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am 1. Juni 2000
I've been readin' books since I could read and I read a lot of books that've made me doubt my faith in humanity, but this ain't one of 'em.
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am 2. März 2000
I understand why everyone likes this book, but all the hyperbole seems to be feeding off itself. I don't see anything about "All the Pretty Horses" that will have people still talking about it a generation from now. It is not a classic, but I thought it might be one all through the first half of the book. The language is so evocative and poetic as it describes the South-Eastern scenery and establishes the characters. Very spare and beautiful and pure. Then, when the story's complications set in down in Mexico, the book degrades quickly to a run-of-the-mill adventure tale. All the subtlety and poetry in the book vanishes as McCarthy does nothing more than relate a series of increasingly violent actions. Whereas the first half of the book is introspective, the second half is extroverted in the extreme. Perhaps another writer could have pulled this off, but McCarthy, ironically because he writes so beautifully, does not. The problem is that the pristine poetry of the first half promises a revelation of truth in the second half - a promise that is not kept. Instead of any kind of rare, penetrating insight, the reader is served up an action movie. The story devolves from fine literature to genre fiction with alarming abruptness. In this way, the novel reminds me of the countless Hollywood movies that start out so promising with clever, engaging scripts, then lose their nerve and segue into the typical car chases, explosions and gun play. Very entertaining, perhaps, but common. Even the romance is generic. McCarthy either had nothing to say in this book or lacked the conviction to say it. Who knows what he really wanted to accomplish. In the end, "All the Pretty Horses" is still a great read, it's just not great literature.
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am 26. April 2000
The themes are important and well played out: religion, free will v. predestination, love, patriarchy, initiation, violence, Latin American history, language, and culture, sex, bravery. I am not annoyed with the Spanish. I am not annoyed by the vacillation between terse dialogue and lengthy prose. I am not annoyed by the excessive use of conjunctions, the lack of punctuation, or the tediousness of working through the syntax and recongnizing the underlying messages. I have been studying literature long enough to have learned patience and appreciation, even if I don't particularly enjoy a novel.
But what I can't stand is when a novelist is a blatant thief. McCarthy shamelessly and directly plagiarizes phrases from Faulkner, the untouchable Southern writer-- not just in style, as some have recognized, but in actual phrases, especially from "The Sound and the Fury." Further, he is "influenced" a bit too much by Hemingway's read-between-the-lines dialogue for me.
I give McCarthy kudos for reviving a much satirized genre of the mythic American cowboy, and for addressing important issues such as the aforementioned. But when he steals from established and revered authors such as Hemingway and Faulkner, I can't give him more than a tepid pat on the back.
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am 5. November 1998
Before I start I want to say I loved this book. It was enjoyable and profound and I will recommend it to nearly everyone. However some of the sentences were too long, I think someone counted 40+ ANDS in one sentence? and it was difficult to read at times. This was not necessary in my opinion. I am a fast reader and I sometimes overlooked the meaning of whole paragraphs because of this problem. It meant that a lot of backtracking was necessary. Hemingway used long sentences as well, leading one reviewer to call it deceptively simple writing. I would call it unnecessarily complicated. The best books should be a pleasure to read. I would say easy to read, but then I would need to define 'easy'. No, writers write for people to READ, and they read not because they have to , but because they want to, where it is an enjoyable pursuit. I did enjoy this book. McCarthy is very good at his craft. But I cannot resolve this issue of over long sentences. Can someone explain why they NEED to be this long???? Another thing. . On the front of my version was a review by the Guardian (quality newspaper in UK) declaring this book to be one of the greatest works of american literature ever or something. And then looking at the reviews within this site, I cannot help my distasteful feeling at the pomposity with which some people approach commentary. YES, YES, YES, YES this is a good book, but so is Catch 22, and Catcher In The Rye etc etc Hearing what people have to say about Cormac McCarthy's writing is like listening to sycophantic supporters at a radical politics rally. Its not the only book in the world you know. .
