No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy: A Review

Posted 29 June, 2007 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 16 Comments


Title: No Country for Old Men
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Date Finished: June 28, 2007
Pages: 309
Rating: 4.25/5

I’m speechless when it comes to this one. Is it possible I will write a short review (compared to my other blogs)? Don’t hold your breath…we’ll just have to see.

Llewellyn Moss, a pretty straight shooter (huh, guess in more ways than one…), finds a slew of dead drug dealers out in the Texas country. Not only does he find the bloody aftermath of the bad drug deal, but he also finds 2.4 million dollars, which he takes. In comes Chigurh, a human hunter who is trying to recover the drug money from Moss at no cost. Finally there is Ed Tom Bell, a sheriff, who is trying save the rest of the characters from an inevitable blood bath.

Yes, there is a tremendous amount of blood shed in this book. I am not familiar with much of the artillery used in the book, so I kept asking my husband. Finally, after I wanted to know what a “cattlegun” was, he said to me, “What the hell are you reading? A horror book?” Well, no, not really, but then again, yes, this is a horror book. Bleak, stark, horrific, McCarthy really gets down to the raw human emotions and desires in this book.

Recommendation: Hmmm, maybe we should start with who shouldn’t read this book. People who like a happy ending; people who don’t like blood, killing, brain matter splattering about; people who like basic grammatical conventions. As with many of his other books, McCarthy’s writing is as stark as the events. No quotation marks, rare usage of commas, bare bones prose. Which I like, but it does take time to get used to after coming off of a “normal” novel. This is my second McCarthy book (and won’t be my last), but truthfully, I liked The Crossing better (even though that book didn’t end “happily ever after” either). *Sigh*

*picture from

16 Responses to “No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy: A Review”

  1. Finally, after I wanted to know what a “cattlegun” was, he said to me, “What the hell are you reading? A horror book?”

    LOL!!!! That was too funny! Maybe I’ll like this book. I love action and, well, with all that blood there’s bound to be some action!

  2. Yes, definitely some action, and definitely A LOT of blood. I’ve heard Blood Meridian is bloodier, I think that’ll be my next (not that that’s the reason…haha!)

  3. LOL!!!! Bloody books are the best!

    OK, now I just sound British. LMAO!!

    Dude I love your blog. Totally adding you to my daily stalking!

  4. Thanks Mailyn…I had fun looking at yours this morning as well (although yours is a little bit racier than mine–for some reason I’m more reserved in a public space–even though its MY public space than in real life…

  5. If you haven’t done so yet…I recommend you read The Road. It was my first McCarthy book and I was blown away by it. I am planning to read No Country For Old Men in July. Thanks for the review!

  6. Wow. This sounds really good. Although, I’m sort of anal about needing correct grammar and punctuation.

    Still, I’m adding this to the list. Sometimes I just want a good thriller/action book.

    Great review. I’m definitely adding you to my list of daily reads. :)

  7. * Wendy – I picked up The Road last weekend, but I’ve kind of been waiting until July 1 (when will it finally get here!!!) so I can read it for the Book Awards Challenge. I’ve heard great things about it, though!

    * Holly – The grammar isn’t what got me,its the quote marks (The Crossing was the same). Sometimes its hard to tell if someone is talking or thinking or which character is saying what. You get used to it, though…

  8. The only Cormac McCarthy book I’ve ever read is All the Pretty Horses, which I read many years back. But it made a big impression on me–yes, there was violence, but it was beautifully written. However, when I picked up Blood Meridian, I couldn’t get into it, because it was too violent. So I guess there are degrees in his books…
    Thanks for the review!

  9. * Gentle Reader –if I were to guess, I would say this one is in between. It is violent, but a lot of it was surprisingly understated. I don’t think this one ranks up there with Blood Meridian. Thanks for coming by…

  10. I just saw the previews for this movie, and I know I have to read it before I see the movie. I’m excited to read it!!

    Great review!!

  11. Thanks Stephanie. I picked the book up after seeing the preview also. I love the Coen Brothers, and I’ll be interested to see what they do with the material.

  12. cj


    I agree. It’s a great review. Honest enough that it answers questions I’ve had about McCarthy. Now, I just wish I’d read it before I decided to read “The Road”.

    Authors who ignore basic grammar rules drive me nuts. I flipped through “Million Little Pieces” and could never have read it, even without the controversy. My niece, however, loved it.

    I’ll still try “The Road”. I’m not that hopeful, however.


  13. CJ – I’ve heard really good things about The Road. The grammar is difficult (especially the lack of quotes), but I wouldn’t write off McCarthy just yet…

  14. I’ve read two McCarthy books as well, but neither of the ones you’ve read. I think he has become one of my favorite authors. I plan on reading this soon. The violence doesn’t bother me, and neither do the unhappy endings. But I don’t think he is capable of writing a happy ending so I hope you’re not holding out for one. :)

  15. Matt – thanks for coming by. No, I realized after reading The Crossing that I can’t expect a happy ending (which I don’t mind). I hope to read The Road and Blood Meridian sometime this year (hope being the key word).