All the Pretty Horses

McCarthy, Cormac. The Border Trilogy. New York: Everyman’s Library, 1999.

All the Pretty Horses is the first book in a series called The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy. For the sake of the Book Lust Challenge I am only reading the first book, All the Pretty Horses. When All the Pretty Horses was first published I shied away from it thinking it would be too violent for me. At the time I wasn’t really reading fiction as it was deemed “lazier” then nonfiction. Somehow I must have been sleeping when it was made into a movie. At any rate, I missed everything about this book and I’m sorry for that. All the Pretty Horses is violent, but no more so than other books I have read for this challenge.
The plot is really quite simple. After his Texas family farm is sold John Grady Cole sets out with friend Lacey Rawlins for Mexico. As teenagers they are quite mature in their knowledge of the landscape and how to survive the elements. Along their journey they meet a young boy with a horse and gun too mature to belong to him. This boy, Jimmy Blevins, only brings Cole and Rawlins trouble. I can see why All the Pretty Horses was made into a movie. It would appeal to animal lovers – Cole is an experienced horseman. He understands even the wildest beast. There will be sex – it isn’t long before he falls in love with a rancher’s older daughter and seduces her. And violence – Cole and Rawlins are thrown into prison accused of stealing horses. Americans in a Mexican prison. Nothing good can come from that. I’m sure the sweeping vistas of the southwest afforded the film some amazing scenery as well. McCarthy does such a beautiful job with description and dialog you won’t need to see the movie, just read the book. Seriously.

Quotes that throttled me: “Something imperfect and malformed lodged in the heart of being. A Thing smirking deep in the eyes of grace itself like a gorgon in an autumn pool” (p 71), “Sweeter for the larceny of time and flesh, sweeter for the betrayal” (p 141), and “There is no greater monster than reason” (p 146).

Book Trivia – All the Pretty Horses won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.

Author Fact: Cormac McCarthy is a private person and doesn’t give interviews that often.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust more than once. First from the chapter called “Boys Coming of Age” (p 45), and again in the chapter called “100 Good Reads, Decade by Decade (1990)” (p 179).

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