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All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy,…

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

by Cormac McCarthy (Author)

Series: Border Trilogy (1)

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9,317216620 (3.95)598
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.… (more)
Title:All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1)
Authors:Cormac McCarthy (Author)
Info:Vintage (1993), 301 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1992)

  1. 41
    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.
  2. 20
    Butcher's Crossing by John Williams (thatguyzero)
  3. 10
    Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (sturlington)
  4. 00
    The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry (sturlington)
  5. 00
    Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead (TheRavenking)
  6. 00
    Close Range by Annie Proulx (chrisharpe)
  7. 00
    Blindness by José Saramago (Rob.Larson)
    Rob.Larson: Much different from anything else, but his writing reminds me of McCarty's style.
  8. 00
    In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent (jhowell)
  9. 01
    Griffintown by Marie Hélène Poitras (Serviette)

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» See also 598 mentions

English (206)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (216)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
Too much fine writing. ( )
  Crypto-Willobie | Oct 18, 2021 |
A sixteen-year-old farm boy, who for some reason has the kind of grittiness, conservatism and life-experience you normally associate with novelists in their sixties, rides around on a horse and occasionally gets shot at.

There's a lot of very striking black-and-white widescreen scenery, and a lot of questing for vaguely-defined missing items, like "manhood", "territory", and "justice". And enough omitted quotation marks and untranslated Spanish dialogue to remind the unwary that this is supposed to be Literature, not Entertainment...

Joking apart, McCarthy is obviously very good at what he does, and I imagine that this is a book that would speak very strongly to people from his part of the world who feel that they have land and horses and cattle (and manly grit) in their heritage. But it doesn't do much to open that culture to the outsider. ( )
  thorold | Oct 18, 2021 |
I think this isn't a good book for me to listen to. Chuck has it in hard back, though, and I'll probably try again in the different format. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
A road trip novel, but with horses.

McCarthy describes stuff so realistically that by the end of this story I almost believed I could bust broncos and cauterize a bullet hole using my Colt revolver as a branding iron.

My only complaint is that there is a lot of dialogue in Spanish, which I don’t understand. It’s not too difficult to figure out what’s being said from the actions but I don’t like missing out. I guess it gives the novel and added level of verisimilitude but McCarthy doesn’t need another level.

It’s a great story, well told.
( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
I was surprised how much I liked this book. It's listed as a Western, but I would list it as an adventure. The hardest part was when the characters started speaking in Spanish. Some times I was able to figure out what was being said, and others I wasn't, which was a bit frustrating. I chose this to meet a prompt for a "National Book Award Winner" in one of my reading challenges. I'm glad that I chose this one. ( )
  BookLove80 | Mar 12, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (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)
Just as jazz is the archetypal American music, so is the Western the truly original genre of American literature. The West --- particularly for those of us who grew up on a video diet of television shows such as "Gunsmoke," "Cheyenne," and "The Rifleman," and the literary feast of the classic novels of Zane Gray and Louis L' Amour --- is evocative of a time of rough nobility, where it seemed as if each breath brought a new confrontation of Good vs. Evil. The reality was, of course, something quite different, an existential setting where life and death did strange dances in the sunset and actions occurred with a randomness and happenstance that took no notice of pureness of heart or motive and often rendered foresight useless.

This reality is presented with an indescribable elegance in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, the first volume of Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy. The volumes that comprise The Border Trilogy --- ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, THE CROSSING, and CITIES OF THE PLAIN --- each stand quite well independently, though they are best read together and in order. But it is ALL THE PRETTY HORSES that is, in many ways, the superior volume to its brothers in the trilogy and quite possibly to any other work written by an American writer in the 20th Century.

McCarthy's landscape is the southwest of Texas and Mexico between the two world wars, a time of uneasy transition, when horses and motor vehicles share the road and cattle ranches and cowboys are fading from the landscape. John Grady Cole, a 16-year-old with a love for horses and a knowledge of them far beyond his years, senses on some level that the way of life he loves --- horses and cattle ranching --- is soon to come to an end. He and his best friend Lacey Rawlins run away to Mexico in search of unnamed fulfillment other than the promise of adventure. Their meeting with the enigmatic Jimmy Blevins is a pivotal event that leads Cole into a series of bittersweet and violent encounters in a land where the rules are unknown and constantly changing. When Cole and Rawlins separate from Blevins and obtain employment on a Mexican cattle ranch, it appears that they have achieved their idyllic dream. Their brief association with Blevins, however, collides with Cole's affair with Alejandra, the beautiful and willful daughter of the owner of the ranch. Cole and Blevins soon find themselves in a situation where neither hope nor mercy exist.

McCarthy's main theme in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES is conflict --- man vs. woman, freedom vs. authority, rich vs. poor --- viewed through a clear glass with unblinking, unwavering vision and described with a poetic voice possibly unequaled in all of American fiction. Although the violence in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES is sudden and uncompromising, it is never gratuitous. It is also balanced and contrasted by McCarthy's description of the blossoming and fulfillment of the romance between the star-crossed Alejandra and Cole, a description that leaves the reader hoping that it will succeed even as it is known, almost from their first encounter, that any relationship between them is predestined to fail.

Ultimately, however, what is most significant about ALL THE PRETTY HORSES is that McCarthy has transcended the constraints of literature and fashioned a work that functions on an aural and visual level as well as a literary one. It is on that basis that it is possibly the penultimate American work of art of its era. One cannot come away from reading ALL THE PRETTY HORSES without wondering if, at the end of time and all that is, one of the last sounds to be heard will be the turning of the final page of this wonderful, incredible novel.
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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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.

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