The paperbacks for both of these books will be due sometime this year, so let’s do the overworked publicists a favor and pull some jacket blurbs from this review:
No Country for Old Men:
Cormac McCarthy’s worst novel.
(No Country for Old Men) replace(s) complexity with simplicity.
(R)ural characters feel stereotyped.
Sets a dangerously high value on a shining romantic past that never existed.
It’s violent without Blood Meridian’s harrowing beauty and fails, for the first time in all his work, to capitalize on McCarthy’s breathtaking ability to make myth from landscape.
The King of Kings County:
Simultaneously beautiful, tragic, and hilarious.
(T)he narrator’s father
is a once-in-a-lifetime character.
(The King of Kings County is) downright magical.
And yet McCarthy wins out over Terrell? Are you kidding me? Hmm, where have we seen this before? Oh yes:
The New York Times Book Review, Jan. 16, 2005:
(Prep is) overlong at more than 400 pages
Lee’s passivity, her refusal to pursue anything past the point where it might get embarrassing, limits her as a character.
(Prep) sets up dramatic expectations that aren’t met
There is no defining moment
where we feel that life will never be the same again, or some truth about human nature is revealed.
(The ending) is not unlike the Hollywood movie trope of running capsule summaries of what’s happened to all the characters as the credits roll.
The New York Times Book Review, Dec. 11, 2005:
This calm and memorably incisive first novel
casts an unshakable spell. (Prep is) one of the five best novels of the year.
I haven’t read Prep so I’m not saying one way or the other. The world is just an odd place, is all.