Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Border Trilogy

I fished the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy roughly a week and a half ago, and I've not been able to read anything since. The trilogy really knocked the wind out my reading sails, and I don't think I've ever had that happen to me before. Not even The Lord of The Rings trilogy was quite as much of a punch in the stomach as these books were, and that's really saying something. There was so much simple and profound truth in the Border Trilogy it was almost hard to take in, and the style made it a harder task than usual to read. They were something of a chore to get through at times, as three books of stream-of-consciousness writing can be a challenge to read one right after the other. But what I loved was that without writing a single emotion into his stories, McCarthy made them some of the most emotional stories I've ever read. There's a level of personal honestly and feeling that tells me these books had to be a reflection of the author.

This post isn't really much more than my rambling on about what I think about this trilogy, so I'm going to wrap it up now and just say that I highly recommend this trilogy. This is a moving, powerful and profound set of works that really show Cormac McCarthy's strength as a writer and prove why he is among the best living writers we have today.


  1. I'm going to have to check into this trilogy, Joshua. Sounds very interesting.

  2. While I do highly recommend it, be warned: it is NOT easy reading.

  3. I just looked them up. They definitely seem worthwhile. Thanks for directing me to this trilogy. I'll check it out.

  4. No problem, hope you enjoy it. Let me now what you think of them.

  5. "But what I loved was that without writing a emotion into his stories, McCarthy made them some of the most emotional stories I've ever read."

    I think this is a good characterization.

    One of my favorite smaller story-arcs in the Border Trilogy is the opening sequence with Billy's sojourn with the wolf in The Crossing. That chapter was chilling the way it built all the way up to Billy having to shoot the wolf in the middle of the fight-ring.

    I also thought the ending of The Crossing was excellent and haunting, with Billy sitting in the middle of the road, watching the A-Bomb explode in the middle of the night.

    What was your favorite volume?

  6. Hmm...tough call. the Crossing had some AMAZING dialogue, especially when Billy is talking to the old priest and there's that huge monologue. But I think Cities of the Plain was my favorite; the entire book is one giant buildup to a conclusion that honestly is one of the most perfect things McCarthy ever wrote: quiet, nondescript, and moving, but without a single bit of fluff to it.