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am 9. Juli 1999
I took the time to read many of the reviews that were posted on this page before I decided to add my own. What shocks me most about it, is how many described the plot being boring or whimsical. I was apalled, nauseated, sickened,by this book. Yet the whole time I was captivated. I think it was a great story, and McCarthy's elements of intense description, which may have turned off some, only helped plunge me deeper into the surroundings of the time and place of this novel. The characters were very strong and I agonized through this novel,empathizing with their dashed hopes and dreams, their successes and failures. When Blevins met his face, I put the book away and declared that I had read enough,it was just too morbid for me. A couple hours later I picked up the book and finished it off. I admit I am a bit of an emotional reader, but I have never encountered a book with this force. I do plan to read the other 2 novels in the border trilogy with a better understanding of what to expect. I also will eagerly await the motion picture expected for Spring 2000, directed by Billy Bob Thornton, and starring Matt Damon (John Grady Cole)(would prefer a younger actor, like within 10 years of 16), with Henry Thomas as Rawlins (E.T. kid) and Lucas Black as the wild Blevins (Slingblade)
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am 26. Mai 1999
All the Pretty Horses grabbed me from the outset by its alternately terse and unusually descriptive prose. The hero, John Grady Cole, appeared to me as the apotheosis of young manhood--valiant, honest, and smart--and seemed at times to have been blessed with the noble soul of a fabled knight. That McCarthy highlighted Cole's fallible traits--such as naivete and (occasional) recklessness--eased my own ability to find strains of myself in Cole as I reflected on my own view of the world as a young man. His equine and topographical descriptions can be a bit much at times, but I often found myself rereading passages in astonished admiration. His disregard for grammatical convention is more than compensated for by his poetic passages. The to-the-point dialogue between Cole and Rawlins , Cole and his father, and Cole and everybody else, come to think of it, underscores Cole's strength, and yields a great impact whenever he speaks. The violent scenes are well-written and highlight the idea that life--particularly life in the Southwest for the last cowboys--is a battle. Women may not like this book, for it is largely about the pain and rewards of becoming and being a man. I urge anyone who picks it up to stick with it and not to fight McCarthy's tide. In sum, I was extremely moved by All the Pretty Horses.
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McCarthy redefines the Homeric hero in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, a novel which places him in the company of Melville, Faulkner, Twain, Morrison and Hemingway. McCarthy's protagonist, John Grady Cole, understands completely the lesson of Santiago in Hemingway's greatest work, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA: to transcend time and experience, you have to journey beyond your deepest fears, embrace your destiny, and carry your dream. Even when the journey places you in imminent danger of losing your life, it is the truth of the journey which teaches lessons that are profound and life-transforming, lessons which can only be learned once we, like Odysseus, make the journey. To see beyond you have to go beyond, and once you go beyond, the vision before you will change your life completely. The ancient Greeks believed that a Homeric hero must have "arete," meaning excellence in all things--see ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE for Pirsig's brilliant interpretation of arete in the modern era. And in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, McCarthy does many things masterfully, but, quite possibly, none so masterfully as his portrayal of John Grady Cole, who is convincing, selfless, and truly in the Homeric tradition. Of course, many a literature professor will say there is no such thing as a Homeric hero in modern literature. And that's why they are paid to teach novels, not write them. Five stars is not enough. Cole's journey is no accident, and neither is McCarthy's command of the American language in this novel. Nowhere in contemporary American fiction is there a voice as compelling and lyrical as McCarthy's. Viva McCarthy!!!
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am 16. Juni 1999
All the Pretty Horses is a deceptive book. The three norteamericano boys in Mexico are so innocent, yet so knowledgeable for 16 and 17. The world is too much with them. With this worldliness comes a tactile bridge between heaven and hell. Rawlins predicts the hell to come, but there is a bliss in the knowing. The lost boy Blevins is a pathetic character out of a Fagan experience. He isn't even himself. He's not known to us at all, yet we know him all too well.
