A drug deal gone bad leads to an all-out war in south-west Texas. That is the premise of the novel No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy and it really pulls you in. Check out our book review below.
No Country For Old Men Summary
Llewelyn Moss is hunting pronghorns and accidently finds a bunch of people murdered. He follows the blood trial and that leads him to a satchel containing $2.4 million in cash. Moss takes the briefcase and leaves. But he decides to go back after dropping the money to help the wounded Mexican.
When Moss arrives at the scene, he finds the wounded Mexican killed. While trying to escape, Moss is seen and the two men hunt and try to kill him. Moss escapes but left his truck behind which will lead the two men to his house. After returning home, Moss sends his wife away to her grandmother’s house and he takes the money and leaves.
On the other side is Anton Chigurh. He is a hired assassin and plans to retrieve the money no matter how many people he kills. Chigurh is ruthless and efficient as he is said to be the best of the best. As Chigurh chases down Moss, many people get caught in the crosshairs.
Lastly, there is Sherriff Ed Tom Bell. He is investigating the drug case that went wrong. Bell is the polar opposite of Chigurh. The drug case takes all three of them for a ride throughout south-west Texas and they leave behind a lot of ghosts, past and present.
When I was reading this novel, I was enjoying it but I was not a fan of how the novel was written. I didn’t know exactly what was bothering me but it was enough for me to only give it three out of five stars on Goodreads. So what gives?
After looking up the novel, I found out that it was written as a screenplay. As someone who has never read a novel by McCarthy, I didn’t know his style nor that this was written to be made into a movie. The movie did well and was critically acclaimed. But I do not think this format should be revisited.
If anything, it should have been written as a screenplay and a novel separately. The advantage of a novel is that you can add much more detail. By restricting that advantage, why even write the novel at all? I’m sure there is a lot that went on behind the doors that led to this decision. It is considered a great movie after all. Just like how not every great book turns into a great movie, the reverse might also be true.
I did enjoy the plot and the interesting turn the novel takes. That is why I will most likely revisit McCarthy down the line. Reading a novel that was meant to be a movie is surely going to be better. Until then, happy reading!