No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

Terrific, terrific book. Well written, fast-paced, thought-provoking. But not for the faint-hearted. It’s a very hard-edged story (think of the movie “Unforgiven”) about a series of crimes in West Texas (think of the movie “Lone Star”). But not a book for people who want things that are neat, or have clear moral lessons, or are even just a little on the positive side.

While on the surface this is a crime novel about a drug deal gone bad on the border between Texas & Mexico, that’s really just a device — what McCarthy does in this book is to take a few of his characters’ lives and strip everything away — home, family, work — all their context, really — and uses that technique to really look into what makes up a person’s life. What defines each of us? Is it what we’re willing to give up? Is it the things that we did yesterday?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about this book over the past few days — I could write a lot more but don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Would love to talk about it sometime with someone else who’s read it.

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