Jamie Sigal's Reviews > The Crossing

The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

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As a reader I love spending time inside Cormac McCarthy's head, but as a human being I tend to find the experiences I've had with his novels both shocking and disturbing, and The Crossing was no different. I mean that in the most wonderful way. The Crossing begins the story of Billy and Boyd Parham who set out to capture a she-wolf that has been slaughtering cattle in the New Mexico ranchlands wherein they reside, but it quickly turns into a tale of heartache and loss - loss of innocence, loss of family, loss of self. At first I took 'the crossing' to mean the border into Mexico, where Billy wants to take the wolf and set her free, but upon reading the novel I realize that the crossing is a much deeper metaphor for those borders we cross in our minds and souls when we make those big decisions that have lasting consequences on our lives. My usual words for McCarthy novels stand true for this one, too - stark and beautiful - and this book stands as one of his best. Once again, however, McCarthy got a little too Spanish-heavy in his prose through a lot of the novel and, to a reader like myself who speaks no Spanish, the book suffers for it. Though I was able to figure a lot of it out for myself, it still stopped the rhythm of the read, and as a reader I can't abide that. Maybe it's just me, but I like to be swept away on a journey when I read, and it's hard to make headway if you keep running into rocks.
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Kevin Jamie. I am having the same difficulties with the authors insistence on slipping into whole sentences of Spanish. Like you I can get the gist of what's being said, but it turns it from an enjoyable read into a school translation exercise I can't really be bothered with, and spoils the flow. Really starting to struggle with the philosophical meanderings too.
I gave ATPH a four star rating, but I think I'm struggling too much with this at present to justify more than two. Maybe it could reach a three by the time I get to the end.

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