Book Reviews #1 – ‘No Country For Old Men’, Cormac McCarthy

‘No Country For Old Men’, Cormac McCarthy – 7.5/10

Finished on: 25.01.2016

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men

Cormac McCarthy: hugely acclaimed author, yet this was the first book by him I picked up and decided to read. This book ticked off the ‘First book you see in a bookstore’ category on my reading list for 2016, and it really was the very first book I noticed, strolling through the charity shop’s neat ‘Books and Entertainment’ section with a fresh bullet journal and reading list in hand.

2015 had been a particularly dry year in terms of books; I was uncertain if it was the lack of new, interesting material in front of me or lack of motivation that resulted in an incredibly low book count, but I was certain in the chill of the January air that 2016 was going to be different. And I definitely started off in the right direction with this book.

McCarthy’s 2005 Thriller novel was adapted for the 2007 Coen Brothers movie of the same title, and having spotted that on Netflix, I decided to carry the book to the cashier’s counter. My next 15 days were shaken up by thoughts of the drug-exchange-gone-wrong, that abandoned scene that Llewelyn Moss stumbled upon at the beginning of the story, and the innumerable consequences that stayed on his trail.

The tale is told through three viewpoints (triple P.O.V), and though difficult to follow when I was unfamiliar with the characters, this became a powerful part of the book; an incredibly rewarding technique in the interwoven plot lines. As the story develops, the pieces shuffle themselves around until finally you can see the picture.

But that doesn’t mean that this novel left me without questions, or wasn’t thought provoking because the pieces came together, in fact being able to compare the image of life the novel painted with that which I had maybe expected at the start of reading was invaluable.
The last chapters and exchanges of dialogue in particular left me with that rare but priceless feeling of a book stretching its fingers into your mind and just squeezing, until it feels like your eyes are about to pop out as you stare into the last full stop. That was how the first chapter of my 2016 reading adventure ended.

I gave this book 7.5 for the plot mainly, though the description and dialogue in some parts were simply written to be read and remembered (in the best way). I would have rated it higher but I think some of that would be down to deception, it being my first book of 2016 and all!

LIKED: Description of action and characterisation throughout the whole novel.
WEIRD: There were no speech marks? Led to confusion but I ended up appreciating this by the end.

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