My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As I said in my review of Blood Meridian, I had been hoping to read some more of McCarthy's work and I'm glad I did. I didn't know what to expect with going into All the Pretty Horses and I was pleasantly surprised. The lush descriptions of the landscape and the overall poetic language were what drew me in. I think that both aspects complemented each other really well since they suited the almost childlike nature of the prose. I guess it just makes sense to me that sometimes it's proper for one to have that kind of, I guess, view of the west, particularly in the Texas and Mexico areas where John Grady Cole and Lacey Rawlins and others spent a majority of their time.
In regards to the dialogue, I found it to be full of meaning throughout the book and I think it is something that merits further study. To cite an example, I am reminded of the conversation between John Grady Cole and Alejandra:
What do you want me to do? he said.
I want you to be considerate of a young girl's reputation.
I never meant not to be.
She smiled. I believe you, she said. But you must understand. This is another country. Here a woman's reputation is all she has.
There is no forgiveness, you see.
There is no forgiveness. For women. A man may lose his honor and regain it again. But a woman cannot. She cannot.
I could've picked out other examples because there are other ones that did stand out to me, but I figured I'd go with something simple that can still have conclusions drawn from it. I enjoyed the dialogue between the male characters in the beginning of the book as well. Even though the book is probably McCarthy's lightest -- or least dark -- it still has moments of darkness and bleakness that provide an interesting change of pace, such as the following example:
He thought the world's heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world's pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.
That's rather dark but effective.
Overall I enjoyed the book and I feel that everything tied together quite well in the end. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it to everybody, but it since it's probably McCarthy's least disturbing book, it's a good place to start.
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