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All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1) (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Cormac McCarthy

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6,567133578 (3.95)441
Member:remooney
Title:All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:Cormac McCarthy
Info:Vintage (1993), Paperback, 301 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Work details

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1992)

  1. 30
    Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (sturlington)
  2. 20
    Butcher's Crossing by John Williams (thatguyzero)
  3. 20
    Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (mabith)
    mabith: McCarthy's border trilogy reminded me so heavily of Steinbeck. I think if you enjoy one author you'll enjoy the other as well.
  4. 10
    Close Range by Annie Proulx (chrisharpe)
  5. 10
    In The fall by Jeffrey Lent (jhowell)
  6. 00
    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (sturlington)
  7. 02
    Griffintown by Poitras Marie Helene (Serviette)
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» See also 441 mentions

English (128)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (133)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
This is my second Cormac McCarthy book and I liked it much more than I did the first one (Blood Meridian). Written in his signature southern, rustic drawl the story follows a young rancher and his friend who have nothing to lose.

The two teens leave Texas with nothing but their horses and dreams of a quiet existence in the wild Mexican frontier. On the way they encounter another young man who ends up tampering with their dreams of an idyllic future. What can their friendship withstand? Trials, guilt, love?

Narrated by Brad Pitt, I was mostly pleased, but wished he would have spoken a little louder. He was very soft spoken, and at times sounded dispassionate. I have yet to see the movie adaptation.

This is a must read for fans of westerns, literary novels, and Cormac McCarthy. ( )
  ecataldi | Jul 21, 2014 |
I couldn't put Cormac McCarthy's "All the Pretty Horses" down.... I read it in one day, which is unusual for me. What a terrific story.

The novel tells the story of John Grady Cole and his friend Lacey Rawlins as they their ride horses into Mexico to leave their life in Texas behind. Troubles abound, of course, once they cross the border.

McCarthy's prose is very sparse here -- the lack of quotation marks really grated on me at first, but I guess I got used to it-- but it's very fitting with the gruff and abrupt style of the cowboys he's portraying. This was an excellent story that went places I didn't expect. I'll happily be picking up the next books in the Border Trilogy. ( )
  amerynth | Jul 20, 2014 |
Rating: 2* of five

The Publisher Says: The national bestseller and the first volume in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood. Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is to discuss the "most chocolatey novel" for National Chocolate Day.

I hate chocolate, and I hated this pretentious self-conscious poseur of a novel.

I dont think omitting punctuation is novel since the nouveau roman movement has been doing it since oh I dunno the 1950s AND its pretty much pointless in telling a standard coming-of-age story AND it's an absurd (and inconsistently utilized) affectation whose cynical deployment in this violent animal-abusive Peckinpahesque farrago won the author a National Book Award

Which is not to say that McCarthy can't write very nice lines:
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.
--lovely and precise

Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.
--amen to that one

But that isn't enough to make a book a Modern Classic! A triumph! A brilliant (overused word) novel!

It's a very basic coming-of-age-in-the-West story featuring a blah little boy who becomes a Man because shit happens. Where it isn't tedious it's nauseous. The pornographically sensual descriptions of guns and blood and cruelty are, for this reader at least, off-putting.

Take away the "difficult" "innovative" (really? eighty years after Ulysses and we're calling this crap-fest difficult and innovative?) stylistic quirks and what do you have?

A Louis L'Amour novel written by DH Lawrence.

How horrible is that.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. ( )
4 vote richardderus | Jul 7, 2014 |
Another book I can always go back to. Sometimes it is hard to decide which is better, The Road or All the Pretty Horses. ( )
  DougGoodman | May 16, 2014 |
This should probably be the one to start with when first reading Cormac McCarthy. However, it was not mine. It's a very good book, but it lacks the weight of his other work. It is a fast read and perhaps McCarthy's most upbeat story with an overtly heroic main character. It has the feel of a more straightforward western. You have a coming of age story about John Grady Cole who crosses into Mexico on horseback in the 1940s, gets into some trouble and returns having learned of the evils in the world but maintaining allegiance to his morality. The underlying theme is one of days gone by, where McCarthy juxtaposes the past with the coming modern age, where horse travel becomes an outmoded form of transportation and where John Grady's code of conduct is an endangered species. ( )
  Bradley_Kramer | May 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
You can’t just nip at darkness, so when you read this book, from page one you feel a threat following you, some animistic urging that keeps you going by the way McCarthy manipulates your demonic love of the sounds of speech.
 
All the Pretty Horses may indicate McCarthy's desire to come in out of the cold of those Tennessee mountain winters, but his imagination is at its best there with Arthur Ownby or with the monstrous Judge of Blood Meridian drowning dogs. He is best with what nature gives or imposes, rather than with the observations of culture.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Review of Books, Denis Donoghue (pay site) (Jun 24, 1993)
 
The magnetic attraction of Mr. McCarthy's fiction comes first from the extraordinary quality of his prose; difficult as it may sometimes be, it is also overwhelmingly seductive. Powered by long, tumbling many-stranded sentences, his descriptive style is elaborate and elevated, but also used effectively to frame realistic dialogue, for which his ear is deadly accurate.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCarthy, Cormacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolf, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door.
Quotations
There were storms to the south and masses of clouds that moved slowly along the horizon with their long dark tendrils trailing in the rain. That night they camped on a ledge of rock above the plains and watched the lightning all along the horizon provoke from the seamless dark the distant mountain ranges again and again. (p. 93 of original ed.)
The boy who rode on slightly before him sat a horse not only as if he'd been born to it which he was but as if he were begot by malice or mischance into some queer land where horses never were he would have found them anyway.
He thought that in the beauty of the world hid a secret. He thought the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679744398, Paperback)

Part bildungsroman, part horse opera, part meditation on courage and loyalty, this beautifully crafted novel won the National Book Award in 1992. The plot is simple enough. John Grady Cole, a 16-year-old dispossessed Texan, crosses the Rio Grande into Mexico in 1949, accompanied by his pal Lacey Rawlins. The two precocious horsemen pick up a sidekick--a laughable but deadly marksman named Jimmy Blevins--encounter various adventures on their way south and finally arrive at a paradisiacal hacienda where Cole falls into an ill-fated romance. Readers familiar with McCarthy's Faulknerian prose will find the writing more restrained than in Suttree and Blood Meridian. Newcomers will be mesmerized by the tragic tale of John Grady Cole's coming of age.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:14 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Cut off from the life of ranching he has come to love by his grandfather's death, John Grady Cole flees to Mexico, where he and his two companions embark on a rugged and cruelly idyllic adventure.

(summary from another edition)

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