Five Easy Pieces

July 24, 2007

Great Book…soon to be a (great?) Coen Brothers flick.

Filed under: Books — danletscher @ 10:29 pm

Cormac McCarthy‘s No Country for Old Men. This is a helluva read. I was aware of the general storyline and the buzz the film has gotten since the Cannes Film Festival. I had never read any of McCarthy’s books, so the style threw me a bit at first. He doesn’t use quotation marks for dialogue and doesn’t really use any punctuation except the period. He certainly doesn’t use an exclamation point! (Ha!) Also, he doesn’t write how the characters speak, he replicates their speech. I have never read an author that so authentically conveyed the locality of a book’s setting and its lifelong citizens.

The plot centers on Llewelyn Moss and his not-so-smart idea to lift $2 million+ from the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad. Out hunting he stumbles upon dead bodies, bricks of heroin, loads of cash and shot up vehicles. He makes away with the cash but can’t resist coming back to the scene in the middle of the night to check it out again. Big mistake because someone is staking out the site to see if the $$ thief comes back for more. Moss escapes but the chase is on.

Moss continues to stay a step ahead but makes a few additional errors in judgment which keep the antagonist on his trail. Piecing this scenario together with a couple of seemingly unconnected murders is Sherriff Ed Tom Bell. He knows the man chasing Moss is a professional, a soulless (and that is understating the overall lack of morals or remorse this bad mother embodies) son-of-a-bitch who no one can identify…because he leaves no one to identify him. Unless, in the case of a lucky gas station owner, fate dictates otherwise. This scene plays out incredibly intense on the written page and is touted as a “moment” in the upcoming film. There are scenes of such frank violence and cold brutality that I can only imagine the Coen brothers filming it. The mood, setting and pace is very reminiscent of “Blood Simple”, the Coens’ first film.

When the book ends, it’s not happy. I wasn’t surprised by this, there just isn’t any other way for it to go. Pick this one up and prepare to not want to put it down- so cliche I know, but man it’s good.


  1. Dude,
    Great writeup. My wishlist of books to read is so damn long, but this will be added to it. I still have to try and start the Time Traveler’s Wife. I picked it up once but couldn’t invest the time needed to dig in. I’ve been using reading as easy brain fare.

    Comment by teem — August 20, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  2. Just saw the movie tonight. It’s deserves all the accolades we’ve all been hearing.

    The pace, photography, acting and direction are top notch.

    I so wish it had played differently at the end if just for a more “hollywood” ending where loose ends are tied and the right guys end up with the money and the girl; but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much!

    Comment by Tim Letscher — January 6, 2008 @ 3:50 am

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