Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book Review - The Crossing

The Crossing is the second book in Cormac McCarthy's border trilogy, and so far it's the one I like best. While All the Pretty Horses was a fantastic book in ever way, it seemed a little too sparse and almost a little detached, and I wasn't as drawn to the characters as I was here. All the Pretty Horses reminded me of Black Beauty in a way, with it's intimate and detailed looks into the relationships of men to horses as well as men to men. The Crossing reminds me much more of White Fang, mostly because the story revolves around (for the most part) a boy and a wolf.

If you've read any of my reviews of McCarthy's works you'll have a good idea what to expect here: minimal prose and plain dialogue. There's a lot of dialogue here though, moreso than in some of his other books I'd say. The landscape plays a big role here, almost to the point of becoming a character unto itself; the descriptions of the Mexico/Texas border area are absolutely beautiful. I'd be willing to bet McCarthy has spent a good deal of time alone in this kind of wilderness to write such vivid descriptions.

The dialogue here is as strong as ever; I'd actually say it's some of the best I've yet read from McCarthy. The more philosophical side of his writing is really spotlighted here, and in my opinion is the highlight of the book. There's one particular monologue towards the middle of the book that was absolutely brilliant and one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read. I've read and re-read this particular monologue probably 5 or 6 times, and every time it leaves me awestruck with how simple but powerful it was. It's this little (actually not so little, the monologue is close to 10 pages long) section that really made me favor The Crossing over All the Pretty Horses, and I'd argue that it's one of the single best individual things McCarthy has written.

So far, the Border Trilogy has been absolutely outstanding, and as I said before The Crossing is my current favorite. Full of dialogue and deep philosophical meanderings and beautiful descriptions of the American Southwest, The Crossing is a brilliant book that I highly recommend.

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