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The Crossing (The Border Trilogy #2)

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  20,952 Ratings  ·  1,330 Reviews
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
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Hardcover, 0 pages
Published April 28th 1996 by Random House Value Publishing (first published 1994)
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Dan West They are stand alone novels, but I would tend to recommend reading them in order if you plan to read all three for overarching…moreThey are stand alone novels, but I would tend to recommend reading them in order if you plan to read all three for overarching structural/tonal/thematic reasons. All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing don't have much narrative relation to each other, but Cities of the Plain should definitely go third as it is informed by and brings together main characters from the first two novels.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
Dec 05, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
One decision, as innocent as it may be, can fuck up your life forever. Now, you can live in fear and hide yourself away, or you can keep making those decisions and hope for the best, and if and when the shit hits the fan, you can stand strong and push on.

That's life. That's The Crossing.

Cormac McCarthy's "The Border" trilogy is where you'll find dusty plains, hard living, and a recent past populated by a people still living in an even more distant past. His characters are full of character, thei
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William1
Jun 08, 2015 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enormously affecting. A boy and his father set out to trap a wolf that is preying on their cattle. The man who had trapped them in the past, who opened the plains for countless thousands of cattle to graze is now dead, and the wolves have begun to return to their old hunting grounds from their retreat in Mexico. The father and son try to take up the trapping in the manner of the past master. The Crossing is about many things: the three journeys over four years into Mexico taken by the young Bill ...more
Joe Briggs
Aug 06, 2007 Joe Briggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Crossing is an astonishing book, more downbeat than All the Pretty Horses, yet not as bleak as the likes of Blood Meridian, it is a sprawling coming-of-age tale filled with moments of beauty and sorrow. The descriptions are as beautiful as anything Cormac McCarthy writes, the action is sparse but nailbiting when it comes and the characters are brilliantly realised. There are moments when the book lags but whenever this happens you can be assured that within a couple of pages McCarthy will co ...more
Caris
Jan 17, 2011 Caris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Yesterday, I made a pot of beans. This in itself isn’t unusual for me, but when you pair it with the chiles and pupusas I made the day before, you can start to see a pattern. It might not have all been authentically Mexican (the pupusas certainly weren’t), but it was all the sort of thing that you might find a cowboy enjoying. Never in my life have I had such cravings for tortillas and beans.

I suddenly find myself attracted to horses. And not just sexually. For the past two days, I’ve actually m
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Marco Tamborrino
È il dolore ad addolcire ogni dono.

Grazie, Cormac McCarthy. Grazie all'infinito. Hai scritto il libro della mia vita. E ti chiedo scusa se lo chiamo libro. Ti chiedo scusa per quelli che lo hanno disprezzato e lo disprezzeranno. Perdonali, perché non sanno quello che fanno. Io non posso fare altro che inchinarmi davanti a tanta capacità letteraria. Non posso far altro che piangere sapendo che un autore ancora vivente ha prodotto questo libro. Sapendo che ha scritto queste pagine, che non è stato
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Frank
Jun 08, 2008 Frank rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Alice Munro said in an interview that our lives begin as straightforward stories with the typical arc of fiction, but that as we go on living they become strange, experimental narratives, convoluted and difficult to interpret. It seems to me that's what's happening in this second volume of the Border Trilogy. Volume One was pretty straightforward, taut and clear in its construction. It told a story of a young man's searing introduction to the adult world. Volume Two does the same--with a differe ...more
Teresa
May 02, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, 5-estrelas
Magnífica Travessia!
Tem umas passagens árduas, tem. Umas em que se fala de Deus e de Fé, e que facilmente impacientam uma ímpia infiel como eu… Mas o resto deixou-me extasiada.
Cormac consegue expor o Homem no seu estado mais Puro; um Ser absolutamente livre e corajoso e determinado, que se entrega e sacrifica aos outros não por Dever mas por Querer. Não será por acaso, talvez, que a personagem principal tem apenas 16 anos; já é fisicamente um homem mas a alma ainda é de menino…

Estou viciada em
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MikeS
Sep 28, 2007 MikeS rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finishing All the Pretty Horses, I felt (maybe somewhat unjustly) that the bar of expectation had been set extremely high. I realize that some (most?) people have a particular favorite part of McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, but I’d be hard-pressed to choose one after reading The Crossing. However, the change was noticeable and I was relieved that the second book wasn’t just a rehashing of the first in theme and tone. The Crossing does maintain the elegant, sprawling prose contrasted by McCarth ...more
Jason
Apr 15, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a campfire tale about the humble genesis of a teenage Bad Ass cowboy from the desert southwest.

