Dedicated to classics and hits.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Crossing (1994) by Cormac McCarthy


Book Review
The Crossing (1994)
 by Cormac McCarthy

   The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy focuses on two characters: John Grady and Billy Parham.  Grady is the subject of the first book, Parham the subject of the second, and then both characters are in book three.   The Crossing is the second book in the trilogy, and it's about the childhood and young adulthood of Billy Parham,  the son of a small rancher in New Mexico, growing up shortly before World War II when the book starts, and then continuing through the beginning of World War II.    Like All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing is a bildungsroman/coming-of-age story that mostly takes place in Mexico, and like Grady, Parham experience many and various travails while riding around on a horse. 

    Wolves, Native Americans, bandits, stories told by blind old men, conversations with half-crazed missionaries, a fetching underage Mexican girl as a love interest, The Crossing has everything a reader or listener expects from the second volume of The Border Trilogy.    McCarthy is an awesome author for the Audiobook format- his style of narration is ideal for the spoken word, and I could listen to Cormac McCarthy novels on a loop on Audiobook.  The Crossing is one of McCarthy's longer books: 432 pages, and it feels so- with the individual episodes stretching into novella length territory. The initial encounter between Parham and a wolf, which he kills and then attempts to return to Mexico for burial, feels like a book in and of itself.

   I've lately become convinced that McCarthy is, in fact, my favorite author- simply if I consider the pleasure of his work, compared to the chore that other favorite authors like Pynchon and Roth can feel like at times.    As I write this I'm listening to the third book of The Border Trilogy, and that will leave only his very earliest novels left.   Basically, every book that McCarthy has written since 1980 has been a hit and a classic, and I agree on both counts.  

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