After four years of trudging through Underworld, I whipped through Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men in a less than a week, Sure, it’s 500 pages shorter, but still. Being used to a sprawling complicated novels, NCFOM really cleansed the palatte, and reminded me how intoxicating a simple, quickly paced thriller can be. Highly recommended.
While McCarthy is known for literary, poetic tomes such as Blood Meridian, this one is vastly different. It’s basically a violent crime thriller that occasionally gets a little deeper, but not often (except at the end, when the book loses a little steam) and not too deep. You can read reviews and summaries elsewhere, but the basic story involves an everyman who stumbles upon $2.5 million (as well as several dead bodies), a psychopath who is trying to track the money down, and a sheriff who’s trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. The book has a sort of conservative undertone, as the sheriff continually comments on this new breed of sociopathic criminal, and wonders where the world is heading. The following passage gives you an idea:
I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they'd been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forms that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I'm gettin old. That it's one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I've got.As I was reading NCFOM, I started thinking how cool it would be if Tarantino were to make a movie of it and stick exactly to the book, down to the last detail. So when I did my usual post-book Google search on the book, I was pleased to discover that the Coen brothers are indeed filiming it. And of course, Tommie Lee Jones will be the sheriff. I guess it’s supposed to come out in 2007. So, along with the upcoming Borat movie, that makes two movies I am excited to see. And if you know me, you know one of my many irritating traits is my movie-snobbishness, so that’s quite a feat.
Anyways, if you’re looking for a good summer read that you can enjoy while appearing to not be another Dan Brown-John Grisham worshipper, borrow my copy of NCFOM.