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The Crossing (Border Trilogy) (paperback) [Paperback]

Cormac McCarthy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Aug 2007


Set on the southwestern ranches in the years before the Second World War, The Crossing follows the fortunes of sixteen-year-old Billy and his younger brother Boyd. Fascinated by an elusive wolf that has been marauding his family’s property, Billy captures the animal – but rather than kill it, sets out impulsively for the mountains of Mexico to return it to where it came from.

When Billy comes back to his own home he finds himself and his world irrevocably changed. His loss of innocence has come at a price, and once again the border beckons with its desolate beauty and cruel promise.

'Admirers of All the Pretty Horses will need little encouragement . . . McCarthy speaks to us in the thrilling, apocalyptic tones of an Old Testament prophet. We must treasure him' Sunday Telegraph

'The Crossing is like a river in full spate: beautiful and dangerous' The Times

‘An American epic infused with a grand solemnity’ Sunday Times

Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (3 Aug 2007)
  • Language: Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 0330341219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330341219
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a travelling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing, was published with the third volume, Cities of the Plain, following in 1998. McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men, was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Product Description


“The evocative prose and bilingual dialogue used by Cormac McCarthy pose a major challenge to any reader – and Brad Pitt, of all people, passes with flying colours, giving a measured, sombre performance”
Irish Times 3/5/97

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Following 'All the Pretty Horses' in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy is a novel whose force of language is matched only by its breadth of experience and depth of thought.

“The Crossing is the story of Billy Parham, 16 years old when we first encounter him and living on a ranch in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, in the years just before the Second World War. His crossing of the Mexican border – made three times – will be his rite of passage, each stage fraught with fear and pain … Cormac McCarthy is a wonderful writer … The Crossing is like a river in full spate: beautiful and dangerous”

“Admirers of 'All the Pretty Horses' will need little encouragement to go out and buy the second part of Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy; and they will not be disappointed … In a world of nine-day wonders and literary charlatans, McCarthy speaks to us in the thrilling, apocalyptic tones of an Old Testament prophet. We must treasure him”
MAX DAVIDSON, ' Sunday Telegraph'

Read by Brad Pitt

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Writing graven in stone 10 May 2009
By Melmoth
It is impossible to read a single paragraph of Cormac McCarthy's without being struck by the extraordinary power of his authorial voice. He writes with the rhythms of the King James Bible and with same alternate plainness and power. There is a weight to his words that is seldom seen, a heft behind each sentence. It as if his prose were carved in stone.

Into these sentences and paragraphs, onto these words, these stones, McCarthy scatters a cast of men (and fewer women) good and bad. Prophets, kindly, diligent doctors, wise women, sneering, jeering ruffians, petty officials, simple lunatics - all are to be found in these pages. Many of these figures come laden with tales, prophetic or otherwise, of broken churches and broken men, of lost wanderers, of lost heroes.

And McCarthy has heroes of his own, of course, both human and otherwise. The latter heroes are the landscapes of Mexico and the southernmost United States - harshly beautiful, uncompromising, demanding - and the animals that dot them: the she-wolf Billy Parham stalks at the opening of the tale, the horse he rides, the horses belonging to their father that Billy and younger brother Boyd seek to recover from across the border.

Lastly there come Boyd and Billy himself. The former young, impatient, is perhaps the more obviously heroic, a figure who becomes easily worked into song a into legend. The latter, loyal to a fault and beyond, dogged, determined to prove something - if not to the world then to himself - is the river that winds through the novel's stone-graven landscape, sometimes meandering, sometimes threatening to peter out but somehow always passing forward to his unknown, uncomprehended destinations.

Great stuff.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway for the 90s. 11 May 1999
By A Customer
Once again Cormac McCarthy has written a novel that defines its time. Where All the Pretty Horses described the West in the years immediately after WW2, The Crossing travels back to the pre-war period where the Old West is in its death throes. The story of Billy Parnham, and the trials visited on him, is breathtaking and moving, climaxing in a violent manner that no-one can predict. The only drawback in the Border Trilogy novels is McCarthy's over use of Spanish dialogue. For non-speakers this can detract from what is otherwise a superlative read. I can't wait to read the last instalment Cities of the Plain. With the first two books of the trilogy McCarthy has taken his place alongside Hemingway as one of the great writers of the American Novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! 13 Aug 2008
By Jezza
Really great book. It's amazing how such spare prose can be so powerful. The absence of artifice makes it really feel as if McCarthy really experienced all the things that he writes about. Tremendous. Must read the next one.

