAs 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