BOTWW: All The Pretty Horses

Anton Chigurh would probably not be a fan of Dylan’s first BOTWW of 2021.

January 6th, 2021: All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, Vintage

In literary circles, there seems to be a certain prejudice against this book when compared to McCarthy’s darker, grittier books like Blood Meridian, The Road or No Country For Old Men. The lighter nature of the story itself is often thought of as his bubble-gum story, or “McCarthy Lite,” but I want to say that it’s still McCarthy. And in light of the year we’ve lived through, I’ve found that while I can’t currently stomach that darkness, I still need me some McCarthy. This book, in a recent rereading, delivers everything you want—the luminous, spare prose, the terse dialog, the shimmering descriptions of the natural world—and then some. And let’s not forget, All The Pretty Horses did win the National Book Award. As a writer, I am constantly amazed at the sheer beauty of McCarthy’s sentences and how he achieves so much with so little. I am left to wonder how it is that McCarthy uses the same 26-letter toolbox as me, yet achieves something I can’t even begin to imagine. This is a truly gorgeous book.

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2 thoughts on “BOTWW: All The Pretty Horses

  1. Part of “The Border Trilogy”, I think it is called. I read the three (plus the cataclysmic, Peckinpah had nothing on this, permanently with me, Blood Meridien) in the 1990s during the several seasons that I spent in Patagonia and on TDF. Writer’s writer, McCarthy, few can get anywhere near him, seem wordy, little, too many urban concerns children in comparison, end of. Time to get those old, pack- and tackle duffel-battered paperbacks out.

  2. Great book, great author. Agree with Paul’s comment above regarding Blood Meridian, must read but man, it isn’t an easy one. Judge Holden (easily) replaced Kathy (East of Eden) as the most terrifying character in literature for me.

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