Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Crossing

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, it's just been a busy time of year for some reason. Lots of traveling and coming home from Dallas with the plague has left me little time to do any reading. I finally finished "The Crossing" (426 pages) by Cormac McCarthy, a novel I've been working on for about a month. From Goodreads:

"Following All the Pretty Horses in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy is a novel whose force of language is matched only by its breadth of experience and depth of thought.

In the bootheel of New Mexico hard on the frontier, Billy and Boyd Parham are just boys in the years before the Second World War, but on the cusp of unimaginable events. First comes a trespassing Indian and the dream of wolves running wild amongst the cattle lately brought onto the plain by settlers - this when all the wisdom of trappers has disappeared along with the trappers themselves. And so Billy sets forth at the age of sixteen on an unwitting journey into the souls of boys and animals and men. Having trapped a she-wolf he would restore to the mountains of Mexico, he is long gone and returns to find everything he left behind transformed utterly in his absence. Except his kid brother, Boyd, with whom he strikes out yet again to reclaim what is theirs thus crossing into 'that antique gaze from whence there could be no way back forever.'

An essential novel by any measure, The Crossing is luminous and appalling, a book that touches, stops, and starts the heart and mind at once."

I think the preview above from Goodreads pretty much sums up the "The Crossing" without giving too much away. I was expecting a direct sequel to "All the Pretty Horses" but was surprised by the new set of characters and situations presented here. The tone is certainly similar to McCarthy's first volume in the "Border Trilogy." From what I've read the third installment will bring together both stories. I'll definitely need to find "Cities of the Plain" soon to complete the trilogy.

McCarthy's work is beautifully lyrical. Haunting and romantic. Tragic. When his narrative hits hard it takes your breath away. The premise is simple, a crossing into Mexico and back again, a couple of times. Along the way the reader is treated to a vast array of characters, both good and not so good, who have their own perspectives and tales of their country. I cannot recommend McCarthy's work enough. Simplistic, yet engrossing. A true master of modern storytelling.

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