Fiction Book Review – No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
I like to read a book before I see the motion picture, but in this case I saw the movie first. A few years back. Wait, 12 years back. The movie was incredible, like most of the Coen Brothers’ movies. After recently reading “The Road” for the fifth time, I also went and grabbed No Country in the Kindle store, and as it turns out, I am SO glad I did. The movie was slightly different, but got the key scenes. I mean, the movie is masterful in its own right. The book is always better, and that is the case, but I recommend seeing the movie first and then reading the book.
The story begins when Llewelyn Moss stumbles across the aftermath of a drug shootout while out antelope hunting. He follows a trail out into the desert at the end of which he finds a dead man and 2.4 million dollars. What he doesn’t find (until it’s too late) is the bug hidden in the money. Soon he has a dauntless hit man on his tail. The bodies pile up like cord wood. This part of the story is pretty conventional. Llewelyn Moss is likable and smart. He seems to anticipate the killer’s every move, until he meets a fourteen-year-old, female hitchhiker, who proves to be too much of a distraction. – Dave Schwinghammer, at Amazon.
1. Cover – Junk. 0/5. I think a requirement for writing a classic is a cover that absolutely couldn’t be worse. Between this one and “The Road” Cormac certainly has it down to a science.
2. Believability Overall – High. 5/5. Not that it was perfectly believable, it all became too much by the end, but as it went on I kept asking myself – is this real? I love when I can’t figure it out 100%. I like to get lost in a story because it happens to infrequently. This one almost had me completely, but there were a number of things that finally added up and I knew it was a game… fiction. The rate at which the security detail for the circus was throwing people from a moving train, got out of hand after a while. It just wasn’t believable as it repeatedly happened.
3. Character Development? Great. 5/5. We find out bits and pieces as the movie progresses, which is like being spoon fed, but I always liked spoon-feeding. As with any story, I wish I knew more about the characters, especially the psychotic killer, but in a way it adds to the mystery of where in the world the guy came from.
4. Character Believability – High. 5/5. Everyone was right on. The choices of actors and actresses for the motion picture was right on as well.
Dialogue was exceptionally good. Cormac knows the Western USA!
5. Research – great. 5/5. I couldn’t find anything that didn’t match. Nothing that didn’t make sense.
6. Coolness Factor – 5/5. We’ve all wanted to steal a few million dollars from drug-runners and get away with it. The fact that the sickest and most capable man in the world is after you when you do, makes this a supercool movie that haunts me even now, months after reading it.
7. Amazon Reviews – 4.3 out of 5 Stars, 913 reviewers. Apparently .7 of the reviewers are illiterate.
8. Reviewers – great reviews from individual readers and the media. Here are some…
Over 10,000,000 copies in print worldwide
#1 New York Times Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A Newsday Favorite Book of 2006
A USA Today Bestseller
A Major Motion Picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz
9. Feature Film – Yes, of the same name. Released in . Director: . Writers: Cormac McCarthy (novel). Stars: .
10. Similar Writers – Lee Child? I’m trying to think of someone playing in the same ballpark as McCarthy, and there just isn’t anyone. Harlan Coban I also enjoy. Thomas Harris.
Similar Stories: Can’t think of any.
What I Learned About Writing: You can write however you damn well please. Stories don’t need to follow traditional outlines. The killer can get away, or die in an accident – up to you. I absolutely love CM’s writing. My favorite writer by far.