Thursday, September 3, 2009

"The Crossing" by Cormac McCarthy

I am usually impressed, amazed and disturbed by Cormac McCarthy novels, and I have been working my way through his entire oeuvre, but The Crossing (1994), the second book in his border trilogy, was relatively disappointing and frustrating for me.

Sixteen-year-old Billy Parnel lives on a rented ranch in New Mexico with his parents and younger brother Boyd. Always fascinated with the wild, but quickly disappearing wolves, when Billy gets his hands on one, he sets out to Mexico to bring it home. When he finally makes it back home, his home is not what it was and Billy continues on a somewhat confused and lost journey back and forth across the Mexico border.

I had a hard time with this book. Wolves are my favorite animal and the first 130 pages, although pretty interesting, were hard for me to read. And after the wolf section of the story, I just lost interest. I didn't feel much if any connection to the characters and the constant, untranslated conversations in Spanish just made me feel lost. Of course, some of the descriptions and words were still amazing, but I felt that most of the themes had already been done in All the Pretty Horses and even Blood Meridian. On the whole, this was a slow read and I had to push myself through to get in the end. I kept getting distracted by other books I wanted to read more. I'm still going to finish the rest of McCarthy's books, but I'm hoping this is the worst of the bunch.

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