Customer Reviews


29 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
I guess the greatest gift that I writer can give is a little of his own soul. All three books in "The Border Trilogy" give the reader such a profound feeling of having been written from the heart, that to finish each book is like parting with a friend, and the completion of the Trilogy is like bereavement. One of the aspects that make these books so affecting is...
Published on 12 Mar 2001 by J. Beevers

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow Motion Western
This is a book that requires a lot of patience from the reader who must at times think he is in the Mild rather than the Wild West despite the ending that is straight out of High Noon when the good guy meets the bad guy.

The basis of the plot - a young American cowhand who falls in love with a Mexican prostitute and his determination to free her from the...
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by John Fitzpatrick


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 12 Mar 2001
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I guess the greatest gift that I writer can give is a little of his own soul. All three books in "The Border Trilogy" give the reader such a profound feeling of having been written from the heart, that to finish each book is like parting with a friend, and the completion of the Trilogy is like bereavement. One of the aspects that make these books so affecting is that they concern ordinary people who try extraordinarily hard to do the right thing against the overwhelming opposition of landscape, history and the future as other, lesser people, see it. "Cities of the Plain" brings together the protagonists from the two earlier works and as friends they reprise the doomed enterprise of the earlier works. This revisiting by McCarthy of similar themes throughout the Trilogy serves to highlight his concept that we are all pawns in a bigger game but nonetheless we should endeavour to play to some higher rule in order that collectively we may amount to something better. If all this sounds rather grandiose, well, it is, and it matters. In a very different way Richard Ford illuminates a similar area in his Frank Bascombe books, but whereas Ford's characters are found in everyday settings, both McCarthy's settings and language are epic. I have read criticism that he goes too far with his archaic language and tumbling sentences. Well, he may do occasionally, but I would read McCarthy for the prose alone, and consider plot, characterisation etc a bonus. I can think only of Annie Proulx right now whose prose is such a delight for its own sake and both make much other good reading seem turgid in comparison. Harold Bloom states that we read to enrich our experience, our wisdom, our healing. This is true of literature of this calibre. Cities of the Plain is a fine conclusion to an ennobling reading experience. I anticipate that I will read this Trilogy many times.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "One world that will never be...the world they dream of.", 20 May 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This final novel in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy of the southwest brings together the themes McCarthy has developed throughout the trilogy. In the first novel, All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy stresses the romanticism of John Grady Cole, who runs away to become a cowboy, suffers a heart-breaking loss at love, and returns, sadder and perhaps wiser, to find solace in the solitude of his work on the plains.
Times are changing as the 20th century progresses, however, and the independent life of ranchers is threatened. In The Crossing, a far darker novel which takes place a few years later, Billy Parham, another young man, takes off with his brother, crossing the border into Mexico, to explore its older traditions and ways of life. Cities of the Plain, with Biblical suggestions in the title, brings young John Grady Cole and the older Billy Parham together, as they work on the McGovern ranch in Texas in the 1950s. The wilderness is disappearing, cities are encroaching, and an army base may take their land.
Focusing less on the harshness of ranch life than in past novels, McCarthy here concentrates more on character, in this case, that of John Grady Cole, who falls in love with a prostitute from Juarez and wants to bring her across the border to his way of life. Billy Parham counsels him against marrying her, but John Grady is determined to wrest her away from Eduardo, her manager, and give her the peace that she has never known. Life is harsh, however, and outcomes are bleak for dreamers and altruists. John Grady soon finds himself engaged in a struggle with Eduardo which is vicious and unrelenting, a metaphorical struggle between honor and evil, and between civilized values and the "justice" of tooth and claw, hope and desperation, and acceptance of change and adherence to the past.
McCarthy's gorgeous descriptions of this vanishing way of life on the ranch are as effective here as they are in the other novels in the trilogy, though they seem to be presented nostalgically. Times are changing, and the "old man," the ranch owner, is now becoming senile. Civilization is drawing closer, and John Grady, the cowboy, uses taxis instead of horses when he is in a hurry to travel. As McCarthy draws the reader into John Grady's story, the reader knows that the struggle between him and Eduardo is a mythic struggle, and s/he also knows what the likely outcome will be. The elegance with which the ending is drawn, however, gives both potency and poignancy to McCarthy's message. Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating ending to an awesome trilogy, 15 Dec 1998
By A Customer
A reviewer once said of McCarthy that he is "a nation unto himself". Truer words and all that.
Anyone familiar with his work will already know that McCarthy is undoubtedly the USA's greatest living author. I certainly have not read one better.
Although Blood Meridian is probably his masterpiece and one of the great books of the 20th century, the Border Trilogy is right up there with it.
Pretty Horses was a fairly light-hearted undertaking compared to the second and third instalments. The Crossing was nothing short of devastating. That ending has to rank as one of the most desolate in the history of the written word.
Cities of the Plain isn't exactly a laugh a minute either. I can only guess at what ails Mr McCarthy but the man is not given to great outpourings of joy.
