I’m trying to work my way through certain authors, and Cormac McCarthy has definitely been on that list. After reading Blood Meridian this year, I decided to go with something a little less..visceral. Thankfully, All the Pretty Horses is a gorgeous, melancholy book that does not get gross.
John Grady Cole is sixteen years old, when the ranch he has lived on passes out of his inheritance upon his grandfather’s death. He and his best friend, Lacey Rawlins, determine to make their way south out of Texas into Mexico, so they can find some work. While on their way, they are followed by a young teenager who claims the name Jimmy Blevins and is riding a fine bay horse, much too fine for an adolescent runaway. This friendship with Blevins will come to haunt the young men, though they don’t realize it. When they become separated, John Grady and Rawlins travel further south, where they come to work for a ranch. Here, John Grady falls in love with his employer’s daughter, Alejandra, a romance that will set up the conflict of the novel.
I was surprised at the beauty and eloquence of the novel, something I had not come to associate with Cormac McCarthy’s style. Perhaps it was the fact that I’d started with some of the bleaker and more unforgiving novels (including No Country for Old Men, which is such a good novel, but oh, so scary). Or perhaps it was that the characters felt really well-rounded and complex. Either way, I’d have to say that this was definitely enjoyable to read, and I would continue the Border Trilogy (though I hear it gets intense again).