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The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy

The Border Trilogy

by Cormac McCarthy

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1,086157,665 (4.34)19
  1. 00
    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (paulkid)
    paulkid: Epic Westerns set in Texas and Mexico, McMurtry is more somber, McCarthy more dark.

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English (12)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The first McCarthy books I ever read. I don't collect books, but if I did I would buy and keep these. My absolute favorite books of all time. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
The Crossing is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. The language is so rich and descriptive. I have never had a book bring me to tears like this one, I couldn't stop crying. ( )
  Insolito | May 19, 2014 |
I ordered this trilogy as a result of having read McCarthy’s The Road and seen No Country For Old Men. The New Mexico/Texas/Mexico border country is the locale for all three of these stories, in the years surrounding the Second World War. The first two are coming of age adventures featuring young cowboys, while the third brings together the young protagonists of the first two.

In All the Pretty Horses we are introduced to young John Grady Cole, a horse whisperer of sorts who is in the process of being dispossessed of the New Mexico family spread. Along with his friend Lacey Rawlins, Cole lights out for Mexico and adventure. Falling in with a third boy, Jimmy Blevins, acts to bring the trio all the adventure they could ever hope for, most of it of the unwelcome sort.

In The Crossing, we find another New Mexico family. A wolf invades the local range and the Parham family sets out to trap and remove it. Billy Parham, the oldest son, comes upon the trapped, pregnant she wolf and is moved to relocate it back to its Mexican home rather than kill it. Parham crosses back and forth into and out of Mexico in the succeeding three years, ultimately joining forces with his younger brother Boyd. This is a far more tragic tale then the earlier story.

In Cities of the Plain, John Grady Cole and Billy Parham come together as ranch hands on a spread near El Paso. Like The Crossing, this is a sad and depressing tale.

Westerns are not a genre that I have frequently read, though Lonesome Dove is one of my favorite novels. The writing in these three stories is so authentic and haunting in its imagery and descriptiveness as to be stunning. This is some of the best writing I have ever come across, regardless of genre. Magnificent work.

I do have two complaints however, which diminish the work in my eyes considerably, not in the quality of its writing or storytelling, but in my personal reading experience. The first has to do with the very frequent, sometimes extensive Spanish dialogue. Granted, most of the Spanish is very basic, and I was even able at times to figure the gist of the conversations. At others however, entire paragraphs and sometimes as much as a page is consumed with Spanish conversation, sometimes at very key, highly compelling sections of the story. Having taken no Spanish and the book providing no footnotes or translations, what am I to do, go purchase a Spanish/English dictionary or get out of bed and feed the lines into an internet translator? The device certainly lends authenticity to the story, but only to the benefit of McCarthy’s bilingual readers. I cannot for the life of me figure out the decision making process that allowed this.

Secondly, there are several instances throughout the stories where McCarthy engages in very detailed, sometimes technical expositions on highly technical processes. The first that comes to mind is the process by which John Grady Cole saddle breaks wild, untrained colts. The intention is to create a vivid picture in the readers mind. However, McCarthy utilizes terms of art and references tools and equipment which are meaningless to anyone other than either a horseman or a ranch hand. The effect is to dedicate pages of descriptive prose which mean absolutely nothing to the reader. Again, my option is to get out of bed and find a dictionary and then do some research on the internet to get some photos and articles on ropes, knots, halters, bridles and other cowboy equipment that would render the narrative meaningful.

In a nutshell, a highly educated cowboy or ranch hand, fluent in both English and Spanish would likely deem this to be the most magnificent book he’d ever come across, and he’d likely be correct. Failing on both counts, I’m left with 90% of the story being top rate and the other 10% leaving me to scratch my head. ( )
  santhony | Apr 25, 2012 |
Read together these three novels make sense. Reading the Crossing by itself, you might be baffled, because the plot is a little weird, but in The Cities of the Plain the plot lines come toegether. Fantastically written, really brings to life the border country, and the era in which the characters are in. One rule about books is that it should make you want to read more about a particular author, and it is the case here. ( )
1 vote charlie68 | Dec 15, 2011 |
One of the few novels I constantly think back to, and one by which many others will be judged ( )
  Bridgey | Oct 10, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375407936, Hardcover)

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)


Available together in one volume for the first time, the three novels of Cormac McCarthy's award-winning and bestselling Border Trilogy constitute a genuine American epic.


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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Cormac McCarthy's award-winning and bestselling trio of novels, The Border Trilogy, appearing here in one volume for the first time, constitutes a genuine American epic. The young men in these novels come of age on southwestern ranches in the 1930s, while across the border Mexico beckons them with its desolate beauty and the cruel promise of a place where a dreams are paid for in blood… (more)

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