No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac

A blood curling thriller from one of the most enduring writers of our time, “No Country for Old Men” is replete with twists, turns and a copious amount of blood shedding. While hunting for deer in the desert, Llewelyn Moss comes across a literal carnage involving trucks riddled with bullet holes, strewn bodies, a stash of narcotics, a cache of cash and a dying man begging for a sip of water. Unable to resist the allure of money and the lure of temptation, Moss takes the drug money thereby triggering a cascading chain of events which results in multiple drug lords and hit-men gunning for his life, limb and loot.

Anton Chigurh, a paid assassin is fear incarnate. Possessing weird bluish eyes and an even weirder set of principles, Chigurh knows no scruples when it comes to taking lives. Clinical, calm and almost catatonic in his approach, Chigurh is a programmed automaton who goes about his deadly chores with verve, vengeance and vivaciousness. When Chigurh sets himself upon the trail of Moss, all hell breaks loose as the count of collateral damage begins to rise exponentially.

Sheriff Ed Tom Bell a laconic World War veteran is tasked with the responsibility of both taking down Chigurh and protecting Moss. This intimidating assignment drains the honest law enforcement officer of his resolve and determination as the indefatigable hit-man seems to be always one step ahead of his nemesis. The exploits and attempts of all the three converge into a tragic crescendo in this dalliance of death.

Adapted into a movie, No Country for Old Men bagged four Academy Awards. However the book needs to be read to be appreciated. The brilliant style of narration and the tug-of-war between ethics and temptation is captured in an unforgettable manner by McCarthy. The impersonal chilling character of Anton Chigurh, the calm acceptance of inevitable fate by Moss and the exasperation of Ed Bell at the degenerating values permeating the American landscape all make for some introspective reading. However the best bit of the book lies in the moving and sentimental conversation between Ed Bell and Carla Jean, the young and distraught wife of Moss, where Bell tries to pry out the whereabouts of Moss with a genuine intention of saving him from Chigurh.

No Country for Old Men – One of the best by one of the best!

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