As we move though the northern Mexican landscape the richly drawn characters become part of the land; they blend into the earth and are just as brown and dusty as the land itself. Even though the evil that is done, we never know them as evil. What we do is not evil, but can set off a chain of evil that renders us hopless and helpless. As Blevins removed his clothes to avoid the electrical storm, he was to die as if the hand of God's lightening reached from the billowing thunderheads themself.
McCarthy has woven into this tapestry the politics of Mexico, the politics of friendship, the poltics of gender relationships, and politics of horses.
As the book takes us back to Texas and the XEW radio preacher on the Rio Grande shores, we now know that we are blessed in a strange way; there is no magic to the blessing. If we wait for magic only coffins will arrive at our doorstep.
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am 4. Mai 1998
When making a book into a movie, many changes have to be made. There are three vital scenes in Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses which must be included in the movie to achieve the same effect. The scenes which the movie could not exist without involve courage, emotion, and comedy: three things that make movies great.
The most important scene involving courage is John Grady Cole jamming the red-hot gun barrel into his wound. The movie could not succeed without this inspiring episode. In this scene, John Grady builds a scalding hot fire and puts his gun right in the hottest part of the fire, the coals. Only after the barrel of the gun glows red-hot does he drive it into the bullet wound in his leg. He then displays even more courage by ramming it into the exit wound on the other side of his leg. All the guys will love this gory scene.
The most meaningful emotional scene is where Alejandra tells John Grady that she cannot go with him and disassociate with her family. John Grady tells her how much he loves her and asks her to come with him, but Alejandra will not aquiesce. Alejandra possesses strong bonds with her family, and she can never go against their will, no mat5ter what happens. As these two lovers part forever, never to see each other again, the strong emotions surpass any other emotions in the book. This final love scene must be included in the movie version if any females are to watch the movie.
Finally, the funniest part of the book ocurs when the three travelers, John Grady, Rawlins, and Blevins, drink too much. Blevins is so drunk that he falls off his horse. When asked if he can ride, Blevins replies, "Does a bear **** in the woods? **** yes I can ride! I was ridin' when I fell off!"
These three scenes I have mentioned are constitutive to make a movie about All the Pretty Horses. These vivid, emotional scenes draw crowds of men and women, young and old. A movie about this book cannot be made unless it includes the rudiments of courage, emotion, and comedy.
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am 5. Mai 2000
It is 1949, every family owns at least one car and society is used to many modern conveniences such as dishwashers and vacuum's. For a third generation rancher, these so called conveniences foreshadow the end of an era when a simpler lifestyle had value. After loosing his grandfather and his land, John Grady, the main character, flees from an industrial America. He tries to travel back in time by escaping to a primitive Mexico. This novel is commonly viewed as a coming of age story in which John Grady Cole matures into a man. However, the main purpose of this book, is to inform the reader of mans struggle to cope with his losses. Cole faces many losses throughout the novel. John Grady is forced to cope with the loss of his grandfather, his innocence, his first love, and his pride. These losses all foreshadow John Grady's ultimate loss of hope and contentment. The other two major characters of the novel offset Cole because of their ridiculous and often amusing actions. The novel is divided into three parts: John Grady's life in his home town in west Texas, John Grady's life in Mexico, and John Grady's life after he returns to Texas. McCarthy does a great job of revealing Coles feelings of alienation in the first part of the novel. During the bulk of the novel (while John Grady is in Mexico), McCarthy superbly identifies the fallacies of all of Coles fantasies. He accomplishes this task by harshly eliminating each one of Grady's hopes and
desires. This book is very well written and often depicts the characters emotions through the landscape. It's overall plot is not difficult however, the reader may experience difficulty discerning some dialogue because McCarthy does not use quotation marks. Initially, the reader may also struggle with extremely long sentences. While reading this book I quickly grew attached to the characters and I was eager to learn more about their daily adventures. However, the first fifty pages are rather uneventful. The reader should prevail because the plot gains momentum and the ending is rewarding. I would recommend this novel to anyone who has ever experienced loss because they will identify with the thoughts and feelings of the characters of this novel.
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