31 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Kerry reviewed No Country for Old Men (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Helpful Score: 13
Excellent story. Has much violence but does not overly dwell on gory details. Well edited, moves along at a brisk pace. Comes close to a classic good verse evil story.
Basic situation. After drug deal gone bad, likable Llewelyn Moss finds load of cash and decides to keep it - poor decision. Hit man, sociopath and aspiring angel of death, Anton Chigurh - pronounced like sugar - pursues money and Moss with real terminator like relentlessness. Old time Sheriff Ed Tom Bell pursues both hoping to rescue Moss from the evil that follows.
McCarthy does not use quotation marks, I did not find that a problem after I read on for awhile. Expect some typical McCarthy philosophizing (via Sheriff's thoughts and reflections) as well. Recently made into an equally good movie by Coen brothers, who also made FARGO. Movie won Academy Award for Best Picture. Coen Brothers won Best Director and Adapted Screenplay.
McCarthy is, hands down, the U.S.'s most important living novelist. Pynchon, Schmynchon. NCFOM is spare and vivid. It's chilling and funny. It's innocent and corrupt.
The story as reviewed by others is just the surface. It's also a story of fathers and sons, regret, futility, and --- in a perverse way --- hopefulness. I loved this book so much, I read it twice back-to-back.
A "good old boy" finds a truck surrounded by dead men and, inside, two million dollars. He takes the money and sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence.
A violent, sometimes disturbing book, but a good one with a story that keeps you turning the pages to the end.
I saw the movie first, but even that prior knowledge did not prepare me for the impact of the writing. Spectacular and so totally original. Surprisingly, the movie stays very true to the book (deftly editing for length, of course).
The best part about reading the book, for me, was the narration by the sheriff. It is a person speaking to you, not a character in a book, with all of the 'folksy' turns of phrase and a simple, authentic point of view that makes me want to sit, have a cup of coffee and talk for hours. Thoroughly enjoyable read.
The second winner by McCarthy I have read. This is the tale of a drug deal gone awry, a good old boy who takes the money, an assassin, and a local sheriff. The tale is gripping and explosive. The writing style takes some getting used to and sometimes you don't know who is talking but overall it is a great read.
This book has been made into a movie, and while I would not want to see it, the book made excellent reading. It is exceptionally violent, but McCarthy gets the reader to deeply care about the characters and what is happening to them. His style of writing is at first a litle disconcerting, since he leaves out most punctuation marks, i.e. apostrophies, quotation marks, and even some upper case. This is at first difficult to get used to and at times confusing as to who is actually doing the talking. But there are some pages of conversation that consist of all short sentences, and the reader can appreciate the absence of clutter the quotation marks would create.
The story flows quickly and is exciting. It is told from the perspective of a Texas sheriff who must try to pursue the drug dealers that left bodies in the desert outside his small town. One of the locals, Moss, becomes involved when he takes the drug money he finds at the site of the murders. From then on, it is a case of cat and mouse with Moss attempting to escape the drug overlords who are trying to kill him and get their money back, with the sheriff always just a step behind.
This is the second Cormac McCarthy book I have read. I don't normally read this type of book, but definitly liked the excitement and fast pace. Most of his books are centered in the southwest part of the country - New Mexico, Texas, etc. I will read this author again. D.
I had seen the movie previously and was awestruck by the entire cast, especially Javier Bardem, portraying the terrifying Anton Chigurh. It was then I knew I must read the book. Yet, I read McCarthy's "The Road" first and was blown away. The man is indeed a genius his work is dark and quite haunting and will stay with you possibly longer than you'd like.
I was very disappointed in this book. It gripped me with the story but when I tried to read it, the story jumped back and forth between characters without really building them first and I was very confused. The story as it unfolded didn't seem to have much substance because I couldn't get past who was who. I'll rent the movie - maybe that will clear it up.
This is a book that I had an extremely hard time rating and evaluating. I should begin by saying that the story told here is absolutely riveting. In fact, the movie followed it very closely, so if you saw that, you have a fairly good idea of what I mean. Yet, it is far more powerful and compelling in novel form. So, why the difficulty? Well, Cormac McCarthy's writing style is extremely difficult to read, especially if you are not used to it. This was the first book I have read by him as an author, and while I did get far more used to the writing as I continued with the book, it was extremely frustrating at the start. I hope nobody misunderstands me. It's not so different as to be unreadable, by any means. He just uses little punctuation other than periods, including no quote marks and often no indication of who is talking other than via tracking it out yourself. In many ways, this forces you to slow down as you read and think about what you are reading, even as the writing itself pretends to be simple even while pulling you into a complex narrative. Once I adjusted to the style used for the writing, I was able to enjoy the book far more freely.
I should also note, the violence in the movie did not come from out of nowhere. In the book, it is also very straightforward and in your face, with no apologies made or punches pulled. To be fair, it is also not done just for the sake of violence or overly focused on or expanded upon. The violence is to drive the narrative or contribute to characterization. Yet, it must be mentioned that, just like the movie, this is not a story for the faint of heart. But, if a gritty narrative with powerful development is up your alley, this is definitely a worthy choice.
