Tuesday, December 6, 2005

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses (1992) tells the story of John Grady Cole. Sixteen-year-old Cole and his friend, Lacey Rawlins, cross the Rio Grande from Texas into Mexico on horseback. Along the way, they meet another young man, Jimmy Blevins, who joins them on part of their journey south. Eventually, Cole and Rawlins work on a ranch, and Cole falls in love with Alejandra, the ranch owner’s daughter.

At first, I found reading the novel frustrating because of the lack of quotation and apostrophe marks for contractions. The post-modern, stripped-down style was difficult to read. Luckily, I did not put down the book before the half-way mark, and eventually McCarthy’s writing style grew on me.

There is a profound change in John Grady Cole from the beginning of the story to its end. I enjoy coming-of-age stories, and I thought this was an excellent one. Cole is directed by the women around him (his mother, Doña Alfonsa, and Alejandra) while struggling with the ethics of his actions and lack of action. Compared to his expectations, it’s sad what Cole finds along his journey, and it’s surprising that he’s not jaded at the end of the novel. He still loves life, and he’s still in search of more.

Purchase and read books by Cormac McCarthy:

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy The Border Trilogy: All the Pretty Horses, the Crossing, Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy

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