Great Reading: No Country For Old Men

I just started reading Cormack McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men”. Now this book has been around a little while. All my American pals have already read it I think. But here in Mexico, where we live on mañana-mañana-time I feel justified writing about a book that’s already been read by my American brethren.

I love this book. Each page that turns signals the coming of the end. The settings and descriptions remind me of Tony Hillerman, who’s work I love. And the depth of the characters and some of their particular speech patterns, and their tragedy remind me of William Faulkner.

William Faulkner raised me without knowing it. My father was a writer and was pretty widely published in his genre, and HE loved, lived, breathed Faulkner and would-have-smoked-him if he could. I didn’t realize this when I was young. But as an adult my mom handed me some Faulkner and told me how my father couldn’t get enough of him. And when I read Faulkner I understood the rest about my father, he just made sense after that. The rural southern upbringing, the need to escape to a cultured place and the failure to adapt to it, the poverty of the soul and the depth of spirit, the misery.

So I’m racing through this book, loving every page that flies by. And knowing that the Coen brothers have made this book into a movie gives the whole thing another edge. I’ve seen every Coen brothers movie made (I think) and many of them I’ve seen something between several and many times. The Coen brothers went to the same college I attended, so seeing their movies was pretty much a social requirement during college. Fortunately they are so good that continuing to see their films has not been any work at all.

The opening pages of the book read like a Coen brothers’ film. There are plenty of intelligent characters who feel real and tangible and whose dramas and insights make me think. And there are a lot of guns, all kinds of guns. And there’s so much action that it’s hard, very hard, to decide where to stick in the book mark and end that reading session.

This morning the one and only reason I put the book down was because someone, who owes me money, called and wanted to meet within an hour. Not much short of that or a family emergency would have convinced me to put that book down this morning. In fact, forget blogging, I’m going to go read it right now.

And I won’t tell you how it ends because you gotta go see the movie, which for some asinine reason doesn’t come out in Mexico until February (!). I may just have to fly to the States to see it before that.

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