Genre: American Literature

Published: 1992 - Read:

The Border Trilogy

Cormac McCarthy (1933 - )

Pages: Lots and lots


Simply right up there with the best books I have ever read!! The novels make up the coming of age story of two young cowboys, John Grady Cole and Billy Parham. They are set in the borderlands between the Southwestern United States and Mexico, in the vanishing world of the Old West. There are reminders that it is set in the 1940s but there is a timeless quality to the atmosphere and action. Although the protagonists are only in their teens, their bravery is romantic and almost mythic. They take the hardships of life, their struggle to live decently and the considerable dangers they face all in their stride. There is a chivalric nobility in their aspirations - even if mere survival is the best they can hope for.

I really recommend The Border Trilogy – The title of the first ‘All The Pretty Horses’ was a title I found quite catchy, but gave me no real clue what the book would be about (apart from horses!) because I could not really imagine why a cowboy would think of horses as ‘pretty’!? When I had finished that: the second volume was ‘The Crossing’ – and the blurb said it was about a boy talking a wolf for a long walk over the mountains – did not sound appealing at all, faintly ridiculous – how wrong could I be – it was compelling from start to finish.

McCarthy is well known for other titles. ‘No Country for Old Men’ has been made into a popular film (but I have not read the book). [I have now.] ‘The Road’ too has been filmed and I have read this one… It is brilliant, but must rate as one of the most depressing book I’ve ever read. Father travelling (south?) with his son after nuclear holocaust. They experience the most dystopian of all dystopias. Father’s constant anxiety that his son is going to eaten or raped (or probably both). Can’t remember the ending except there’s the sea, a boat and… [spoiler avoided just in time].