Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I couldn't believe it when I started this book. It's another stark, bleak, dark novel with a choppy narrative. Is this the writing of the future? The first two pages contain these gargantuan sentences that fill an entire long paragraph. I couldn't make heads or tails of what was being said. And most of the book is dialogue. Jeez. You would think I really hated this book, wouldn't you? Nada! John Grady Cole is such an interesting and intense character. At the age of sixteen, he and his friend, Rawlins, ride their horses down to Mexico to make a living. Just before crossing the border, they run into Blevins, a thirteen-year-old boy riding a gorgeous bay. Letting Blevins tag along is the worst mistake of many they make while in Mexico. And John Grady is such a capable old soul that I keep forgetting he is only sixteen. In fact, you have to suspend belief a little to think a boy his age would survive all his experiences. Even though this is not my favorite style of writing, McCarthy pulls you into the story. I felt the grit in my teeth as the three boys ride across the Mexican desert. My muscles ached after John and Rawlins spend three days breaking sixteen horses. The despair was real when John is pulled away from his love, Alejandra, and sent to a Mexican prison. And I felt the romance of horses that I knew when I was ten. "The old man shaped his mouth how to answer. Finally he said that among men there no such communion as among horses and the notion that men can be understood at all was probably an illusion. Rawlins asked him in his bad spanish if there was a heaven for horses but he shook his head and said that a horse had no need of heaven. Finally John Grady asked him if it were not true that should all horses vanish from the face of the earth the soul of the horse would not also perish for there would be nothing to replenish it but the old man only said that it was pointless to speak of there being no horses in the world for God would not permit such a thing." I can understand why "All the Pretty Horses" was a National Book Award winner. I have another book by McCarthy that, at one point, I wasn't sure I would read, but now I'm sure I will. The book has also been made into a movie with Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz which I think I will try to see. Is it any good? A few complaints: There were too many dialogues in Spanish that I didn't understand and the punctuation or lack of it made me a little crazy. It's don't not dont. And the too-long sentences.
Rating: 4
Posted by Framed at 6:51 PM

Literary Feline said...
I haven't yet read a book by this author, but I do have a couple of his books in my TBR collection. I've heard such great things about him recently. Maybe if I like the two books of his I have, I'll try this one. Your comment about feeling the grit between your teeth, is very promising, even with the flaws. Thanks for the review!
10/23/2007 11:11 PM
Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...
I think this is the style of his writing - The Road is the same but does have good punctuation. :)
10/24/2007 7:29 AM
Cassie said...
i saw the movie a while ago so I don't really remember it but Matt Damon was good in it and I think it was sad.
10/24/2007 8:21 AM
Jeane said...
I actually have seen this book on shelves many times and always passed it up. You've made it sound so interesting I'm putting it on my TBR.
10/24/2007 2:35 PM
Les said...
I loved this book when I read it a few years ago. I thought it was beautiful/lyrical and was pleasantly surprised, as I wasn't expecting to like it so well. I remember that the untranslated Spanish was a bit bothersome, although I was able to figure some of it out by the context. Funny, I don't remember the punctuation (or lack thereof) problem. Maybe I was used to it having recently read Plainsong (Kent Haruf).
10/24/2007 3:25 PM
Booklogged said...
I've never been tempted to read McCarthy even with his awards. I may have to reconsider after that great review. Or maybe not, because I have so many books already sitting around wanting to be read. Sigh...
10/24/2007 7:00 PM
Joy said...
I'm interested in reading another McCarthy, but it's not this one. (Can't remember the title right now.) Although, I'm glad to know that this one is good, too.
10/25/2007 6:16 AM
Framed said...
Maybe I exaggerated the punctuation. I do know that the word don't was never printed with an apostrophe. Funny how such a little thing can bug you. I discovered I have two other McCarthy books on my TBR list.
10/25/2007 7:43 PM
hellomelissa said...
i actually liked the film more than the book. that's rare!
10/27/2007 3:04 PM
Carrie K said...
I saw and liked the movie despite Penelope Cruz (I hate her quite unreasonably) but picked up the book hoping it would explain the movie. It didn't, but they did lift huge passages verbatim from the book, which I found oddly heartening.
10/30/2007 6:27 PM
Lotus Reads said...
Hi, Framed!What Melissa said. I, too, preferred the movie over the book. The soundtrack is absolutely wonderful too!

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