One tiny whinge - my spanish is not good enough to understand all the dialogue that is in Spanish. Couldn't it be translated somehow without ruining the flow?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but heartbreaking read 26 April 2008
By Cait
This book is one that will stick in my mind for years to come. It depicts a life and a landscape that is unremittingly stark and brutal. One critic described it as a novel that leaves the reader feeling "emotionally ransacked" and I could not agree more. It was deeply upsetting and unsettling at times but a must-read book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crossing 3 Oct 2012
By TomCat
Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing isn't so much concerned with the violent and sudden breach of clearly demarcated borders as much as it is with the slow bleed-out and eventual death of innocence, tradition and stability. There's a parallel to be found between Billy's journey from affectionate and naive purity to hardhearted maturity (via, of course, the violent upheaval of cruel experience), and the changes that the American South underwent during the sudden industrialisation of the early Twentieth Century.

It's almost a truism for reviewers to draw a distinction between the literal crossing of borders undertaken by the book's protagonist (America to Mexico), and the subtextual crossing of child- into adulthood; but there's also a third implied narrative, one that concerns itself with national identity, with the U.S as a frontier nation, in a state of perpetual flux. It's telling that McCarthy begins the novel with an assertion that the country "was itself little older than [a] child", and ends with an allowance that "The past is always this argument between counterclaimants. It is history that each man makes alone from what is left. Bits of wreckage. Some bones.". It's these more allegorical boundaries which, much like its predecessor All the Pretty Horses, firmly establish this novel as a uniquely American bildungsroman.

The Crossing tells the story of three journeys made by teenager Billy Parnham from his home in New Mexico down into Mexico proper, all in the late 1930s.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crossing 23 Mar 2011
The Crossing is the 2nd book in Cormac McCarthy's `Border Trilogy' (`All The Pretty Horses' being the 1st & `Cities Of The Plains' being the 3rd), but you don't need to have read `All The Pretty Horses' to read this as they are 2 completely unrelated stories, except in terms of theme.

Set prior to the Second World War, it's the story of Billy Parham, a boy who traps a wolf on his family's land, then on a whim sets off to return the animal to the mountains of Mexico. He doesn't realise that this journey will change his life forever and upon his return from Mexico he finds events have occurred that mean he can never again be who he once was.

This is a typical Cormac McCarthy book full of beautifully evocative description of the prairie landscape and well written characters, the story does slow down in places, but never enough to detract from the greatness of the book.

I would highly recommend this to anyone, but a word of caution, if you do not have a rudimentary grasp of Spanish I would suggest you keep a dictionary or Google Translate close to hand as there are some passages of dialogue conducted in Spanish.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good.
Published 12 hours ago by DAVID MCKINLEY
1.0 out of 5 stars like me, you loved reading All the Pretty Horses
If, like me, you loved reading All the Pretty Horses, Blood Meridian and The Road -think twice before you buy this one. It's really very disappointing. Read more
Published 14 days ago by rollingstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill'
Great condition
Published 1 month ago by TJ MCGINN
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended..
Gripping page turner, highly recommended...
Published 2 months ago by Rex Long
Published 2 months ago by Jason Beckford-Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars This is so good.
Without doubt, Cormac McCarthy is my all time favourite writer. I think he's better than Faulkner, but only just. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MR
4.0 out of 5 stars Unfathomable profundity
As in All the Pretty Horses, much of the plot, such as it is, centres on stolen horses. Almost everybody the main protagonist meets has unfathomably profound things to say about... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Marmaduke
5.0 out of 5 stars Manifest Destiny
The Crossing is the second Novel in 'The Border Trilogy' and although the characters have changed (the story of John Grady and Lacey Rawlins is not followed up here), the book is... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Supportyourlocallibrary
5.0 out of 5 stars ...of which there are several...
This is the second volume of Cormac McCarthy's aptly named "Border Trilogy." After a reading of the first, All the Pretty Horses (Border Trilogy 1), I knew I would complete the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by John P. Jones III
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crossing
Lovely, touching, scary, - definitely not your Hollywood western. maybe an echo of 'Dances with Wolves. Read more
Published 12 months ago by James P. Hendrick
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