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Cormac McCarthy Value Collection: All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy #1-3)

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,373 Ratings  ·  262 Reviews
The first volume of the Border Trilogy–tells of young John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of Texas ranchers. Across the border Mexico beckons–beautiful and desolate, rugged and cruelly civilized. With two companions, he sets off on an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

In the late 1930’s,
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Published August 23rd 2005 by Random House Audio (first published 1994)
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Jake Vines I wouldn't call it a romance, but there is a love interest thread in All the Pretty Horses and Cities of the Plain. But, I promise you that the novel…moreI wouldn't call it a romance, but there is a love interest thread in All the Pretty Horses and Cities of the Plain. But, I promise you that the novel is much larger than a mere love story. (less)
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Jun 13, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have this vague idea of going back and writing reviews of some of my favorite books, read long before I heard of Goodreads. And yet strangely, it’s somehow harder to write reviews of the books I love the best. I’m not sure why that is- maybe it’s because I feel SO MUCH for the books that are like old, beloved friends, that combing through all my weighty feelings and associations with them to find the right words is almost impossible. So there is my disclaimer that this will probably be a rambl ...more
Jan 12, 2008 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get through this trilogy, since I took a break between the second and third book, but I'm so glad I finally finished it.

All the Pretty Horses was definitely the strongest and most even, in my opinion. McCarthy introduces his epic hero, John Grady Cole, and it's hard not to fall in love with him from the beginning.

The Crossing, which introduces the trilogy's second protagonist was my least favorite of the three. The narrative kept wandering into philosophical discussions for
May 19, 2008 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read All The Pretty Horses camping on the beach in Sonora, Mexico. I had never read McCarthy before and it blew me away. The rhythm of the prose mimics the gait of a horse on an open range, the lyrical descriptions of the Southwestern landscape dead-on. Well-crafted (and often humorous) dialogue with a careful ear for cadence and dialect.

However upon subsequent readings, and further exploring the Trilogy, I became less enthralled and more conflicted. In The Crossing, the prose becomes mo
Paolo Gianoglio
Feb 21, 2015 Paolo Gianoglio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parafrasando un famoso titolo di McCarthy, questi non sono libri per persone impazienti. Tre storie indipendenti, di cui la terza è l’ideale proseguimento delle prime due, ma potrebbe anche essere letta da sola. Allora perché metterle insieme in un volume da oltre 1000 pagine? Perché per leggere queste storie serve un passo, un ritmo; e quando lo hai acquisito difficilmente te ne vuoi separare. Tre storie fatte di freddo, polvere, sangue, cavalli, alcool, notti all’aperto, dialoghi minimi e dial ...more
Katya Bogdanov
Aug 26, 2013 Katya Bogdanov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the Pretty Horses
My first impression was that this book just wasn’t quite as immediately striking as The Road (one of my two favourite books of all time). That is to say, there were significant pros, but also some cons, which leads me to a “good,” rather than “great,” rating.

The undeniable and significant pro is that the world McCarthy recreates is captivating and leaves you with a lasting impression and an understanding of its reality. It is a world of men and horses, of grave injustice th
James Kane
Sep 05, 2012 James Kane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I finished Blood Meridian a couple of months ago I felt convinced that I had read Cormac McCarthy's most important book: the key to his oeuvre, the lynchpin of his thought, the vehicle for his profoundest reflections on life, death and what it means to be human. Now, I'm not so sure. Among McCarthy's many talents is his ability to give the reader the impression that each of his novels is just as deep as the last, if not deeper, no matter what order you read them in. In The Border Trilogy, M ...more
Dec 06, 2007 Kara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these books! I first read All the Pretty Horses in high school, and liked it so much I started reading his other books. These are my favorites of his, by far. I enjoy his writing style, and the southwest setting always makes me feel some sort of would be nice to have a lifestyle so free of possessions and responsibility, but then again, I do like the comforts of modern society. These books are all rather violent, but if you can get past it, you'll appreciate one of the gre ...more
Jan 04, 2010 trishtrash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
All the Pretty Horses:

John Grady leaves Texas, knowing that his mother is selling the family ranch. Taking his friend Rawlins, they light out for Mexico, where trouble and passion are as much a part of the landscape as rock, dirt and horseflesh.

