Friday, February 09, 2007

No Country For Old Men

As brutal as McCarthy’s stories are, I love reading them. No Country For Old Men starts like a lightning bolt and never runs out of gas. The cast of characters in this novel are more accessible, more likeable, than in the other books of his I’ve read. The plot is a twisty weave that leaves a growing trail of dead as the pages turn. The prose seemed a lot less dense than that in Blood Meridian or All the Pretty Horses, but was still engaging. The beautiful thing about his characters is that they never say anything more than they need to. In this book they are simple folk, borderland Texans, for the most part, and the protagonist is Sheriff Bell, a beautiful elderly soul whose ruminations are the life blood of this novel. He looks back on his life and the recent events of the book , struggling to make sense of it all.

He says, “I think the truth is always simple. It has pretty much got to be. It needs to be simple enough for a child to understand. Otherwise it’d be too late. By the time you figured it out it would be too late.”

Of his wife he says, “Marryin’ her makes up for ever dumb thing I ever done. I even think I still got a few left in the account. I think I’m way in the black on that…If I didn’t have her I wouldn’t know what I’d have. Well, yes I do. You wouldn’t need a box to put it in neither.”

He says, “I think we are all of us ill-prepared for what is to come and I don’t care what shape it takes. And whatever comes my guess is that it will have small power to sustain us. These old people I talk to, if you could have told them that there would be people on the streets of our Texas towns with green hair and bones in their noses speaking a language they couldn’t even understand, well, they just flat out wouldn’t have believed you. But what if you’d of told em it was their own grandchildren?”

Well, those are the lighter moments, but I welcome a book that gives me good reasons to reflect hard on my past and to sincerely contemplate my future, not to mention that of my family or community or nation.

1 comment:

ali said...

Hi Les. I feel a little uncomfortable posting on people's blogs that I don't really know, but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy yours. I'm a friend of James and Dede (that's how I found your spot here) and I went to high school with your lovely wife. I saw her bright and early every morning at 6 a.m. for two years. I haven't gotten up that early since then.

I love the name of your baby boy (that's my husband's favorite name so we might have kids with the same names someday). Keep the reviews coming; I'm always looking for good book and music recommendations! And tell Christy hi, please. She's a cutie.