No Country for Old Men

As a fan of the Cohen Brothers, I was disappointed not to have got the chance to catch their film of Cormac McCarthy’s novel when itcame out in the cinemas first time round. But then it was suggested to me that I read the novel first in any case. It was one of the best pieces of advice I have had all year. This was the first of McCarthy’s novels that I have read (I have since had recommended to me by my friend Tom Pow – who is an excellent poet and novelist in his own right – The Road and Blood Meridian, in that order) and I have to say that I was blown away by this as a piece of writing.

At first I found difficult to pick up the threads of the narrative that was unfolding, but before long I was totally immersed in the world that McCarthy creates, and I felt all the more enriched for having earned my way into that narrative. This is a complex piece of writing on so many levels with the multiple voices and first person narratives, but those voices and the language in which they speak is both engaging and convincing. These are the voices of an America that is far removed from the American Dream and its representation within the construction of the Wild West. Indeed it is a world of shattered dreams and disillusionment, of violence and destruction that is relentless. And the tragedy becomes inevitable as the story unfolds of a society without a moral compass – a society of amorality, rather than immorality.

I can’t wait to see the film.


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