*****The Crossing

Cormac McCarthy – Part II of McCarthy’s The Border Trilogy. This book is a force of nature, describing three lengthy horseback journeys from New Mexico to bleak and impoverished Old Mexico before and during World War II. The prose mostly moves forward at the pace and with the deliberation of a man on a horse, with occasional galloping, heart-stopping passages. The poor people 16-year-old Billy Parham encounters seem mostly willing to share what they have with him, including their stories and their hard-won philosophy, while the well-off, few in number though they be, seem intent on stealing or denying him what little he has. McCarthy never tells us how Billy feels about any of this, only shows us what he does about it, as he struggles to maturity and to maintain his integrity. The detailed sense of place makes the reader feel he has been on these melancholy and bitter treks, too. A thrilling read for the purity of the vision and the power of the words. Some favorite metaphors: “As if the darkness had a soul itself that was the sun’s assassin hurrying to the west as once men did believe, as they may believe again.” ” . . .the fence running out into the darkness under the mountains and the shadow of the fence crossing the land in the moonlight like a suture.”  And his matchless dialog, half of which is in Spanish but easy to follow.


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