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The Border Trilogy: All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, Cities of the Plain Hardcover – 28 Aug 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1032 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman (28 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857152611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857152616
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 13.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century." --San Francisco Chronicle
"A miracle in prose, an American original." --New York Times Book Review

"An American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century." "San Francisco Chronicle"

"A miracle in prose, an American original." "New York Times Book Review"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

From the author of The Road, and No Country for Old Men comes this trilogy containing All The Pretty Horses, The Crossing and Cities of The Plain

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
To try and do justice to these wonderfully original works in a few lines is an impossibility. The three books together make up what turns out to be a magnificent odyssey. It is a strange but ultimately rewarding journey you make with these characters. You get to know the characters well and enjoy their dry laconic wit. But the most striking feature is the main characters are so likeable. They are the best of American manhood. They stand up for all that is good in the star spangled banner. In fact they simply stand up for all that is good. If I could ride, which I can't worth a damn, then these are the young cowboys I would be happy to ride with if they'd have me.

In "All the pretty horses" we meet young John Grady Cole who with his companero set off South of the border on a whim. They meet a character called Blevins who seems like trouble and sure enough turns out to be trouble with a capital T. A mexican ranch and a pretty senorita are involved but the spectre of young Blevins comes back to haunt the good old boys. They end up suffering under Mexican justice. The rest I will not spoil other than to say it is a rollicking good read.

In "The Crossing" we meet the equally likeable Billy Parham and his younger brother. This is my personal favourite of the three books. The material is unpromising but McCarthy weaves magic with it. The boy Parham captures a wolf and decides to return it across the border to old Mexico where he stays for a bit longer than intended. On his eventual return he finds his parents have been murdered. He pauses briefly to pick up his brother and they head back over the border to hunt for the murderers. The book takes up an epic feeling as the journey takes on a never ending quest. Parham becomes a strange Quixotic figure in an alien landscape.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The trilogy is an immaculately woven tapestry of a story. It is often touching and often troubling. It is mesmerising in its slowly unfurling grandeur. Somewhere in the telling, there is love and admiration of a people's generosity in the face of abject poverty and strife. The ongoing endeavour of the protagonists-in-chief, hopeless in the face of futility, is intoxicating.

The prose, unembellished, archaic and stunted (all by thoughtful design) is food for my mind. The paucity of punctuation, the dearth of attribution in conversation, the stripping back of grammar - in my opinion achieves what is perhaps the desired affect of mirroring civilisation stripped back to the bones.

The magnitude of this saga feels immeasurable to me; I just know as time passes since I read it, I appreciate more and more, how privileged I was to stumble across it.

I believe McCarthy's Blood Meridian lives in this company, for that is another breathtaking work; more alarming than the Border Trilogy and certainly as affecting.

For me one needs not look too much further than this trilogy and McMurtry's Lonesome Dove books, for the very best in tales of frontiers and the often tragic cost of 'civilisation'.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well,better late to review than never...all there really is to say,though,that this is,in my opinion,the greatest living writer in the new world.Imagine a cross between Larry McMurtry,at his best,and William Faulkner,and some indefinable otherness,and you have Cormac McCarthy.Having recommended these books to several people,they have looked askance at me thereafter...so,their loss.They should have stuck with Noddy,my error in thinking them worthy of the great man.And great,he most certainly is.I love all his books,but this trilogy,it is the mythical desert island choice...for me,at least.If you have anything resembling a decent mind,get this,read it.You can then read it again.If you don't love it,then something is wrong.But it isn't Cormac.It's you.No offense meant,I just feel more passionately about these books than ANY i've read in the last 25 years.Fact.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first two novels relate, separately, the adventures of two young American cowboys, each with a mission, journeying through Mexico before, during and after the Civil War. They suffer hardships and set-backs, resourcefully overcome; encounter generous help and hospitality, as well as great danger, violence and tragedy. The third book unites the two in what I think is the best of the three.

The trilogy is a saga of courage, despair and triumph against adversity, interrupted by several excessively lengthy yarns by various strangers they meet, which the author uses as a vehicle for expounding various philosophies on life, but which are irrelevant to the story and don’t appear to progress it in any way. Dialogue is laconic, none too articulate, often humorous (and punctuated with much spitting and tooth-picking), while the narrative is often long-winded to the point of being boring. His descriptions are graphic and often poetic, the story strangely compelling, but some long tracts make heavy reading.

McCarthy’s writing style is varied, ranging from acute brevity to excessive detail, in which he will never settle for two words if he can manage to squeeze in twenty. I was intensely irritated by his discourtesy to the reader by omitting apostrophes, hyphens and quotation marks (although one does get used to it), and am nonplussed by his consistent use of lower case initials for ‘ italian’,’jew’, ‘english’ and ‘french’, while honouring Spanish, American and Mexican with capital letters. Most irksome is the fact that a lot of the dialogue is in Spanish, for which only occasionally does he employ any of the usual devices for assisting understanding.
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