My number one, all time favorite book is All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy. Yes, it has a sissy title, and yes, it was made into a movie starring Penelope Cruz and Matt Damon (which I never saw- has anyone seen it?), but if you make fun of it for those reasons without reading it, fuck off, because it's an awesome book. (I know I sound defensive, but it's a sore spot.) I read all three novels in the Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain), all following male protagonists through Texas and Mexico during the 1940s and 1950s, and loved them all. I also read Blood Meridian, set during the Westward expansion during the 1840s, but it was too disturbingly violent for my tastes. Since McCarthy hasn't published anything since Cities of the Plain in 1998, I was eager to read his latest novel, No Country For Old Men, which came out last year. I was planning to wait until it came out in paperback, but I found a cheap used version for sale on amazon.com and purchased it.
No Country For Old Men lacks the rich language found in the Border Trilogy, but the setting is similar. It takes place along Texas and Mexican border, but in modern times. Llewelyn Moss is out hunting in the desert when he stumbles upon the remnants of a drug deal gone bad: dead bodies, shot up trucks, heroin, and a briefcase containing 2.4 million dollars in cash. He takes the money and runs, knowing full well that whoever the money belongs to will never cease looking for it. Sheriff Bell arrives on the scene, connects the dots, and figures out that local boy Llewelyn has no idea how much trouble he's in. The man hunting Llewelyn is pure evil, a cold-blooded killer who leaves a wake of death and destruction in his path. Bell aims to find Llewelyn before the killer does, and ponders his own life and the dark world that surrounds it during the pursuit. The novel is a bit confusing in the beginning, but once you figure out who the main players are, it is easy to follow. I liked it, not as much as the border trilogy, but far more than Blood Meridian. Rumor has it that No Country For Old Men is being made into a movie by the Coen brothers, of Fargo and O Brother Where Art Thou fame.