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All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses (1992)

by Cormac McCarthy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Border Trilogy (1)

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8,268190607 (3.96)582

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Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
I've been hearing about Cormac McCarthy for years now, but somehow managed NOT to read him until now. ALL THE PRETTY HORSES has sat on my shelf for a dozen years or more, and now I've read it. With great pleasure and admiration, I should add. The book's been around for more than 25 years now, and I guess it's a movie too, but I haven't seen it.

Much admired by all, so what could I possibly add. I was reminded of a few things as I read about this buddies' road trip in post-WWII Texas and Mexico. It's a story that begins rather somberly, but as soon as John Cole Grady (16) and Lacey Rawlins (17) take off horseback for south of the border, and meet up with the pesky "Jimmy Blevins," even younger, and possibly a horse thief, the story gets kinda comical, and I thought of Huck & Tom. Later, the pair pursued by nameless riders, Butch & Sundance came to mind. Still later the story turns much darker and dangerous, and takes on a little more texture. John Grady becomes involved with the wealthy Mexican rancher's daughter, Alejandra, I thought of star-crossed lovers, and Hemingway's pair from A FAREWELL TO ARMS came to mind. So, yeah, there are many influences here, particularly in the beautiful prose employed. Bits of Hemingway or William Maxwell floated to the surface of my reader's consciousness. Or maybe it's just pure McCarthy. This is the first and only of his books that I've read, so I'm not sure, but know this: I'm impressed.

I guess the only thing I had a little trouble with was the maturity, wisdom, intelligence and ingenuity displayed by McCarthy's 16 year-old hero. It seemed like just too much of all of those things for one so young. You really needed that "willing suspension of disbelief" to believe that he actually survived all of the trials and tribulations that befall him here. But I'm a McCarthy convert now. Add me to the multitudes of fans. Very highly recommended. (four and a half stars)

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Dec 18, 2018 |
Brilliant writing with an consonant, immersive dialog, but I'm guessing that unless you're already a fan of other authors like William Faulkner or Thomas Wolfe, i.e. writers with a heavily measured prose, a story such as Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses is going to feel slow and meandering. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Sep 4, 2018 |
I was a bit caught between three and four stars for this rating.

I adore [a:Cormac McCarthy|4178|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1302752071p2/4178.jpg], although I do understand that he is a polarizing author. I've never heard of a person thinking that he was just 'all right'. The language of the book is both poetic and moving, and the imagery of it fades like so many colors across the painted desert. The book is beautiful, in a manner that only [a:Cormac McCarthy|4178|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1302752071p2/4178.jpg] could possibly convey. The book is... strange, as far as the author's normal nihilism and existentialist views tend to be.

The book is a western, and in it it contains much more humor and love than I expected out of a [a:Cormac McCarthy|4178|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1302752071p2/4178.jpg] novel. The humor caught me off-balance at first, and what stark horror there was pales in comparison to [b:The Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320606344s/6288.jpg|3355573] or [b:Blood Meridian|394535|Blood Meridian|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335231647s/394535.jpg|1065465]. While I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the other two, I still did like it once I got past the initial shell-shock of reading such a different piece by this author.

My advice to anyone picking this book up who is already a fan of McCarthy would be to stick with it. The book becomes more common McCarthy fare towards the middle of the second Act, and by the third it meshes once more with the new Western offering to create a very nice mixture that the poeticism of the text portrays well.

To anyone who has not read McCarthy, or perhaps found him distasteful, I would defy them to read this book and see how their views may change. I like to think that this book may bridge the gap between those who like him and those who don't. I like to think that this book may touch others in some way, the way that [b:The Sunset Limited|12496|The Sunset Limited|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1328380558s/12496.jpg|14794] and [b:Blood Meridian|394535|Blood Meridian|Cormac McCarthy|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1335231647s/394535.jpg|1065465] may touch me.

At the very least I think that just about everyone would benefit from reading a bit of [b:Cormac McCarthy|46495|Cormac McCarthy|Harold Bloom|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nocover/60x80.png|45614], the man commands language like very few can. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Beautiful later day western, and one keeps wondering whether there is really still the capacity to consume this, and is surprised. The straying metaphors, muddled and protracted nature/horse descriptions and the contrived southern biblicality coupled with certain other stylistic affinities are a setback. ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
This was a pretty solid book that definitely has some interesting themes going on throughout.

Overall, this was a good read about two young men who are clinging to a dying way of life (cowboys) and find themselves entangled in multiple problems across the border in Texas that involve murder, fighting, cowboy life, and loss of love.

There were some parts that left me rather bored, particularly where Alejandra was concerned. There were others that left me sad and yearning for old cowboy times. The last section in particular yanked on my heart strings a little.

I knocked the rating down mainly because there were too many slow parts scattered throughout the book and because McCarthy's writing style ( his punctuation style) irked me a bit. That being said, I did find this book interesting enough to make me want to pick up the next one. ( )
  Moore31 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (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.
Situada en 1949, en las tierras fronterizas entre Texas y México, la historia se centra en el personaje de John Grady Cole, un muchacho de dieciséis años, hijo de padres separados que tras la muerte de su abuelo decide huir a México en compañía de su amigo Lacey para encontrarse con un mundo marcado por la dureza y la violencia. Una novela de aprendizaje con resonancias épicas que inaugura un paisaje moral y físico que nos remite a la última epopeya de nuestro tiempo. Un estilo seco para una historia de emociones fuertes, ásperas, primigenias.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCarthy, Cormacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giralt Gorina, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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.
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.
Scars have a strange power to remind us of our past.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:21 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The story of young John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of Texas ranchers, who, along with two companions, sets off on an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

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