Posts Tagged ‘Cormac McCarthy’

No Country for Old Men

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by Wayne Fraser No Comments

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch hails Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men as “a brutally satisfying thriller at its start [which] ends as a rueful, disquieting meditation on the effects of greed an violence.” The early sections of the novel certainly produce some suspenseful scenes. Using a style similar to Hemingway’s–short declarative sentences, telling details of setting and scene, and repetition in dialogue—McCarthy’s prose suggests imminent violence now just held in check.
But then suddenly violence bursts forth, littering body parts and blood on the page as well as motel walls. After nine dead bodies, I lost count. Then the climactic murder happens offstage and the psychopathic murderer limps away into the night, never to be heard from again, let alone brought to justice.
And the meditation on greed and violence? McCarthy offers reactionary clichés: the trade in dope requires dopers, who reach into every strata of society; it all starts with bad manners—“Any time you quit hearin Sir and Mam the end is pretty much in sight.” All the author offers in the way of hope, as the Sheriff rides into the sunset with his adoring wife by his side, is reminiscent of Arnold’s “Dover Beach”: “Ah, Love, let us be true to one another while ignorant armies clash by night.”
McCarthy may offer an authentic portrayal of the drug wars on the Texas-Mexican border, but he offers precious little insight into the true nature of humanity or society.