Two of the last three books that I have read "The Road" and "No Country for Old Men." And they are probably THE two best books I have read in the last twenty years.
The style is unique, but well planned. The text conversational complete with some phonetic spelling, regionalisms, and with a flow that it totally natural.
The text is virtually without apostrophes, and absolutely without quotation marks. Yet, only once in "No Country for Old Men" did I stumble in a long paragraph and have to read back and determine which was narrative and which dialogue.
Warning to new writers--don't try to imitate it. It probably seems easy because it reads so easily. I'm not sure even another experienced author could get away with it.
There is no flowery prose, yet Cormack McCarthy puts you "there." Or rather, he put me there. In a sense, "No Country for Old Men," is two books. The first 80% of the book is noir: a man who is hunting accidentally comes across a drug deal gone bad, including a massacre of those involved--and he walks away with four million dollars.
Not a good thing for an honest man to do. He finds himself tracked by a killer, a local sheriff, and someone who has been hired by the millionaire dealer to find the money.
That story ends about about page 225 of 308. The rest of the story is about the Sheriff, who in his mind, has seen the decline of the nation that seemed to have started a short time after World War II, yet the part is compelling and you feel that it is going to go back to where the first story ended--and in fact includes some of the first story.
Cromac McCarthy, I don't believe, is for everyone. As a matter of fact, the one of my two sons, who probably reads a book every three days did not like "The Road," but because of the subject matter, he will probably like NCfOM. He's into action adventure.
His complaint, though, and I know others will have the same complaint, that the style is too "simple."
This is a pretty rambling post, but I go back to the very beginning of this post too conclude: these were *the* two best books I have read in the last twenty years, and certainly the best writer I have discovered since--well, it's been a long time. Most modern books bounce along, pad along, and often lead nowhere, even when the ending "seems" satisfactory.