Author(s): Cormac McCarthyDownload
The concluding volume of the Border trilogy. In this magnificent new novel, the National Book Award-winning author of All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing fashions a darkly beautiful elegy for the American frontier. It is 1952 and John Grady Cole and Billy Parham are working as ranch hands in New Mexico, not far from the proving grounds of Alamogordo and the cities of El Paso and Juarez. Their life is made up of trail drives and horse auctions and stories told by campfire light. They value that life all the more because they know it is about to change forever.The change comes when John Grady falls in love with a beautiful, ill-starred Mexican prostitute and sets in motion a chain of events as violent as they are unstoppable. Haunting in its beauty, filled with sorrow, humor, and awe, Cities of the Plain is a genuine American epic.
Some Reviews: 1070 in Goodreads.com
For me the least successful of the trilogy though there was still much to love. This brings back the central characters of books one and two. It’s essentially a love story. John Grady Cole falls in love with a young girl who suffers from epilepsy and works in a Mexican brothel. His aim to rescue and marry her. The problem is her pimp is very possessive of her. The most moving relationships though are those the boy shares with the elderly Mac and his friend Billy. This novel is less violent than the others I’ve read by Macarthy but follows the usual formula. Lots of fabulous poetic writing, brilliant descriptions of the natural world and the usual cast of seers who provide a marvellous philosophical structure.
McCarthy is a master. My only complaint is that he hasn’t written more books.
This is the third and final book of the Border trilogy, a gritty, down to earth tale of two friends, John Cole Grady and Billy Parham and their cowboying adventures between the States and the Mexican border.
This one seemed to be more dialogue driven than any of the others, the characters carrying us through the story with their voice, done so well by McCarthy that a lot of backdrop description is not needed. To say much more about the impact of this book on my emotions would be a spoiler, so let’s just say, considering I am an avid Cormack fan I should have been prepared, but… well, that’s why I say he is a master.
This completes the Border Trilogy for me, which I’ve been slowly savoring for many months, sometimes in print form and sometimes audio. The trilogy is a remarkable achievement, and it has been a memorable reading journey for me.
CITIES OF THE PLAIN may be the weakest of the three books, but perhaps I quibble, and I prefer to think of the trilogy as a whole anyway. For all the harshness and violence in these novels, what will stick with me are the haunting beauty and profound sadness.
I happened to be reading Robert Macfarlane’s fine book THE OLD WAYS at the same time. In it he describes his sculptor friend’s affection for a giant boulder as paradoxically “cold and hard and tender.” It struck me that that may be an apt phrase to describe the Border Trilogy.
This is incredibly affecting work. I won’t be forgetting John Grady Cole and the Parham brothers any time soon.
I may be rating this book a little higher than necessary, but is very good, and especially as the last of his Trilogy Series. I read all three back to back, and normally I could be “cowboyed” out. But only because Cormac is so damn good, I want more horses, more open range, more lonely destructive adventure, Yes I want More.
Cormac is a poet that writes prose and the results are hearty and filling. When your flesh is filleted in a knife fight, the blood fills up your boots. Details. I give you an example “far to the south he could see the thin white adderstongues of lightning licking silently along the rim of the sky in the darkness over Mexico.” Adderstongues? Really, but can you better describe the abrupt darting movement of the lightning? No. But Cormac can. Buy his books, give him your money: he is an American Master.
A beautiful ending to the Border trilogy. The Cities of the Plain is more of a dialogue-driven novel than the previous two (All the Pretty Horses, the Crossing). It is still a novel firmly wrapped in beautiful landscapes, sad existentialism, and a world that is often dry, cold and unforgiving. It is a tale of wild and dying giants, fading men, and setting suns.
I read McCarthy and think: what the most I would trade to take possession of the least of his novels? Would I give an ear for his weakest writing? An eye? Which is his weakest novel? I am not certain I have found it yet.
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