The Crossing

The Crossing

Book - 1994
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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 and the dream of wolves running wild amongst the cattle lately brought onto the plain by settlers -- this when all the wisdom of trappers has disappeared along with the trappers themselves. And so Billy sets forth at the age of sixteen on an unwitting journey into the souls of boys and animals and men. Having trapped a she-wolf he would restore to the mountains of Mexico, he is long gone and returns to find everything he left behind transformed utterly in his absence. Except his kid brother, Boyd, with whom he strikes out yet again to reclaim what is theirs thus crossing into "that antique gaze from whence there could be no way back forever."

An essential novel by any measure, The Crossing is luminous and appalling, a book that touches, stops, and starts the heart and mind at once.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1994.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780394574752
Branch Call Number: MCCARTHY
Characteristics: 425 pages ; 22 cm.


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RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

The Crossing is the second novel in McCarthy’s The Border Trilogy . It charts the life-altering experiences of two brothers, Billy and Boyd Parham. After the older brother Billy traps a marauding she-wolf, instead of killing the animal, he seeks to restore it to its home in the remote Mexican mountains. Upon his return to his family’s ranch, Billy discovers an unspeakable tragedy has occurred. He reunites with Boyd, and the brothers head back across the border in search of answers to what happened. Their journey puts them in the path of wanderers, philosophers, bandits, and entertainers. Against the backdrop of America’s entrance into the Second World War, the story both drains and fills the heart. McCarthy’s remarkable language skills and his incredible narrative abilities explore the profoundest questions of human existence and the keenest of lessons regarding the human condition. In chronicling the plight of his young heroes, he brings great compassion and understanding to the notions of loss and redemption. The Crossing is a major achievement and one of McCarthy’s most impressive books. It can be read separately from All the Pretty Horses, which serves as volume one of the trilogy.

Jan 08, 2018

After reading my third McCarthy novel in one year, I have no problem with connecting multiple lines with the word "and." When I read his novels, I feel a special privilege for living in New Mexico and being able to imagine the landscape through personal experiences, unlike many others who rely on movies to fuel their imagination of the Southwest. Having a knowledge of Spanish will also help the reader, I was able to ask my parents if there was a word I didn't know (or paragraph). Reading his novels gives me a sense of acknowledgement and appreciation to my culture and background, especially considering how many white people forget the original cowboys were the vaqueros.
I think this is my least favorite novel of his yet, but mostly because it is a rather long read when you consider his writing style. However the length is needed as the main character will make numerous crossings through the border. The last 40 pages will connect the entire novel and the ending may leave you heartbroken. It's a beautiful story worth the read.

Sep 13, 2016

A commentary on the mythology of the West including the relationship of good and evil. Slowed down by the considerable amount of Spanish in the dialogue that I needed to translate. Otherwise the novel is evocative with good pacing and interesting characterizations. Part two of the author's "Border Trilogy" but it is not a sequel and does not reading in order. Worth reading if you are interested.

Sep 28, 2015

Really liked All the Pretty Horses. The Crossing kept my interested until the Wolf died and then I thought it went a little stale. But that scene during the Dog Fights will stick in my mind forever. To be a boy/young man and make a choice like that shocked me.

Jul 23, 2015

The reading was slowed by having to consult a Castillian - English dictionary often on account of the amount of Castillian in it. Relatively little goes on, and the style makes it a bit trying at times. The lengthy monologue about a third of the way through is the highlight of the book.

May 19, 2015

Didn't finish. Good writing, but historical western didn't interest me.

Mar 15, 2012

This novel makes me glad that I can read. So beautifully written: A perfect offering of fiction.

Oct 13, 2010

Part Two of he Border Trilogy.


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