November 23, 2005

No Country for Old Men
Cormac McCarthy

Point of View – Think Dashiell Hammett as a Bush supporter and you’ve got Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men.” This is a hard-boiled tale filled with bloodthirsty, two-dimensional moralism about good guys and bad guys (mostly bad guys) mixing it up after a high-stakes drug deal goes wrong along the Texas-Mexico border. Reading McCarthy has never been a picnic at the beach on a cloudless day, but this violent story is a well-crafted page-turner with a clear-cut philosophical point of view. Whether you agree with that view is up to you. But at a time when so much contemporary writing is awash with angst and ambiguity, McCarthy’s riveting tale is as forceful and unequivocal as the flash of a gun fired in the middle of a starless night. He accomplishes what artful storytelling always achieves: He opens our eyes and our hearts to other perspectives on the human struggle.


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