I don’t think there is a writer more suited to westerns; McCarthy’s dialogue is sparse and dry, yet shot with amusement and even affection. His descriptions are a panorama of vivid and moving immediacy, his narration is pragmatic and immersive, the action
Julie Laporte
Aug 12, 2012 Julie Laporte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I really could review these books separately, and I don't recommend reading them with large gaps of time in-between...just plowing straight through all three I think is the best way to go. McCarthy's complexity as a writer and philosopher really comes through in this trilogy, and I think some of the nuances and a lot of the enjoyment would be lost were you not to read them successively.

Having read (and loved) The Road, I was expecting to be drawn in immediately, and this wasn't the
Jennifer (JC-S)
Sep 16, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘Things separate from their stories have no meaning.’

The first two novels in The Border Trilogy feature different protagonists and are set roughly a decade apart. Both protagonists: John Grady Cole, in ‘All the Pretty Horses’; and Billy Parham in ‘The Crossing’, are young cowboys and each travels between the US southwest into northern Mexico. The third novel, ‘Cities of the Plains’, opens in the early 1950s with Cole and Parham together at a ranch in New Mexico, just north of El Paso.

‘It was vaq
Sep 09, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I add to over 3000 ratings and nearly as many reviews all adding to a high 4? I loved the format of The Crossing, called a picaresq style by the experts. It was very challenging of my expectations about what a novel should be. But it was totally engaging and full of thought provoking philosophy. Quite apart from the philosophical depths of Mr McCarthy, he tells a ripping story. The grande finale is the knife fight, complete with McCarthy gore and brilliant prose. Give me a poet who writ ...more
Dave N
May 29, 2016 Dave N rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mccarthy
It's impossible for me to try and review the scope and direction of these books, in whole or in part. I'm neither critic enough nor poet enough. I can say that John Grady Cole and Billy Parham felt as much like real people as I've ever read on a page. They're motivations weren't always clear, and the choices they made at times felt disingenuous, but not because the characters were incompletely written, but because they themselves were incomplete people. Reading the trilogy for the third time jus ...more
Michael Nutt
Nov 16, 2014 Michael Nutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I came to McCarthy's celebrated Border Trilogy already a convert to the author's work. I rate 'No country for old men' among the best books I have read. I am less enthusiastic about 'The road', yet it is a powerful and unforgettable read.

'All the Pretty Horses" is the first volume in The Border Trilogy. The story opens in Texas shortly after World War 2, at a ranch near San Angelo where part of a traditional American way of life is coming to an end. It is 1949 and schoolboy John Grady Cole is at
Oct 06, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much enjoyed the trilogy as a whole. I went into it blind in terms of story, leaving me to believe after the second book that the three books together were linked in theme only. That was surprisingly, and enjoyably, false. A few thoughts on each book:

In All the Pretty Horses, the first novel of the trilogy, McCarthy laments the passage of time, the ways that life pulls the earth from under us. The novel concerns 16-year old John Grady Cole, and as he passes into adulthood, we mourn with him
Sep 10, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All who seek beauty and truth
Recommended to Matt by: Victoria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2010 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"He knew that our enemies by contrast seem always with us. The greater our hatred the more persistent the memory of them so that a truly terrible enemy becomes deathless. So that the man who has done you great injury or injustice makes himself a guest in your house forever. Perhaps only forgiveness can dislodge him."

"When you look at the world is there a point in time when the seen becomes the remembered? How are they separate? It is that which we have no way to show. It is that which is missing
Apr 04, 2010 Kyle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
All the Pretty Horses and Cities of the Plain are far and away the most lucid, and therefore tolerable novels of the trilogy. The Crossing, however, is almost insurmountably tedious. It contains, in spades, what is worst about all three novels, and in my opinion, Cormac McCarthy's style in general -- namely, the laughably pretentious, brooding, self-serious prose; the noxiously ponderous cast of needless characters who pontificate over pages and pages on the souls of men, wolves, and horses; and ...more
M. Ritchey
Dec 14, 2009 M. Ritchey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
totally killer. McCarthy delves into a totally sad time period. You're still riding a horse, but everyone else is driving cars. You become an old man, a migrant worker your whole life, with a dwindling skill-set of dwindling importance in a world being modernized. In your youth you dragged a pregnant wolf all the way to Mexico because you didn't want to kill her, only to have her taken from you and die in a dogfight. "The Crossing" is the saddest book I have ever read. Rape and murder and vengea ...more
Oct 04, 2010 Aric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When it comes to a series, this might be the best I've ever dealt with. I love how the first two books have nothing to do with each other, but the last slowly brings them together. When Billy Parham has his last chapter in the final book it brings me to tears how he is basically a washed up nobody who at the same time is a link to the past, how he loves his deceased siblings so much a half century after he saw them. I pity Cormac McCarthy. I see a fraction into his mind when he writes and see he ...more
Zita De bourbon-parme
The title could have been "Never go to Mexico".
Nothing new about the dangers of traveling and the usual corruption, bad chance, blood, evil man that kills young boys and co scenario's. I feel exactly the same emotions when I watch the news.
I could adapt to his different writing style but not to his passion for suffering and crualty and I had the feeling that when he got ennoyed with one of his characters he just found a thrilling way to get them out of his book.