Tonya S. (sissels) reviewed No Country for Old Men (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Helpful Score: 1
Starting each section with the inner musings of an aging sheriff dealing with the world around him before going to those things he is dealing with McCarthy asks deep questions about the condition of our society and how it has come to the place it is. He asks why it appears that so many of the younger generation have lost the sense of personal responsibility and community accountability that characterized our society in the past. He wonders where our current state of society will take us. All of these serious questions wrapped in a gripping story of mystery and suspense.
Reading this book was a chore. For some reason, the author eschews the use of quotation marks and other common punctuation devices. Attempts to determine which character is speaking, or deciding if the words are spoken or thoughts of one character or another, just take more effort.
I haven't a clue as to why the author is considered a great writer.
However, as the Coen brothers proved, this book contains a terrific story - although it is quite difficult to find! My advice: skip the book; watch the movie.
I saw the movie and was uncertain about a few events in the movie. Reading the book solved the mysteries. I really enjoyed this book. The writing style is a bit unusual but having seen the movie allowed me to keep up. Good read!
This a gritty depressing action drama. Thye action was believable and the characters well realized.
I think the author was trying to make some social commentary, but it was along the lines of "the world is going to hell in a hand basket". This guy obviously an older man who is out of touch with modern reality.
This was a good book. It took me a while to get used to his writing style of no/little punctuation (quotation marks, commas, apostraphies etc.) I was less excited about the parts of the book that were being narrated by the Sheriff than the actual story. I was also very unhappy with how the book ended. Still, it was a good book and I'll see the movie which is supposed to be great and dead on with the book.
This was one instance where I was glad I watched the movie before reading the book. The movie was an excellent adaptation of the book. I really liked both but I felt like I got more out of the book after seeing the movie.
While I fully realize that not all stories have a happy ending, I really prefer them. This is a great book otherwise, very well written with the suspense building all the way to the (unsatisfying) ending. McCarthy's style of writing hasn't improved any -- still no quotes or quotation marks or much else in the way of punctuation. It makes reading a little confusing at times because you lose track of who is speaking. But as always, his writing keeps you reading. If I had liked the ending better I'd have given it 5 stars.
This is a very good story. If there was any confusion after watching the movie, this book will sort it out. I was a little put off by Mccarthy's writing style. He does not use quotation marks, commas, or apostrophes. So during his lengthy character conversations it is hard to keep track of who is talking and if they are talking or if it's narrative. I'm not sure why he likes that style. It's like he's snubbing traditional grammar. That's very iconoclastic but a little ridiculous. I'm not sure I want to read anymore of his work because of this style.
No Country for Old Men started out extraordinary and I couldn't put it down. Moss and his wife were two of my favorite characters. I loved Texas even before reading this book, but would love to go back even more now after finishing it. I thought the ending dragged for a bit in the last few chapters. The rest of the book sucked me in.
McCarty is a fine writer, one who builds his characters in such a way that the reader quickly becomes a friend, foe, victim, or cheerleader. Yet, rarely provides a glimpse of what the character's physical nature is, other than gender. Faulkner did this with many characters, especially 'Eula Varner'.
Far into this book, McCarty carries one major player into the clothing store. He picks out something to wear. For the first time, one sees what the charcter looks like from his clothes' size. Silly example, but demonstrates how the reader pays attention as the pages go by.
McCarty's prose style does stream along too. It's a good read.
This is the first of McCarthy's books I've read. I started to read it about a year ago, gave up on the beginning of it and then picked it up again yesterday. Despite finding the beginning hard to get into, once I started to get to know Moss and his wife and found out what happened with the deaths in the desert, I was on my way to discovering a new author and a different style of writing. I actually didn't notice the lack of punctuation for a while. It made reading easier.
McCarthy's simple style in this book was easy to read and follow. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell's thoughts were some of the best parts of the book for me. Although he struggled with his guilt over what he had done in the war and felt he didn't deserve a medal, he still remained a good man and really loved his wife and was loved in return. It's hard for older people, even though Bell isn't that old, to accept changes around them. Bell hadn't grown up with the drug problem and all the crime and violence that came with it. Now he was in the middle of several murders that occured over a large amount of drugs that were in one of the vehicles and were taken, and a lot of money that Moss had stolen and was on the run to keep. No matter where he went, a murderous man named Chigurh was after him as well as a hit man named Wells. Between the two of them they left a trail of death behind them a mile long.
Some of the things that Moss did didn't make a lot of sense to me. He was good at hiding the money, but not at thinking things through. Did he really think he would get to the point where the two killers wouldn't be looking for him and wouldn't retaliate on others? It was fairly easy to see what was going to happen, especially when he took the hitchhiking girl with him and put her life at risk.
I'm glad I read this book first. I intend to read more of McCarthy's books now that I've read this one. Usually I read the book before seeing the movie, but I saw the movie and want to see it again now that I've read the book. Four stars for this one.