Jesse Jarnow

no country for old men

In 89 words, Cormac McCarthy zooms from the broadest setting of a scene down to specific detail, nails a mood, sets up a relationship between two new characters, exercises his own typographical and rhythmic voice with the smallest tweakings of grammar and syntax, and creates a momentum that leads irresistibly into the chapter that follows.

The office was on the seventeenth floor with a view over the skyline of Houston and the open lowlands to the ship channel and the bayou beyond. Colonies of silver tanks. Gas flares, pale in the day. When Wells showed up the man told him to come in and told him to shut the door. He didnt even turn around. He could see Wells in the glass. Wells shut the door and stood with his hands crossed before him at the wrist. The way a funeral director might stand.


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