Apart from that, the master does not fail us when it comes to evoking the beautiful country in which he resides. Who needs westerns when you've got McCarthy? If the image of a man on a horse has any kind of resonance for you, then he's your man.
His understanding of the relationship between man and beast is profound. One gets the feeling that he is happier in the company of horses than men.
And his descriptions of the countryside are as vivid and enduring as any painting. If you've read the first two then you will of course want to read this one. Just be prepared for the culmination.
It's a harsh blow. As usual McCarthy pulls no punches. And his disgust at the trappings of "progress" is palpable in this outing.
I just hope that the man hasn't given up on us. His is a unique voice and we can ill afford to do without it. Muchas gracias, senor. Vaya con dios.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique wordsmith weaves more American pictures, 1 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Cities of the Plain (Paperback)
Mccarthy has created another masterpiece of modern American writing to add to his formidable works. The characters from the first two books in the "trllogy" take on the raw world of ranching on the mexican border and a fateful tale beyond normal imagination is played out in Mccarthy's inimitable technicolour of language.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The trilogy saga ends in deep sadness, 10 July 1998
By A Customer
Having completed the entire trilogy in the last three weeks, I was deeply moved by the sadness of how death cut down these youth in their prime. From the first book's exciting evocative descriptions of the West, there was never again anything so lyrical as the author's ability to paint pictures of sky, horses, cowboys at work and their shorthand communication. I loved the compassionate portrayal of poor honest Mexicans and the fatalistic violence controlling the destinies of so many people. [I struggled with the spanish - but I think I caught most of it - what a master of dialogue!] I most confess that I had real problems appreciating the epilogue - I guess I have to go back and re-read that!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so glad I read this, 17 Sep 2012
By 
C. midgley "nevercertain" (midlands uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cities of the Plain: 3/3 (Border Trilogy) (Paperback)
This is the concluding book in the trilogy, and is a superbly eloquent telling of the final part of the story of the central characters. It is achingly beautiful in the simple language and un fussy prose used to tell the tale of exhausting physical work, grand landscape, and men of few words. I was lost when it was finished.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A reckoning with literature, 4 Oct 2010
This review is from: Cities of the Plain: 3/3 (Border Trilogy) (Paperback)
Readers, there are many problems with the Border Trilogy: the infuriating too-clever-by-half use of Spanish, which to someone with little more than a basic grasp of the language, leaves large chucks of dialogue opaque; McCarthy's difficulty, at times, in rendering what he is describing as truly and eloquently visible; a penchant for repetitious overly dragged out scenes (how many times in The Crossing did Billy really have to wander from town to town, towards the end of the book?) - but the Cities of the Plain completes what is unquestionably a masterpiece of American literature. What great work of art is not flawed? Thank God for the flaws, in fact, so we have them to counter-pose against the great moments in the three books and therefore see them as truly rare pieces of writing.
So many reviewers have questioned the ending of Cities of the Plain. I fail - so sadly - to see why. Quite simply it is heart-breaking, devastatingly beautiful. Billy's final scene - the very last pages of the book - are almost too painful to read. Few books reduce me to tears - and to be able to do so is, for me, the mark of greatness - but McCarthy tore the heart from my body in the final moments of his trilogy. All I can say is, 'Poor, poor Billy'. To make a reader love a character is perhaps the surest sign of a talent that verges on brilliance. The epilogue has to stand with the work of Beckett in its ruthlessly bleak, but loving and tender, summation of human life.
Like the most memorable books, the characters McCarthy has created - John Grady and Billy - will stay with you forever. Leaving them will be terrible. But remembering them as clay in the hands of a great writer - and the lives they lived for us - will remain a life-affirming gift.
But please, for the love of God, read the books in the correct order - to do otherwise would reduce a reckoning with literature, that should change your soul, to an experience that is all but pointless.
You will enjoy these novels - although there are moments where you will be angry with McCarthy for letting himself down and not living up to the peerless standards he has set for himself as a writer - but in the end, when you close Cities of the Plain and put the trilogy down, you will be a better - if sadder - human being.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars still better than anything else, 3 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This is a different book than the first two installments of the trilogy. It is much more concise and an easier read than the first two. Does this make it less of a book? On its own,this is still better than anything currently being published. It was an almost impossible task trying to combine the two main characters of each book and improve on them. It would be a shame not to read this book because it is different than the first two. I can't hope to read a better new book this year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Happy reader!, 5 July 2014
By 
Sonja (BRISTOL, Avon, GB) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cities of the Plain: 3/3 (Border Trilogy) (Paperback)
Yes. Delivery, quality ... all was exactly like stated.. happy to shop here again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, 26 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An amazing trilogy, I've read the trio three times.
modern western of thought invoking quality.
Great descriptive passages. Must go to Mexico
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Cities of the Plain: 3/3 (Border Trilogy)
Cities of the Plain: 3/3 (Border Trilogy) by Cormac McCarthy (Paperback - 1 Jan 2010)
7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews