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The Border Trilogy: All the Pretty Horses, the Crossing, Cities of the Plain (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – September 28, 1999
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"An American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century." —San Francisco Chronicle
"A miracle in prose, an American original." —New York Times Book Review
From the Inside Flap
McCarthy's award-winning and bestselling Border Trilogy constitute a genuine
Beginning with All the Pretty Horses and continuing through The
Crossing and Cities of the Plain, McCarthy chronicles the lives of two
young men coming of age in the Southwest and Mexico, poised on the edge of a
world about to change forever. Hauntingly beautiful, filled with sorrow and
humor, The Border Trilogy is a masterful elegy for the American frontier.
More About the Author
Photo © Derek Shapton
Top Customer Reviews
The first novel, "All the Pretty Horses" is one of the most beautifully told stories I've ever read. Not only is the writing here packed with imagery, and the story one of McCarthy's most accessible, but the textures of the words used to describe the images are as lush and as enfolding as anything F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote--even when McCarthy's describing the driest of desert plains, the most desolate of ruins, or the emptiest of lives.
The book tells the story of two young friends who leave home in 1948 Texas to ride south into northern Mexico in search of SOMETHING. What happens along the way is tragic and amusing, lovely and gripping, real and amazing. McCarthy seems to paint every scene perfectly, yet he does so using the fewest amount of words possible, and the simplest of details.
"The gray and malignant dawn." "Stars falling down the long black slope of the firmament." "The shelving clouds." "Their windtattered fire." "Narrow spires of smoke standing vertically into the windless dawn so still the village seemed to hang by threads from the darkness."
Long sentences shroud the reader in the events of every scene, and the author's trademark quote-sign-less dialogue gives every conversation a very biblical feel.
The trilogy's second book, "The Crossing" has only thematic and geographical elements in common with the first. The story deals with a completely different character, Billy Parham, a son in a late-1930s New Mexican ranching family. Billy traps a wolf that has been killing his father's cattle but realizes he morally can't kill it and has to return it to its home in the mountains of old Mexico.Read more ›
So were it not for McCarthy's ferocious prose, "All the Pretty Horses" may have been just another coming of age story. But in McCarthy's special corner of hell, along with the obligatory introduction to "young love", passage to adulthood may include exile in a foreign country, being hunted on horseback across a barren desert, variously stabbed, shot, tortured, or imprisoned. John Grady Cole is a sixteen year-old son of a Texas rancher who, up until his grandfather's death, worked the ranch and developed an uncommon kinship with horses. With his grandfather gone, his father dying, and his mother flitting around the cultural scene in post-WWII San Antonio, John Grady sets out on horseback for Mexico with buddy Lacey Rawlings.Read more ›
The language is lyrical and poetic, sometimes short and choppy in the language of McCarthy's young cowboy protagonists, sometimes long and surreal in his descriptions of horses, landscape, and dreams. The language finally emerges as a living character of the novel, equally shaping the narrative and its power, separate from the plot line and journey motif.
His storytelling ability is unmatched as he weaves storytelling characters into the bildungsromanesque journeys of John Grady Cole and Billy Parham. These interlocutors relate intricate stories that allow us to witness tales being both told and witnessed, creating a double effect on us through our connectivity to the characters. McCarthy uses his own wonderful narrative to reflect on the power of the narrative event and the act of storytelling. He truly raises the standard for today's writers, for not only does his language transcend the pitter-patter of most so-called literature, his ability to weave marvelous stories and reflect on his role as narrator makes him a writer worth reckoning with. In fact, I just completed a thesis based on this set of three novels for my MA in English at BYU. Read them in order, or read them separately, "All the Pretty Horses" will draw you in with its sometimes intense sometimes comical language and bloody violence. "The Crossing" will captivate you in its complexity and depth, as well as its realistic, terribly moving portrayal of a young man alone and lonely. Finally, "Cities of the Plain" will make you laugh and cry as the protagonists are brought together in a domestic setting and move toward their destinies, each preset by McCarthy himself.
Read everything he has written. You will ache for more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Three poignant tales, which will dramatically improve your understanding of the Southwest during a simpler time.
Interesting read. I'd seen the movie and, as usual, much preferred the book. Kind of dark, this isn't a feel good novel but a really good read. Read morePublished 7 days ago by John
I read The Road and Blood Meridian before this one, and I must say that in terms of levels of violence this book is "beginner" McCarthy. I also loved it. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Joe
Slow to start but worth sticking with. I really enjoyed this book and as a result bought the next book in the series.Published 25 days ago by Ben
McCarty's prose is spellbinding. At times, I felt like I was going to run out of breath before reaching the end of a sentence. Read morePublished 1 month ago by stanc