Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

The latest audiobook and the first listened to on the new iPod my wife got me for my birthday. It was good, but not quite as good as All the Pretty Horses. I really liked the theme—that something has changed in the world and that criminals today are a different stripe of evil than they were in the past, and that old law enforcement officers are among the only ones who can see this change and reflect on what it all means.

Sheriff Ed Tom Bell certainly fits this mold and is one of the primary characters through whose eyes we see the story. Another is Llewellyn Moss, a young man who stumbles across a drug deal gone bad and makes off with a couple of million dollars of dirty money. The third is Anton Chigurh, the hired killed sent to get back the money and kill whoever took it. Chigurh is truly vicious—living and killing according to a code that only makes sense to him—Moss is in way over his head and winds up dead, and Bell is tracking along behind them, trying to catch up and put a stop to it but always arriving a few hours too late.

There’s a scene where Moss and Chigurh confront each other and Chigurh gives Moss a chance to save the life of his wife by handing over the money. Moss refuses and manages to excape, but after Chigurh has killed Moss, he goes at the end of the novel to kill Moss’ wife, even though there’s no longer any need to do so except Chigurh’s own twisted sense of justice.

There’s another scene where he puts a man’s life on the line according to the flip of a coin and lets him go when the coin comes up the way the man calls it.

I just Googled it to find out how to spell Llewellyn and learned that the Coen brothers are making a movie out of it. I put it on our Netflix list.

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