Monday, March 31, 2014

No Country for Old Cats

I read half of No Country for Old Men last night--it's a page turner, and the people die off fast. Like,  there were three people dead in the first two pages and the corpses piled up quickly after that. The writing is terse, and flat, no frills, really, so you'll have a sequence that like:

"The desert air was bleak. He pulled open the door to the truck and a body slumped over. The man had a bullet hole between his eyes and a shirt wet with blood. Moss shut the door and pulled out his Colt .45."

Like that. I made that up, but it's close. The plot is somewhat difficult to follow because of this bluntness. For a time, I wasn't sure if one of the scenes was a flashback and then there's this voice that interjects now and again in first person, I think it's the Sheriff (played by Tommy Lee Jones in the Coen brother's version); and some twists and turns now and again, like one of the cops being possibly a turncoat hit man (played by Woody Harrelson in the movie--I looked at IMDb). Maybe I'll ask Dan if he wants to rent it at some point--but I want to get to the end to see if the main character lives (Moss).

It's been a while since I've read a straight book--I mean, one that's not just about some sort of mystery or thriller. I don't know why this is. I know I should be reading Lahiri's newest, for example. I don't count Donna Tartt's Goldfinch, partially because it too has kind of a mystery to it, and also, I am stuck on page 200 something.  But I just don't have the interest right now in fiction that's about families or like a woman's struggle to discover herself. And it's been that way for a while, though I would also argue that all really good writing is a mystery that you're trying to unravel--and it must have a conflict that propels you forward. And so, I'm revising my claim to not having read enough varied books, because I've managed to get in a few Ian McEwan books now and again, and they are not genre-based.

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