The story has 4 parts, each beginning and ending with a US-Mexico border crossing (hence the title). The crossing of the border takes Billy, the main character, a 16 year old boy, from a stark world of American reality to an almost dreamy, magical world of Mexican legend. There's a transcendental relationship between Billy and the earth & elements when he's south of the border. The relatio
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Jeremy
Comparisons between this and All the Pretty Horses seem inevitable. Here we have another buldingsroman: a teenage cowboy who rides south into the Mexican frontier, coming of age through scenes of privation and violence. But Billy Parham's journey has a a peculiarly mystical quality all its own. He keeps meeting these extremely odd people out in the wilderness who feel the need to explain to him, in deliriously long, wide-ranging monologues, their gnostically inclined ideas of God, History, Man, ...more
Kathryn
The second novel in McCarthy’s Border Trilogy is not a sequel to All the Pretty Horses, but rather a parallel coming-of-age story. Billy Parham is a sixteen year old boy living on a ranch in New Mexico. When a wolf suddenly begins killing his family’s cattle, Billy’s father sets him with the task of trapping the wolf. A game of wits between boy and beast ensues, as the wolf repeatedly digs up the traps that have been set for her. When Billy finally outsmarts the wolf and catches her, he feels su ...more
Ginny_1807
Sep 20, 2013 Ginny_1807 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi, america
Se ci si pensa, gli strumenti a disposizione di uno scrittore, o aspirante tale, si possono essenzialmente schematizzare in una prosa fluente e una storia da raccontare; e, come complemento, dialoghi credibili e ambientazioni suggestive, attenzione ai particolari e precisa caratterizzazione dei personaggi.
Il grande scrittore, però, possiede un’arma in più, ricevuta in dono da madre natura o, se si preferisce, per intercessione divina, ovvero una sorta di “fiammella” capace di imprimere animazio
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Melanie
Jul 12, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites


Some novels are never over, this is one. It's always going to be exquisite and cruel in the reading, it will be a book to read and love, to read and be devastated by: 'Some vast tragedy not of fact or incident or event but of the way the world was'.
Josh
Jul 08, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Esta es una novela occidental, pero no es una novela occidental normales........oh wait a minute, I forgot I just finished the book and am now in review mode. Much of the dialogue in this one is Spanish, but never fear, you'll context it just fine.

McCarthy is a master of the slow paced, philosophical novel which crosses boundaries of mankind's struggles both real and imagined. He has a way of coaxing the reader along in a debate that they didn't bargain for and for which no clear side is being t
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Chiara Pagliochini
« Il mondo non ha un nome, disse. I nomi dei cerros e delle sierras e dei deserti esistono soltanto sulle carte geografiche. Diamo loro un nome per non perdere l’orientamento. Tuttavia, quei nomi li abbiamo coniati proprio perché avevamo perso l’orientamento. Non si può perdere il mondo. Siamo noi il mondo. Ed è perché questi nomi e queste coordinate sono frutto della nostra nominazione che non ci possono salvare. Non sanno ritrovare per noi il cammino perduto. »

Tra tutti gli oggetti che ci circ
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Chloe
Jan 30, 2011 Chloe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit it freely- I was unprepared for Cormac McCarthy. Sure, I've heard all the reviews: that he's bleak, despairing, has a dark and twisted worldview, offers little hope for the future, et cetera ad nauseum. It's one thing to hear about this and to know that cracking a Cormac McCarthy book is not going to be an exercise in gumdrops and rainbows, it's a whole other thing to actually open a book and expose yourself to over 400 pages of brutally hard-living and events that shake your faith in ...more
Lara
Nov 26, 2007 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2007
My impression of this one mirrors many of the reviews I've read:

The first section with Billy and the wolf is stunning and surely among the best descriptions of man's relationship with the wild in literature.

The middle section meanders. I felt I needed a map to keep track of the brothers' wanderings in and out of Mexico, and many of their encounters with minor characters were unsatisfying. It was difficult to believe Boyd's connection with "the girl" when she wasn't even given a name.

The final t
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Daniel Chaikin
Oct 09, 2015 Daniel Chaikin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eventually McCarthy gives us a date, but in the mean time The Crossing leaves us wondering about the era and how it relates to All the Pretty Horses, and why this books is so completely different, and how long does the Peter and Wolf thing need to go on.

