It's bizarre to think that the novel that Cormac McCarthy released just before the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Road, No Country for Old Men, received mixed critical reception upon release. Since then, it has been adapted into an Academy Award-winning film (including the prestigious Best Picture award) by Joel and Ethan Coen and had vastly improved critical reception.
The novel is set near the of the United States–Mexico border in 1980 and tells the story of a drug deal gone wrong in the Texas back country. The novel follows the three interconnected paths of the novel's central characters: Llewelyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell as their lives change as a result of the aforementioned drug deal gone bad.
Joel and Ethan Coen, known as the Coen Brothers, described the process of adapting the film as reasonably easy, joking that one brother would read the book aloud while the other copied it in screenplay form, indicating the quality of McCarthy's writing. The film would win four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Javier Barden (for antagonist Anton Chigurh), and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Since its initial poor reviews, critics and audiences alike have considerably warmed up to the novel. Says The New York Times Book Review critic Walter Kim of McCarthy: "'[The author is] a whiz with the joystick, a master-level gamer who changes screens and situations every few pages."