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Literary Gimmicks in Famous Books: No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

October 17, 2020

If I hadn’t seen the movie first, I wouldn’t have finished reading No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.

My problem with No Country for Old Men is that the author doesn’t use quotation marks in dialogue. I would have noticed that within the first few pages and thought, “Ugh, stupid literary gimmick” and would have tossed the book aside.

I’m not a fan of literary gimmicks. They usually don’t add anything to writing and are often an author’s way of showing off.

Fortunately, I saw the movie No Country for Old Men first. I liked it but thought it had some holes in the plot. I later heard that the novel explains most of the stuff that the movie doesn’t. Plus, the book is short.

The copy that I bought came out after the movie. You can tell because of the giant circle that says ACADEMY AWARD WINNER BEST PICTURE. I used to buy books that came out before the movie so that my literary friends knew that the movie had nothing to do with my interest in a book.

Now I don’t really have literary friends anymore, so I’ll buy whatever copy of a book is cheapest (as long as it hasn’t been sneezed on).

The book was good. A lot of the dialogue in the book was taken word-for-word for the movie. I don’t blame the script writers for using the same dialogue. It was good dialogue.

But the author didn’t use quotation marks. That’s just annoying.


What do you think? What did you think of No Country for Old Men? What literary gimmicks do you find annoying?

  1. I’m in the midst of getting my copyediting certificate. I’m not sure how I would approach a manuscript like that. Pretty sure I’d find it massively annoying, too, though it could be easier to copyedit. No quotation marks to check!

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