I'll spoil it a bit and tell you that Billy Parham crosses over to Mexico the first time about the winter of 1939, with his lame wolf in ropes. He's about 15 years old, making him about nine years older then John Grady. Billy is nothing like Joh
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Sarah
It makes me a little sad to rate this so low, because there are certain parts of the book that I loved ... certain passages that were so breathtaking, I've already reread them a few times over. While part 1 was really excellent, especially the ending, I mostly found this book a chore to read. Not a whole lot of plot, more of a meandering journey meeting random people who give soliloquies lasting several pages. A lot of philosophizing, which fortunately was often not so esoteric and could be pers ...more
trickgnosis
May 03, 2009 trickgnosis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book less. I was all the more disappointed because I have liked everything else I've read of McCarthy. This felt like paint by numbers McCarthy to me: male characters laconic to the point of absurdity, but stopping often to listen to portentous theological soliloquies. Wandering through desert landscape, and experiencing sudden senseless violence. It is devoid of feeling until the final page--practically an autistic novel--and ultimately offers nothing ...more
João Carlos
Jun 15, 2015 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, favorites, 2014best
“A Travessia” (1994) é o segundo livro da “Trilogia da Fronteira” escrito pelo norte-americano Cormac McCarthy (n. 1933).
Se em “Belos Cavalos” a personagem principal é John Grady Cole, um jovem de apenas 16 anos, em “A Travessia” Billy Parham, com a mesma idade, é o centro de uma história, com contornos mais místicos (a relação “divina” com a loba), mas igualmente enquadrada pelas belíssimas paisagens do México - cruza a fronteira três vezes -, simultaneamente, agrestes e traiçoeiras, mas com um
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Katy
May 23, 2010 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: fiction
If you enjoyed ALL THE PRETTY HORSES which is the first book in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, you will be equally enchanted by THE CROSSING.
The first time I tried this, 10 years ago, I couldn't get into it, but inspired by THE ROAD which I read this summer, I decided to try again and have been amply rewarded.
McCarthy is an eloquent writer. This is the story of a young American boy and his brother, who go to Mexico in an attempt to find the horses stolen from their ranch. They do find th
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Richard
Nov 26, 2014 Richard marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
I couldn't get into this. I wasn't blown away by the first instalment and this isn't working for me after 120 pages. I'll give it the "it's not you, it's me" treatment and put it back on my shelf. It does have the honour of getting its own category on Goodreads with a "DNF" shelf created just for this book.

Sorry Cormac, maybe some of your other work will appeal to me in the future
Offuscatio
Jan 01, 2015 Offuscatio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Pese a todas las penas e infortunios) "Solo hay una vida que merezca la pena vivir y yo he nacido para vivirla. Eso compensa todo lo demás". En estas mil y una fronteras alegóricas se descubre otro McCarthy. Más sobrio. Menos violento. Menos oscuro. Pero igualmente brillante.
Mark
Jul 26, 2013 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Judging from the four—closing in on five—Cormac McCarthy novels I've read so far, he is not a writer eager to share an abundant sense of humor with his readers. So the folksy (and very funny) joke an elder fellow cattle-rancher tells to The Crossing’s protagonist Billy Parham less than fifty pages into the more than 400 page novel is a rarity, if not a singularity:
There was this Texas lion and this New Mexico lion. They split up on the divide and went off to hunt. Agreed to meet up in the spring
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Diana
Feb 09, 2011 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is everything a novel should be: transformative, heartbreaking, mysterious. I'm frankly surprised at how deeply I adored this book - since western-themed stories aren't typically my thing - which essentially commandeered most of my free thoughts during the several weeks I was reading it, and thereafter. I still can't shake it.

Above all, what this book left me with was an appreciation for life's ultimate indifference; that generosity and brutality coexist in the world in fairly equal me
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Jenny
Feb 09, 2008 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: Pete and the book club!
This was a fairly bleak read, the story of this boy's life as he journeys in and out of Mexico and New Mexico. But I walked away with a pretty Zen feeling, reminded that life has ups and downs and all sorts of surprise consequences, some good and some bad. It reminded me of my favorite quote from the Tao te Ching, "Things arise and she lets them come, things disappear and she lets them go." As he travels, he listens to older people share their thoughts on life, and here's my favorite part of the ...more
Guenda Ferri
Nov 28, 2011 Guenda Ferri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Era da tempo che non leggevo un libro scritto così bene. Avete mai letto delle belle poesie? Dove le parole sono scelte con cura, in base al significato e all’armonia e al suono, dove la natura riesce a unirsi al verso come se le parole le fossero scolpite addosso? Immaginatevi di mettere insieme i versi in un testo in prosa: avrete “Oltre il confine” di Cormac McCarthy.
Almeno per quanto riguarda lo stile, la scelta delle parole, perché se si considerano questi aspetti non si può che convenire
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Amanda
Apr 23, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haunting and brutal, The Crossing opens in the interwar period. Billy Parham and his father are trying to trap a shewolf that has crossed from Mexico and is killing their calves. Almost like a novella within the story, Billy's ill-fated journey with the wolf — it's a journey with a wolf, of course it's ill-fated — is comic, heartbreaking, haunting (those amber eyes). This first Mexican foray sets a tragic precedent for Billy's later ventures south. Billy returns to New Mexico to find that things ...more
Peycho Kanev
Sep 20, 2015 Peycho Kanev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It had ceased raining in the night and he walked out on the road and called for the dog. He called and called. Standing in that inexplicable darkness. Where there was no sound anywhere save only the wind. After a while he sat in the road. He took off his hat and placed it on the tarmac before him and he bowed his head and held his face in his hands and wept. He sat there for a long time and after a while the east did gray and after a while the right and godmade sun did rise, once again, for all ...more
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Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres and has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

His earlier Blood M
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Other Books in the Series

The Border Trilogy (3 books)
  • All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1)
  • Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3)

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“Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from.” 174 likes
“So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall.” 62 likes
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