All the Pretty Horses
After his parents divorce, 16 year old John Grady Cole and his friend Lacey Rawlins decide to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico. The year is 1949, and while most would travel the highways in a car, this pair travel by horseback. Shortly before making the crossing they meet up with the mysterious 14 year old Jimmy Blevins who is determined to tag along. After losing his horse in Mexico, Blevins steals it back while Cole and Rawlins take a different path finding work on a ranch. Unfortunately the trouble caused by the young Blevins will come back to haunt them all.
The first two thirds of the novel is used to introduce the reader to Cormac McCarthy’s view of Texas and Mexico with his unique use of punctuation and prose. Though not as sparse as in his most recent novel The Road, McCarthy’s usual wordsmithing is on display again in All the Pretty Horses, the first in his Border Trilogy. Some sentences run on for entire paragraphs with incredible metaphors and beautiful imagery. In the final third the story begins to pick up as John Grady Cole is faced with isolation and heartache culminating in painful decisions.
The real weakness of this novel lies in the first two thirds which is much slower plot wise. If you haven’t read a McCarthy novel before or if you have and didn’t enjoy it this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re a fan go ahead, pick up All the Pretty Horses, the writing and the end are worth it.