All the Pretty Horses is essentially a coming of age story. After his mother sells the Texan ranch he has grown up on, sixteen year old John Grady Cole loses everything and sets out for Mexico with his friend Lacey Rawlins. They are both searching for work as a ranch hand and abit of adventure. On the Mexican border they both meet Jimmy Blevins a young boy whose hot-headedness leads them into big trouble.
Much of the story is set on the Mexican boarder where the landscapes are vividly described. Readers of McCarthy will know already how well landscapes and the country are so well drawn that you cannot think of the characters without also thinking of the landscapes they inhabit.
The novel is set in 1949 but you wouldn’t know it as it has the feel of a western, so much so that I was surprised when planes and other more modern mod-cons were mentioned. Most of the travel is done in rugged landscapes on horseback and the place and characters in All the Pretty Horses seem cut off from the rest of the world. The plot does kind of plod along which I think is deliberate and while I appreciated this style in context with the novel this style certainly didn’t make it a page turner. However I did keep reading because of the descriptions, the dialogue, the plot and of course the writing.
Like The Road and Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses will be a book that stays with me although out of those three I would recommend The Road and Blood Meridian more as it took me a little longer (around 30 pages) to get into this one compared with the other McCormacs I have read.
Posted by Jess