Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All the Pretty Horses

Occasionally you come across a good novel that's so well executed and visual, it's like reading a painting. I was fortunate recently to purchase All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Because personal reading tastes are so varied, I don't put much stock in books on the Best Seller List or which have won awards. Actually I tend to shy away from the Best Seller List, but I was familiar with the movie, "No Country for Old Men," so I picked up the book anyway. It has won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

This wonderful story is about the adventures of two young Texans nearing adulthood, who take off on their horses for Mexico in the 1930s, just as the automobile is emerging. It reminds me of one of my all time favorites, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn in that regard. While the humor is more subtle than Twain, McCarthy is a strong writer with a quiet, but visually provocative style. And you find yourself anxious to turn the page to see how these hardheaded youngsters, who are dealing with their first tough encounters of life accentuated by being in a foreign land, will handle their next self-induced obstacle.

McCarthy's lack of punctuation did raise its head about the middle of the book for me, but artistic expression is more tolerated in fiction than anywhere else in the journalistic world. I loved this book, and it will be one I'll be saving for my shelf rather than passing it along. If you are a visual person and a reader, don't hesitate to read this one.--Ruth Mitchell

(c) 2009 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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