“All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy

I went old school.

Actually, I was steered old school based on a recommendation from my cousin and fellow reader Zach. For him, I went old school AND out of genre.

But once again, this push away from my typical historical fiction, and modern day American fiction was a great move.

“All the Pretty Horses” is Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Cormac McCarthy’s 1992 novel.  It is one of his 10 books, his most famous being “The Road” which won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize.

This is the story of 16 year old John Grady Cole who decides to leave his homestate of Texas with his best friend Rawlins after he finds out his family ranch is being sold.  It was also a 2000 film which starred Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz.

It’s a well written coming of age story that has a Romeo/Juliet type of love story in the middle.

McCarthy has an unconventional writing format in which like Hemingway he uses no traditional punctuation or “messy” quotation marks.  While quirky and cool, it makes reading this book a bit of a challenge.

I will leave you with this paragraph as an example of his non-traditional work and as a sample of the type of reading you will find in this book.

In this scene, Cole is talking with his friend Rawlins about horses and women:

“Rawlins put his knife in his pocket and sat inspecting his hat for nopal stickers.  A goodlookin horse is like a goodlookin woman, he said.  They’re always more trouble than what they’re worth.  What a man needs is just one that will get the job done.

Where’d you hear that at?

I dont know.”

Now I will totally surprise my husband when I ask him to rent this movie.  Thanks for the recommendation, cousin Zach.


About Anne Loughrey

I am an avid member of several book clubs and a prolific keeper of my books. I love to discuss books and hear what others think of books I have read.
This entry was posted in All the Pretty Horses, book clubs, books, Cormac McCarthy. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy

  1. Zachary Pepe says:

    The movie was torn apart by the critics, and I watched 20 minutes of it the other day and I could see why. Actually, I saw why in the opening credits when it said it was directed by Billy Bob Thornton. But Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz are both 30 or almost and trying to play 15 year olds. It just didn’t work. The best part of the story revolved around the fact that these were just kids, growing up throughout the novel, and instead you get Good Will Hunting trying on a southern accent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Finally…a Frank McCarthy novel Anne!! All the Pretty Horses, while a great book is not nearly his best. Try “The Crossing” or better yet, his best book and a novel considered one of the hundred greatest books ever written by Modern Library, Time Life, etc. is “Suttree”. Considered by many in the literary community on Par with William Faulkner and Melville. I understand the need to relax and read a book for the “get-away” …something light and fluffy. Books should not be work..but, McCarthy is to be read for the sheer power of his prose, sense of setting and time line,etc. In fact, the prologue in Suttree (3 pages) is quite simply so good it is hard to believe. I challenge you and your literary pals to get Suttree, read it and discuss the power of the written word by a master, one of the greatest American southern authors of all time. Bring a dictionary.. The Road is not his best work, but again..there is no author alive and writing with the power of FM. He lives in Santa Fe and disdains interviews. Oprah interviewed him last year..he was reluctant and she was adamant..he did the interview and it was good stuff. He is a brilliant man. A recluse. Another book of his, not for the faint of heart and again another of the hundred greatest books ever written is, “Blood Meridian” Love Bob

    • Bob, I love it when you comment. I heard about the Oprah interview and his reclusive tendencies and I was seriously intruiged by him. I read he is the most underrated author alive today. I will give Suttree a try and perhaps even another…say Blood Meridan? Sorry if I have been too fluffy lately. Cousin Zach also has me trying Russell Banks…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Blood Meridian is a fictional tale actually based on true events along the Tex-Mex border in 1859 when the US government secretly put a bounty on Apache Indians. Except for Suttree, the prose in Blood Meridian is unmatched and strangely powerful. In an opening prologue, written by one of the members of the Modern Library, he simply states, “As a professor of literature I teach fiction and I had to put Blood Meridian down four or five times before I was able to finish. Now, I use Blood Meridian as my core piece of American Literature” Written in 1985, it is contemporary and timeless. So Anne, venture off into a Cormac McCarthy week. Be warned!!!! You’ll get a lot of response..No fluff and romance here. .

    Suttree, on the other hand is about a man, Cornelius Suttree, son of a well-to-do-family in 1950’s Knoxville, TN who disdains his families wealth and opts to live on a river boat on the Tennessee river just below town and his ironic circle of friends, misfits, drunks, whores and miscreants, etc.

    As far as “All The Pretty Horses”, “The Road” and “No Country For Old Men” which were Cormac McCarthy novels turned movies. No Country For Old Men was by far the best Movie. Javier Bardem won the oscar for his performance in that movie. The book is still better. Love Bob

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