No country for old men

A Passage from No Country for Old Men

February 15th, 2018 by Mike Coughlin

The Library



I usually do these sorta filler posts with music that’s stuck in my head, which makes sense because that’s sorta how music works.  But I’ve had a passage from No Country for Old Men rattling around recently.  I’ve always found it to be one of the more powerful ruminations on who we are as people, what it means to restart in life, running from your past – all that.


Shame it didn’t make it into the movie, IIRC.  But the movie’s loss is our gain.  You don’t need context for this; you don’t even need to know who the characters are – that’s because it’s flat out good writing.  Cormac McCarthy is a bit of genius.  A bit of one, I do say, a bit.


A Passage from No Country for Old Men

By: Cormac McCarthy


You think when you get to California you’ll kind of start over.


Them’s my intentions.


I think maybe that’s the point. There’s a road goin to California and there’s one comin back. But the best way would be just to show up there.


Show up there.




You mean and not know how you got there?


Yeah. And not know how you got there.


I dont know how you’d do that.


I dont either. That’s the point.


She ate. She looked around. Can I get some coffee? she said.


You can get anything you want. You got money.


She looked at him. I guess I aint sure what the point is, she said.


The point is there aint no point.


No. I mean what you said. About knowin where you are.


He looked at her. After a while he said: It’s not about knowin where you are. It’s about thinkin you got there without takin anything with you. Your notions about startin over. Or anybody’s. You dont start over. That’s what it’s about. Ever step you take is forever. You cant make it go away. None of it. You understand what I’m sayin?


I think so.


I know you dont but let me try it one more time. You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday dont count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I dont know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who’s layin there?


She nodded.


You understand what I’m sayin?


I understand that. I been there.


Yeah, I know you have.


So are you sorry you become a outlaw?


Sorry I didnt start sooner. Are you ready?


When he came out of the motel office he handed her a key.


What’s that?


That’s your key.


She hefted it in her hand and looked at him. Well, she said. It’s up to you.


Yes it is.


I guess you’re afraid I’ll see what’s in that bag.


Not really.


He started the truck and pulled down the parking lot behind the motel office.


Are you queer? she said.


Me? Yeah, I’m queer as a coot.


BUY NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (if you know what’s good for you)


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