Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who the hell is Chigurh anyway?

I've been reading No Country For Old Men slowly, only because I've had to go back and try to understand things. In comparison to Nabokov, which I read last, the sparse language takes getting used to. And unlike The Road, I find the tagless dialogue confusing at times, because the characters aren't as readily differntiate-able as say, The Man and The Boy. The switches, I also find confusing, because every time the character POV shifts, I find myself reorienting myself in time and space and character. So I had to re-read a lot, go back, figure things out. I don't love the book. It's a good enough read, but I don't think I was as drawn into it as I expected to be (maybe this is another example of the fallacy of expectations). But I got more into it halfway through. I'm about 40 pages out from the end right now.

My favorite parts, perhaps not surprisingly, are the chapters where the sheriff is just essaying or monologuing or whatever it is. I love his little insights, his thoughts. He makes me stop and think, every time he says something. But more on him later.

Just wanted to post up this section, towards the end, because it made me think:
Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person's path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning.

She sat sobbing. She shook her head.

Yet even though I could have told you how all of this would end I thought it not too much to ask that you have a final glimpse of hope in the world to lift your heart before the shroud drops, the darkness. Do you see?

Oh God, she said. Oh God.

I'm sorry.

She looked at him a final time. You don't have to, she said. You don't. You don't.

He shook his head. You're asking that I make myself vulnerable and that I can never do. I have only one way to live. It doesnt allow for special cases. A coin toss perhaps. In this case to small purpose. Most people dont believe that there can be such a person. You can see what a problem that must be for them. How to prevail over that which you refuse to acknowledge the existence of. Do you understand? When I came into your life your life was over. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is the end. You can say that things could have turned out differently. That they should have been some other way. But what does that mean? They are not some other way. They are this way. You're asking that I second say the world. Do you see?

Yes, she said, sobbing. I do. I truly do.
--[pgs. 259-260, No Country For Old Men]

Fatalistic, eh? A lot in here though. A lot to chew on. Unfortunately, it is 12:45 am, and I am dead tired. So I can't talk about this. But I thought it was worth thinking about. Just to ruminate. I'm getting to the end of the book where now I'm being forced to think about this whole journey I've been on with Mr. McCarthy.

1 drops:

Anonymous said...

I am too reading the book at present - a decision I made after I completed the Road. This book drags me into its story - a story I really don't want to read because I hate people like Chigurh, people who believe that each moment of their lives is dictated, inflexible and exact. The writing style forces you to read and re-read taking you the reader deeper and deeper into its dark world. Very cunning.

Chigurh is a terrorist who thinks he is a god and a has the right to put anyone he encounters into his world. He is a sign of the times where more and more of us are beginning to do the same - except possibly leaving out the crimes. Even then, some of us commit other types of crimes.

The story is today and the direction our culture has taken us. How horrible!

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