For me it was like driving for
Jun 06, 2009 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am seriously never inviting this guy McCarthy over for a dinner party...whatever goodness and light his characters find at one point in the story eventually is engulfed by pain and darkness. But I am never ceased to be amazed at the high-wire act he pulls off with his words...I ought to be throwing the book across the room in disgust at the arch and over-developed prose, but instead, I get lost in it. One of the best prose stylists I've ever read.
Ernie Peter
Aug 10, 2015 Ernie Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big Cormac McCarthy fan, and this trilogy did not disappoint.

All The Pretty Horses was my favorite because I connected so much with John Grady Cole, and I enjoyed reconnecting with him in Cities of the Plain.

The Crossing was a good read, although I found it dragged a bit. Billy frustrated me throughout which probably had a lot to do with his age.

I loved Cities of the Plain, especially seeing the friendship between Billy and Grady. At times they had me in tears of laughter with their ban
Michael Battaglia
Cowboy quest stories leavened with a heaping slice of existential despair embodied by the seeping knowledge that the way of life as you know it is disintegrating as you live it? Sign me up for the drive!

I don't get the sense that McCarthy wanted to write a cowboy story (or stories) as much as write a long dissertation on why there's no way to write a cowboy story anymore. Or at least why he's not going to write one. A lot of the elements are present, men in hats, guns, the windswept scenery, ban
Derry Davis
Jul 09, 2011 Derry Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful stories about the American - Mexican frontier of the late 19 and early 20th century. Incredible depiction of the country and the souls who inhabited it. Be aware that Mr. McCarthy has a penchat of less than joyous endings.
che è bello, eh. bello e poetico e con un sacco di cavalli e di polvere e di sigarette e di sfiga e di pessimismo. scritto in texano che ti ci vogliono tipo 100 pagine per capire che of=have e che moren=more than.
poi tra le righe capisci che il tempo non esiste, che il luogo è talmente immenso da sembrare minuscolo, perché per quanto ti muova rimani sempre lì. che i pensieri e le intenzioni non contano niente, ci sono solo i fatti. fatti piccoli e scomposti in gesti, un pollice sulla tesa del ca
Jul 22, 2014 Even rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels a bit presumptuous to give three of the most well regarded books by one of the most celebrated modern writers a less than stellar review, but ultimately The Border Trilogy was a disappointment. McCarthy's idiosyncratic punctuation style comes across as an affectation in these novels, especially when combined with the Spanish dialogue. It seems like the intent is to create an intimidating illusion of profundity under the guise of inscrutability, and the philosophical tangents evoke more ...more
pierlapo  quimby
May 25, 2012 pierlapo quimby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofoni
La roba che scrive quest'uomo è letteratura da figli di puttana.
In senso buono, però.
Love love love. Cormac McCarthy's best, to my heart and mind.
Dec 21, 2015 Mon67 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Grady is my least favorite character of Cormac McCarthy. He's bi-dimensional and his choices are dictated mostly by his sudden love for a woman or by a delusional love situation.
That is why All the Pretty Horses deserves a three star review, instead The Crossing is an absolute masterpiece.
Cities of the Plain is a Shakespearian tragedy, and it's clear it's going to end a certain way from the beginning of the book. It tells the story of John Grady and Billy Parham (from The Crossing); that
Apr 23, 2016 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These three books are quite a good read. I liked the first book better than the second. The third was pretty decent as well. What makes these books great is the characters. Authentic and interesting people throughout the story. The stories are exceptionally detailed and very well set.

The books were excellent but there is a couple of things that made me have to power through certain parts. I took a lot longer to read these than most other books. There are several times in the books where there i
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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)
  • The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2)
  • Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3)

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“The boy who rode on slightly before him sat a horse not only as if he’d been born to it which he was but as if were he begot by malice or mischance into some queer land where horses never were he would have found them anyway.” 0 likes
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