Wednesday, January 18, 2012

All the Pretty Horses

"All the Pretty Horses" (302 pages) is the second novel I've read by Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Road." From the back cover of the book:

"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."

"All the Pretty Horses" is a beautifully written work of fiction by McCarthy, though not as bleak as some of his other works from what I've read, the story still has some gut-wrenching moments. The story of John Grady Cole takes him from his homeland of Texas a few years after World War II, where his world is transformed from the divorce of his parents and the ailing health of his father, across the border to Mexico. The idyllic adventure set out by friends slowly evolves into a coming of age story littered with love, tragedy, and at times horror. McCarthy's sweeping prose can be mesmerizing and truly haunting.

At times the Spanish in the novel frustrated me but usually the meaning could be discovered through the context of what was explained in English and through the characters actions. McCarthy's style is a little different from most American authors as well, excluding quotations and many other punctuations, which takes a few pages to get accustomed to but nothing detrimental to the over experience of the book. Highly recommended especially to fan of westerns or coming of age stories. I'll definitely check out the other two books in his "Boarder Trilogy" when the opportunity arises.

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