“The dead man was lying against a rock with a nickelplated government .45 automatic lying cocked in the grass between his legs.”
Well, if you have watched the movie No Country for Old Men, the novel will not hold so much interest for you. However, if you haven’t watched the movie yet, there is a suggestion for you. Rather watch the movie than reading this book because the movie will be an amazing experience and the novel is, unfortunately, only for those readers who have patience in them by birth!
One has to agree that there are very few novelists and authors like Cormac McCarthy today – he is, without a shred of doubt, one of the living legends! His novels, often limited to certain certified genres, are for a certain section of readers. Still, he has made a name for himself and he cannot be signalled as a novelist (in otherwise terms). One can understand the limitations of his works and the boundaries are defined because he mainly focuses on writing for the screen rather than for the readers.
No Country for Old Men is not an exception. This novel takes the readers back to 1980s and the scene is mainly set along the wall that Trump could not yet construct – the Mexican-American border and the illegal drug mafias. The usual stuff that we find in the Western movies is there – a Sheriff, a hitman, and a few war veterans. The novel is slow but things do happen – crime, investigation, dejection, and a few others.
“When he woke it was dark. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and sat listening. He rose and walked to the window and pulled the curtain back slightly and looked out. Deep shadows. Silence. Nothing.”
At times, the author takes the readers for a scenery long ride and events are over-stretched. However, for the readers who are patient and have been reading Hardy recently, this may well become a joy ride… Cormac McCarthy can keep a section of readers engaged with his wit and vision and the slow-moving plot and his nothing-doing characters. However, for modern readers, someone who reads the book today and has been habitual of reading fast-paced books, the novel holds too little to hold them and keep them excited about reading it. They might, in extreme scenarios, leave the book aside after a while and pick up something else – maybe a Dan Brown’s piece.
However, to do justice with the old man, I have to accept that the stubborn reader in me finished the novel and was not disappointed to the extent I thought I might be (when I began). The novel has symmetry about the beginning, the development of the plot and its conclusion. So, if you love classics and you know how classics are, you may read the novel to the end and be happy… you can get a copy of the novel if you insist reading it rather than watching the movie (that won Oscars), you can get it from Amazon India:
review by Nishant for Indian Book Critics