Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Review of No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (Picador, 2005)
No Country for Old Men is a powerful tale of greed and corruption, a lament to the American dream polluted by drugs and violence. McCarthy writes in a simple, no frills style that is deceptively rich and layered. It is literary in its construction, but doesn’t resort to long words or complex styling. Its power is in its voice. It is storytelling as heard on the back porch or in the local bar by a seasoned raconteur using everyday language. McCarthy captures the lyricism and cadence of speech and thought, no more so than when he swaps into the narrator’s voice of the increasingly disillusioned Sheriff Bell. The characterisation is excellent and the plotting is captivating. My only gripe is that the story becomes a little derailed towards the end, with one discordant jump in the story that lacked explanation, and a general trailing off in the narrative. Overall, a compelling read that wasn’t quite sustained throughout.