Following All the Pretty Little Horses in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy is a novel whose force of language is matched only by its breadth of experience and depth of thought. In the bootheel of New Mexico hard on the frontier, Billy and Boyd Parham are just boys in the years before the Second World War, but on the cusp of unimaginable events. ...
Following All the Pretty Little Horses in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy is a novel whose force of language is matched only by its breadth of experience and depth of thought. In the bootheel of New Mexico hard on the frontier, Billy and Boyd Parham are just boys in the years before the Second World War, but on the cusp of unimaginable events. First comes a trespassing Indian and the dream of wolves running wild amongst the cattle lately brought onto the plain by settlers - this when all the wisdom of trappers has disappeared along with the trappers themselves. And so Billy sets forth at the age of sixteen on an unwitting journey into the souls of boys and animals and men. Having trapped a she-wolf he would restore to the mountains of Mexico, he is long gone and returns to find everything he left behind transformed utterly in his absence. Except his kid brother, Boyd, with whom he strikes out yet again to reclaim what is theirs - thus crossing into "that antique gaze from whence there could be no way back forever." What they find instead, singly and together, is in extraordinary panoply of fiestas and circuses, dogs and horses and hawks, pilgrims and revolutionaries, grand haciendas and forlorn cantinas, bandits and gypsies and roving tribes, a young girl alone on the road, a mystery in the mountain wilds, and a myth in the making. And in this wider world they fight a war as rageful as the one neither, in the end, will join up for back home. One brother finds his destiny, while the other arrives only at his fate. An essential novel by any measure, and the transfixing middle passage of Cormac McCarthy's ongoing trilogy, The Crossing is luminous and appalling, a book that touches, stops,and starts the heart and mind at once.
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McCarthy paints a wonderful picture of life in the West- a life you would have to experience to describe. This is a book that you read when you have lots of time to absorb the words and let the story wash over you.
May 5, 2011
Better than All the Pretty Horses
I love this guy's stories, so simple yet so full of insight from the variety of characters he builds. Can't wait to read the third book.
Sep 11, 2009
The second book in The Border Trilogy. This one examines the life of the hero and his brother through various adventures in Mexico and the states of the USA which border Mexico .A rough map of the area would have been helpful if the mountain ranges and towns visited actually do exist. .The writer tells of every event in great detail and some of his descriptions are haunting and picturesque . The references to recent Mexican history can be a bit confusing for someone who knows absolutely nothing about it. and even the the terminology of the horses saddles assumes we have inside knowledge.
Last but not least the dialogues in Spanish were very annoying and tiring and I ended up just skipping them.
However, I did enjoy the book very much and will be looking out for the third book in the trilogy and other works by the same author.
Aug 27, 2009
This book follows in the same language tradition of All the Pretty Horses, using Spanish intermittently without translation throughout the story . I felt absolutely no connection with the protagonist and could not care less for the problems he created for himself. I was not able to get myself to even finish the book. I would not recommend this book.
Apr 11, 2009
My first exposure to C. McCarthy was Blood Meridian and while I have not read any of the novels sited in Tn, I have read all the others. An author's task is to tell a story and have the reader live it as if there. This book and all the westerns require an adult male to read all the novel at one sitting, as he is that strong a story teller. The only parts that are tedious for me are his occasional conversations in Mexican that run on and on. His descriptions of places and people and happenings are dead on.
One must read all at least once, then never again.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-04-25 Young Billy Parham, in a horse stall, dreams of his father's eyes, ``those eyes that seemed to contemplate with a terrible equanimity the cold and the dark and the silence that moved upon him.'' Billy could as well be dreaming of McCarthy's prose and the unsparing tone of this, the second volume in the Border Trilogy. The Crossing , following the award-winning and bestselling All the Pretty Horses , is set in the American Southwest and in Mexico, and features, like its predecessor, teenage boys, their horses, a girl and the recurring spectacles of desert days and nights, awful wonders and appalling deprivations, and no small amount of roadside philosophizing. The story of Billy, his younger brother Boyd, the fates of their horses, a wolf, their parents and their dog, set against a vague and distant backdrop of the coming Second World War, throws little light upon a universe without much meaning, though it is in the nature of McCarthy characters to try to anyway. In the end, when the last dog is hanged, so to speak, what survives is the rhythm of McCarthy's open, ropey sentences circling a logic as inscrutable as an animal's or a god's. Although no mysteries are solved, and no comfort gained for these lonely characters, there is that language wrestling to earth all that it cannot know and all that it can. Readers again will be in awe of McCarthy's extraordinary prose attentions--the biblical cadences, the freshened vocabulary, the taut, vivid renderings of the struggle to live. 200,000 first printing; BOMC main selection. (June)
Publishers Weekly, 1995-02-20 This second volume of McCarthy's Border Trilogy-an 11-week PW bestseller-follows two teenage boys across the American Southwest and Mexico in the years before WWII. (Mar.)
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