Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses; The Crossing; Cities of the Plain) was hailed as "an American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century" and "a miracle in prose, an American original." Now, for the first time since the 1998 completion of the trilogy, McCarthy returns to the scene of that triumph.
Such sinister high hokum might be ridiculous if McCarthy didn't keep it moving faster than the reader can pause to think about it. He's a whiz with the joystick, a master-level gamer who changes screens and situations every few pages. The choreographed conflicts, set on a stage as big as Texas but as spiritually claustrophobic as a back-room cockfight ring, resolve themselves with a mechanistic certitude that satisfies the brain's brute love of pattern and bypasses its lofty emotional centers. Like Bell, we can only sit back and watch the horror, not wishfully influence its outcome. The clock has been wound, the key's been thrown away, and the round will not end until the hands reach midnight. The book leaves the feeling that we don't have long to wait.
The New York Times
… this is an entertaining novel from one of our best writers. Often seen as a fabulist and an engineer of dark morality tales, McCarthy is first a storyteller.
The Washington Post
Seven years after Cities of the Plain brought his acclaimed Border Trilogy to a close, McCarthy returns with a mesmerizing modern-day western. In 1980 southwest Texas, Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, stumbles across several dead men, a bunch of heroin and $2.4 million in cash. The bulk of the novel is a gripping man-on-the-run sequence relayed in terse, masterful prose as Moss, who's taken the money, tries to evade Wells, an ex-Special Forces agent employed by a powerful cartel, and Chigurh, an icy psychopathic murderer armed with a cattle gun and a dangerous philosophy of justice. Also concerned about Moss's whereabouts is Sheriff Bell, an aging lawman struggling with his sense that there's a new breed of man (embodied in Chigurh) whose destructive power he simply cannot match. In a series of thoughtful first-person passages interspersed throughout, Sheriff Bell laments the changing world, wrestles with an uncomfortable memory from his service in WWII and-a soft ray of light in a book so steeped in bloodshed-rejoices in the great good fortune of his marriage. While the action of the novel thrills, it's the sensitivity and wisdom of Sheriff Bell that makes the book a profound meditation on the battle between good and evil and the roles choice and chance play in the shaping of a life. Agent, Amanda Urban. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
McCarthy has reached the pinnacle of literary success, with critical recognition, best-seller status, and cult-author cachet. It is a difficult position to maintain, and it doesn't help that his idiosyncratic prose style, which tries to wrest poetry from hardscrabble lives, has become increasingly mannered. In his latest novel, McCarthy stumbles headlong into self-parody. Llewelyn Moss is a humble welder who hunts not for sport but to put food on the table. Tracking a wounded antelope one morning, Moss finds an abandoned truck filled with bullet-ridden corpses, sealed packages of "Mexican brown," and $2 million in cash. He leaves the dope behind but takes the money, changing in that moment from hunter to prey. Moss is tailed by Anton Chigurh, an updated version of the satanic Judge Holden from Blood Meridian (1985). Straight-arrow Sheriff Bell, the old man of the title, tries his best to save young Moss, but Chigurh is unstoppable. McCarthy lays out his rancorous worldview with all the nuance and subtlety of conservative talk radio. It is hard to believe that this is the same person who wrote Suttree (1979). A made-for-television melodrama filled with guns and muscle cars, this will nonetheless be in demand; for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/05.]-Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
“Profoundly disturbing and gorgeously renderedÉ. The most accessible of all his works.” –Washington Post
“A narrative that rips along like hell on wheels [in a] race with the devil [on] a stage as big as Texas.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Expertly staged and pitilessly lightedÉ. It feels like a genuine diagnosis of the postmillennial malady, a scary illumination of the oncoming darkness.” –Time
“A cause for celebrationÉ. He is nothing less than our greatest living writer, and this is a novel that must be read and remembered.” –Houston Chronicle