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No Country for Old Men (2005)

by Cormac McCarthy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,240293612 (4.04)343
Llewelyn Moss is hunting antelope near the Texas/Mexico border when he stumbles upon several dead men, a big stash of heroin, and more than two million dollars in cash. He takes off with the money--and the hunter becomes the hunted. A drug cartel hires a former Special Forces agent to track down the loot, and a ruthless killer joins the chase as well. Also looking for Moss is the aging Sheriff Bell, a World War II veteran who may be Moss' only hope for survival.… (more)
Recently added byib4, BookGuy1701, jocelynnear, LancasterDepository, P.A., Azrail, taryn_whitt, private library
  1. 42
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    PghDragonMan: We all think money will solve our problems. Sometimes money creates problems . . . especialy when it's other peoples' money.
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    kjuliff: If you are into well-written violence. I’m not usually but these works show it can be done
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    sturlington: The authors have similar styles, and both thrillers explore questions of fate and chance.
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» See also 343 mentions

English (272)  Italian (9)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (293)
Showing 1-5 of 272 (next | show all)
Just Call It, Friendo
Review of the Vintage eBook edition (orig. November 29, 2007, but updated as of late 2022*) of the Alfred A. Knopf hardcover original (July 19, 2005).

The man looked at Chigurh’s eyes for the first time. Blue as lapis. At once glistening and totally opaque. Like wet stones.
You need to call it, Chigurh said. I cant call it for you. It wouldnt be fair. It wouldnt even be right. Just call it.
I didnt put nothin up.
Yes you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life. You just didnt know it. You know what the date is on this coin?
No.
It’s nineteen fifty-eight. It’s been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it’s here. And I’m here. And I’ve got my hand over it. And it’s either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it.
I dont know what it is I stand to win.
In the blue light the man’s face was beaded thinly with sweat. He licked his upper lip.
You stand to win everything, Chigurh said. Everything.


I read most of my Cormac McCarthys back in my pre-GR and pre-reviewing days, so when No Country for Old Men popped up as a Kindle Deal of the Day recently I couldn't resist a revisit to highlight some favourite passages and compare it to the more recent viewings of the film that I've also enjoyed.

This ne0-Western saga was as chilling and relentless as ever. Set in 1970, Vietnam War vet Llewelyn Moss makes a bad decision in scooping up a satchel of $2.4 Million in narco-dollars when he comes upon a deal-gone-bad with no survivors in the Texas desert. Both the American and Mexican sides of the cartel send hitmen, bounty hunters and sicarios on the trail of the money which is handily tagged with a location transponder. Among the hunters is the psychopath Anton Chigurh who lives by a code of his own which only allows for the occasional mercy via a coin toss.

See poster at https://is5-ssl.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Video113/v4/ba/05/26/ba05263f-6dbb-c7f7...
Promotional poster for the 2007 film adaptation of "No Country for Old Men".

Musing about the downward path of civilization and the amoral world that surrounds him, we listen in on the stream of consciousness asides of Sheriff Ed Tom Bell who tries to save Moss from the fate that awaits him with little chance of success.

Re-reading the book I was reminded of how faithfully the Coen brothers screenplay followed the text, even though they dropped several peripheral characters and scenes. The time jumps and unresolved issues were all there in the book as well and left many of us somewhat lost at our first screenings when the conventional Hollywood 'happy ending' was not provided. Hitman Anton Chigurh was yet another of McCarthy's evocations of immortal evil, even if not quite on the level of Judge Holden in Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West (1985).

Footnote
* The 2022 updated eBook editions include an excerpt from Cormac McCarthy's The Passenger (2022).

