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Impressive Showing from Cormac

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It’s easy to get overlooked in all the Harry hoopla, but an encouraging note is that Cormac McCarthy’s new novel, No Country for Old Men actually has a sales rank of #21 this morning. Officially released tomorrow, McCarthy’s novel is lagging behind 7 different Harry Potter entries, the ubiquitous Da Vinci Code, and a handful of other heavy-hitters.

In anticipation of the novel’s release, Jeffrey Lent reviewed the book for The Washington Post over the weekend. Lent wrote that McCarthy’s “ear for speech, dialect and wordplay remains noteworthy in American letters. His descriptive passages are lucid and visual — this novel needs no film adaptation. He writes in painstaking and painful detail about self-treatment of gunshot wounds, exhibiting a near-morbid fascination that’s beyond the call of the narrative. Even what in previous novels were long digressions are now minimal injections of first-person rumination and reflection by Bell. In short, No Country for Old Men is a page-turner. Readers who have been unwilling to wade through McCarthy’s more complicated fables will be swept along for the ride. Many long-term readers will do the same.” The novel’s not perfect and Lent notes some criticisms, along with his high praise, that you can read here. Michiko Kakutani was, predicatably, less than awed in a review for The New York Times. You can read Kakutani’s criticisms of “lugubrious passages, reminiscent of the most pretentious sections of earlier McCarthy novels like The Crossing” that display the fact that “Mr. McCarthy has always vascillated between clean, Hemingwayesque prose and pseudo-Faulknerian grandiloquence, and in this novel, he makes poor Bell the mouthpiece of his most ponderous, sentimental and high-falutin’ musings. Bell blathers on…” by clicking on the link here.

Kakutani’s criticisms not withstanding, the top 25 ranking on Amazon is quite an impressive showing from one of America’s premier, and challenging, literary voices. Contribute to the cause by pre-ordering the novel here.

Now, if some independent bookstore out there would have a midnight release party, we might get some good photos of people lined up or something and continue to make the point.