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The Crossing

(The Border Trilogy #2)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  27,187 ratings  ·  1,750 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 an ...more
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published June 7th 1994 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published June 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)
Ryan Moroney The point, unfortunately, is that every gesture can be rendered meaningless by the brutal forces of nature, and inevitability.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Best Westerns
965 books — 1,162 voters
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittTrue Grit by Charles PortisAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Literary Westerns
174 books — 276 voters

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4.12  · 
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 ·  27,187 ratings  ·  1,750 reviews

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Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, beautiful book. I am such a fan of Cormac McCarthy. Poetic realism, I would describe his style.
Michael Finocchiaro
Far more melancholy than its predecessor All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing is a beautiful if bleak western full of poetry and philosophical musings. The Billy character is wonderfully drawn amd in particular the first part of the book with the wolf was outstanding. McCarthy's sparse Hemmingway-esque style lends an austere and yet often humorous tone to the dialogs - particularly those both spoken and unspoken between Billy and Boyd. I appreciate the author's reluctance to dummy down the story ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2018-completed
The Border Trilogy – Part 2 of 3

It is in the early 1940’s when Billy Pelham sets out on his first of three trips from his home to Mexico. He is sixteen and his first trip is to reunite a female wolf about to pup with others of her kind in the mountains where she came from.

When he returns home to New Mexico from his journey, his life as he knew it has changed. The family’s horses have been stolen and he and his 14 year old brother Boyd set out to retrieve them. During this longer journey, Billy t
Jason Koivu
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Yesterday morning Billy Parham and I were hunting a she-wolf. Billy was following her tracks in the snow across the pages of the book. I was following with my eyes and my mind. Oh, that wolf, that smart she-wolf nearly broke my heart.

There is so much more to this novel than meets the eye. I shall be thinking about it for a while yet.

McCarthy renders even the ordinary extraordinary. One moment please while I remove my heart from my mouth...
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did love this but found it slightly less successful than the first book in this trilogy. For one thing it follows an almost identical formula - innocence going out into the big bad world. The opening when a young boy watches wolves at play in the snow at night is magical. It continues in this gripping fashion when the boy takes pity on the wolf he and his father have caught in a trap and decides to take the injured animal back to the mountains of Mexico. The relationship he creates between the ...more
Joe Briggs
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, 2018
This was very depressing, and that's just how life goes which is the point I think McCarthy was trying to make.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-eua, 5e
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
Sharon Huether
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Billy Parham, hunted a wolf that was being a nuisance on his family's ranch. After he catches the wolf in a trap he takes it into the mountains of Mexico. It was not a happy ending for the wolf.

When he traveled home to New Mexico there was more heart aches and disappointments.
Indians had stolen horses from the ranch.
He and his brother Boyd,travel back to Mexico to find the horses and the Indians. Nothing goes right.

Billy and Boyd go their separate ways. Boyd was hunted and killed.
Billy got away
Wayne Barrett
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it

Part II of The Border Trilogy. This wasn't nearly as good as 'All The Pretty Horses', but it was still a powerful novel... then again, why wouldn't it be? It's Cormack!
From his home in New Mexico, young Billy Parham decides to take a wild wolf that has been trapped and set it free in its faraway home in Mexico. Billy succeeds in setting the lobo free, but not like he intended. Because at that juncture there was an unseen obstacle in his path... there was 'A Crossing'.
I think the title is fittin
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Chupacabras, Duendes y Putas, Oh Mi
Bajada a los Infiernos al Sur de la Frontera
{revised 9/16/16, in honor of Mexican Independence Day}

"Life is a memory, and then it is nothing." The Crossing, C. McCarthy

This novel starts out well enough. The action gets started with teenage brothers setting out into the mountains of Mexico to retrieve the horses stolen from their small family ranch when their parents were murdered, while the brothers were away. Pretty much everything thereafter I detested almost
Oct 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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'.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america, romanzi
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
May 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
Apr 03, 2010 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
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third consecutive Cormac McCarthy novel I've read, and I'm about to start a fourth. So at this point I'm convinced that he is an outstanding writer - the only point I'm undecided on is whether The Crossing gets 4 stars or 5 stars.

I did feel that the storyline was a little loose when compared to All The Pretty Horses. A few times the story felt like it completey wrapped up, but then it kind of kept going, awkwardly finding a new direction. The book really reads like three separate st
May 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Crossing’ (1994) – is the second part in Cormac McCarthy’s monumental, much revered and critically acclaimed border trilogy (preceded by ‘All The Pretty Horses’ and followed by ‘Cities of The Plain’).

‘The Crossing’ tells the story of one Billy Parham and opens with Billy’s attempted quest to return a trapped and injured wolf to Mexico from whence it came. This is a dark, powerful and poetic book and it is hard to capture or encapsulate the essence of ‘The Crossing’ any better than the quote
Jan 10, 2011 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
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cormac McCarthy novels are proof that words are just as powerful, or arguably more so, than images. Reading The Crossing, I lost a little piece of my sanity as I traversed Mexican plains with Billy, the ubiquitous dust drying my mouth. I gazed into the eyes of a starving, pregnant wolf. I caressed tired horses and drank the mescal.

The storytellers who captivated Billy enthralled me. I saw the flickers in their eyes and the slight motions of their hands as they created a world in my mind. As my O
Evan Leach
Like McCarthy’s other work, this second entry in the Border Trilogy (a series of novels set around the border of the U.S. and Mexico near the middle of the 20th century) features lyrical prose, vivid descriptions of landscapes and nature, memorable dialogue and scenes that are hard to forget. This book has even more of a philosophical bent than some of McCarthy’s other novels, as many of the people the protagonist meets on his travels (priests, ex-soldiers, gypsies, etc.) engage him in deep meta ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
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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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

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)
“Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from.” 216 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.” 76 likes
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