Trivia and Links
No Country for Old Men was adapted for film and directed by Joel & Ethan Coen in 2007. It won Academy Awards for the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh) and Best Adapted Screenplay. You can watch a trailer for the film on YouTube here. ( )
  alanteder | Jun 25, 2024 |
After seeing the movie I wanted to read the book. I must say the movie followed the book very well and very close. There were some questions about what happened to some of the people, and the book answered them. It was also a quick read - I finished it in 3 days of commuting to work on the train. I'd recommend it. ( )
  SteveCarl | Jun 24, 2024 |
L'ho trovato piuttosto "faticoso" da leggere, molto cupo, forse per me non era il libro adatto in questo momento, ma mi ha lasciato perplessa. Non è proprio un due stelline ma neanche tre... Per buona parte del libro si vive una specie di film d'azione che personalmente non andrei a vedere al cinema, poi migliora per fortuna, ma nel complesso noiosetto.
  Valek626 | Jun 17, 2024 |
This is a book which is better than the movie. Anton Chigurh is the embodiment of evil, "a true and living prophet of destruction." His reign of terror changes the life of a dedicated sheriff forever.
The story is told in direct, uncomplicated language,which made the violence even more horrific for the reader. Chigurh is a cold-blooded killer and his acts are described as such.
The book also has a much better ending than the movie. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
This is my favorite book and arguably the most important fiction of our generation. ( )
  trrpatton | Mar 20, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 272 (next | show all)
All that keeps No Country for Old Men from being a deftly executed but meretricious thriller is the presence, increasingly confused and ineffectual as the novel proceeds, of the sheriff of Comanche County, one of the "old men" alluded to in the title.
 

"No Country for Old Men" is an unholy mess of a novel, which one could speculate will be a bitter disappointment to many of those eager fans. It is an unwieldy klutz that pretends to be beach reading while dressed in the garments of serious literature (not that those are necessarily mutually exclusive concepts). It is a thriller that is barely thrilling and a tepid effort to reclaim some of the focus and possibly the audience of McCarthy's most reader-friendly novel, "All the Pretty Horses." Worst of all, it reads like a story you wished Elmore Leonard had written -- or rather, in this case, rewritten.
 
Mr. McCarthy turns the elaborate cat-and-mouse game played by Moss and Chigurh and Bell into harrowing, propulsive drama, cutting from one frightening, violent set piece to another with cinematic economy and precision. In fact, ''No Country for Old Men'' would easily translate to the big screen so long as Bell's tedious, long-winded monologues were left on the cutting room floor -- a move that would also have made this a considerably more persuasive novel.
 
In the literary world the appearance of a new Cormac McCarthy novel is a cause for celebration. It has been seven years since his Cities of the Plain, and McCarthy has made the wait worthwhile. With a title that makes a statement about Texas itself, McCarthy offers up a vision of awful power and waning glory, like a tale told by a hermit emerging from the desert, a biblical Western from a cactus-pricked Ancient Mariner.
 
Cormac McCarthy's ''No Country for Old Men'' is as bracing a variation on these noir orthodoxies as any fan of the genre could expect, although his admirers may not be sure at first about quite how to take the book, which doesn't bend its genre or transcend it but determinedly straightens it back out.
added by eereed | editNew York Times, Walter Kirn (Jun 24, 2005)
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cormac McCarthyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barrett, SeanNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hirsch, FrançoisTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lisboa, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo Fort, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearson, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stechschulte, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Testa, MartinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toshiyuki, KurobaruTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
The author would like to express his appreciation to the Santa Fe Institute for his long association and his four-year residence. He would also like to thank Amanda Urban.
First words
I sent one boy to the gaschamber at Huntsville.
Quotations
If you had told me we'd end up in a world with kids with green hair and bones in their noses I would have laughed in your face. But here it is.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Problem CK
Date de première publication :
- 2005 (1e édition originale américaine, A. A. Knopf, New York)
- 2007-01-11 (1e traduction et édition française sous le titre "Non, ce pays n'est pas pour le vieil homme", Editions de l'Olivier")
- 2008-01-03 (Réédition française sous le titre " No country for old men. Non, ce pays n'est pas pour le vieil homme, Points, Seuil)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Llewelyn Moss is hunting antelope near the Texas/Mexico border when he stumbles upon several dead men, a big stash of heroin, and more than two million dollars in cash. He takes off with the money--and the hunter becomes the hunted. A drug cartel hires a former Special Forces agent to track down the loot, and a ruthless killer joins the chase as well. Also looking for Moss is the aging Sheriff Bell, a World War II veteran who may be Moss' only hope for survival.

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Book description
Set along the United States–Mexico border in 1980, the story concerns an illicit drug deal gone wrong in a remote desert location.
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