Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Finished: 'No Country for Old Men'

For the longest time I've been waiting for a copy of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian to show up at my favorite used bookstore in town and for the longest time it hasn't. So a while back I nabbed his No Country for Old Men instead, thinking I would warm up on that one.

And I have a bonehead confession to make. For some reason, the synapsi in my brain had me thinking No Country for Old Men was made into a movie starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. So I figured it was a comedy and it's just been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for a long time. Well, duh. You know THAT movie was Grumpy Old Men. Hey, it had "old men" in the title, so cut me some slack.

The book has been staring at me for a long time and finally on what I think was Day 4 of the Haugen hostage situation (mother-in-law was staying at our house) that I figured things couldn't get any worse. So I cracked the seal. I was thinking before I even started No Country for Old Men that anything written by a guy named Cormac was going to be different. It was.

For starters, the guy doesn't believe in quotation marks and many apostrophes, so it takes half the book just to get used to that oddity. I guess it's his shtick. Like Lady Gaga walks around naked; Cormac doesn't use quotes. Clever. He says, according to Wiki, there is no reason to "blot the page up with weird little marks." He is also celebrated for not using semicolons; whatever. So I guess he doesn't make winky faces when he texts, eh ;). Revolutionary.

The guy has a Pulitzer and is rumored to be on the short list for an upcoming Nobel Prize for Literature, which I guess they give to people who abandon general rules of English that were taught in fifth grade. But I digress.

The novel was pretty interesting -- in a way that a three-legged dog is interesting. You look at it and think, aw, nice dog, wonder what happened to it? The main storyline suddenly, inconceivably, concludes halfway through the book, then switches to some deep thinking introspection by the main character. It was different, which I guess is good, and I still intend to read Blood Meridian, because I've heard great things about it.

I only gave Old Men a 6 on my 1-10 scale. I was glad I read it, because it was a good break from reading several books in a row that actually made sense; that can bore a guy. You can quote me on that, just be sure to use quotation makes.

A couple quotes from the book (I remembered this time!):
“You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else.” 
“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

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