Monday, October 1, 2007

The Road / No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Partly because of Chris has already reviewed The Road, partly because I'm lazy, and partly because they're both by the same author, I'm going to combine my reviews of The Road and No Country for Old Men.

The Road has become pretty ubiquittous, pretty impressive for one of the most depressing books I've ever read. It tells the story of a man and his son struggling to survive in a post-nuclear(?) world. The imagery is stark, the prose is poetic and spare, and the characters are mostly unnamed, except for one old man who occurs near the middle and lies about his name anyway.

The theme of man against forces he can't possibly defeat is repeated in No Country for Old Men, a novel that is, at points, nearly as depressing as The Road, but with a bit more light at the end of the tunnel. Alternating between chapters told in third person and chapters narrated by an aging sheriff unfortunate enough to run up against an almost supernaturally skilled killer, it's a strange mixture of philosophical treatise, adventure story, and dark (very dark) comedy.

Both books are set, ostensibly, in the West, although the setting plays less of a part in The Road than it does in No Country. I hesitate to say much more about the plot of No Country because if anyone here is planning to either read the book or watch the upcoming film, I don't want to spoil it. I'd highly recommend both books, just don't read them late at night after a big tragedy.


Carlton Farmer said...

Two at the same time? You're like the Gary Kasparov of book reviews.

Christopher said...

He means you're the leader of a Russian opposition party. Of book reviews.

Carlton Farmer said...

Yeah...I thought that was clear.

Christopher said...

I am the Vladimir Putin of book reviews and I will crush you.

Marlene Detierro said...

As always, Mccarthy is the most direct and intelligent of writers, not bothering with padding. When I finished the novel, with its fantastic last ,almost biblical scene, I could read nothing for days. Finally settled on Coetzee; he comes close.

View this site for Fishing Lodge Alaska Website