A few years ago, I found myself sitting dumbfounded in a movie theatre watching No Country for Old Men. I’ll never forget the moment when, as the final credits came on and the music began, a realization hit me. There were no music swells - no scores to tell me when to feel a particular emotion, and in turn no warnings, false starts or manipulation. The movie presented the naked story and it was all the more powerful for it. I was, and still am, in awe of that movie and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like it since. On the way home, my husband turned to me and said “it was the perfect visual representation of the book, but you still have to read it.” And now, a few years later, he’s finally convinced me to read No Country for Old Men. I am very glad that he did.
In my last review, I mentioned that it takes a certain kind of bravery for an author to truly commit to the voice of his or her characters, and little did I know that my next read would be a case in point. Cormac McCarthy has enjoyed both critical and popular success with all of his novels, including No Country for Old Men. I would argue, very strongly, that McCarthy’s success is largely due to his commitment to his character’s voices and to the accuracy of the time period they’re placed in. McCarthy is undoubtedly an immensely talented writer, but he is an even more talented storyteller.