Danny Hogan's Reviews > Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy
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's review
Dec 04, 11

McCarthy finishes off the Border Trilogy with this absolute game killer of a book. This final part of the trilogy set in the early fifties in a rapidly changing America. John Grady (protagonist from the first book; All the Pretty Horses) and Billy Parham (protagonist from the second book; The Crossing, are friends working on a ranch just outside of Alamogordo New Mexico. The military is about to buy the land in which the small downtrodden ranch is located and is a signal that the old western ways are fast dying out. From the get go we know that this book is going to be a little different. It opens with us finding John and Billy in a brothel. The comedic interaction between the two facilitated by stunning dialogue had me laughing out loud. Although the rest of the book features the Cormac standard descriptions of tough life in the borderlands, the author lays on story of John finding love in a young, troubled Mexican prostitute who suffers from an unspecified malady. With increasing desperation John tries to come up with a scheme to rescue his love from the high end Mexican brothel she works in in Juarez and bring her back over the border to come and live with him in a small adobe shack he has renovated for them both. His friend Billy, tries to reason with him - citing that the villains that run the brothel as one of many problems John's plan faces - again via some brilliant and funny dialogue but begrudgingly lends a hand. It would impossible to go into more without giving too much away, but just when you think this is going to be the same old same old. McCarthy hits us with a conclusion and epilogue that is quite out of character for his usual. And by god it was juts the thing. An absolute classic story. do read All The Pretty Horses and The Crossing before this'un. But this book is way out there in terms of storytelling. As an author myself I could only look on in awe at the masterstrokes of who I consider to be the greatest living writer.

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