Friday, April 21, 2006

Number 30

This is one of Those Books by which I can chart my Borders career--bestsellers atop the NYT list for ages--and it's the first of Those Books I've read (it's not likely I'll pick up The Bridges of Madison County, Tuesdays With Morrie, The Notebook, etc any time soon). I've read other earlier Cormac McCarthy and enjoyed them a great deal, but avoided All the Pretty Horses out of a misguided literary pretense; if the herd were buying it in droves it couldn't possibly be good.

It's true that I'd recommend the earlier novels ahead of this one, but McCarthy manages here to re-cast his luminous dark vision into a more conventional Western narrative without diminishing its scope or intensity a bit. Two teenaged ranch hands in the 30s head south from Texas to Mexico to test themselves in a chaotic and barely comprehensible landscape. As with all McCarthy, the result is gorgeous violence and subsequent renewal.

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