No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy was my first McCarthy experience. I actually own All the Pretty Horses but had never gotten around to reading it. With the movie out for No Country for Old Men I was finally motivated enough to read my first McCarthy novel and finally found out what all the fuss was about!
No Country for Old Men is a modern day western story. Partly told from the point of view of an aging Sheriff, the book is not only about the actions of the story, but about how it relates to the direction our world is going. The Sheriff seems to waiver between having hope and being hopeless about our world, and his narrative sprinkled through out the book add a deeper context to the story.
McCarthy's writing is to die for, literally (at least in the novel, literally!) He brings simplistic writing to a whole new level. His writing is amazingly descriptive, but the truly amazing part about it is that he barely goes into detail about anything at all! He's a master of describing a scene or a situation by the way a character says something or by their body movement. His subtly is extremely well calculated and well thought out, and something that I personally strive for as a writer. Of course I tend to over-describe (if you couldn't tell). His writing is so articulate and well thought out that I read somewhere that the action in the movie is literally taken from the book, word-for-word, which is usually very difficult to do when turning a book into a movie because of how much descriptions of action is left out or glassed over. McCarthy not only describes nearly every action, he does so with simplicity and clarity. The book is fast paced, suspenseful and an extremely satisfying read. And at the same time it goes much deeper than that, it is a well written literary novel that ultimately connects the story to a much larger and meaningful picture. In every way that I believe McCarthy could strive for, I believe that this novel was a success. I'm pushing my husband to finish the book by the end of this week so we can see the movie this weekend!