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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?

3 Comments
  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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