CORMAC MCCARTHY - CITIES OF THE PLAIN

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cities_of_of_the_plain.jpg

CORMAC MCCARTHY - CITIES OF THE PLAIN

15.95

Cities of the Plain, the final volume of Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, binds together the separate tales of John Grady Cole from All the Pretty Horses and Billy Parham from The Crossing to create a more realistic Billy and a more mythic John Grady. Within the confines of a relatively spare 293 pages, the classic “all-american cowboy” John Grady devotes himself to saving every hurt or wounded creature that crosses his path, a noble and impossible task that leads ultimately to his own destruction. The tragedy of his failed rescue of the epilectic prostitute Magdalena makes a martyr of the near-faultless John Grady, yet McCarthy stubbornly refuses to let the novel backslide into blubbery melodrama. Told in both McCarthy’s signature lyrical style and his dead-on ranchero dialogue, Cities of the Plain ends the trilogy at the height of McCarthy’s storytelling skill.

In the fall of 1952, a 20-year-old John Grady and a 28-year-old Billy Parham are working together on Mac McGovern’s Cross Fours Ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico, near El Paso and its twin city, Juarez. The ranch is a friendly and sociable place for the two men, but under the surface lies a perceptible feeling of loss on almost all sides; Mac and his father-in-law Mr. Johnson continually mourn the loss of Margaret Johnson McGovern, while other stories are told of fellow rancher Oren’s failed marriage and a man named Johnny whose stubborn love for an unfaithful woman somehow caused his death. Billy is casual enough about women, preferring to confine his alliances to the Juarez whorehouses, but on the visit that opens the novel John Grady inevitably picks out the youngest and most frightened prostitute in the room to fall in love with.

Paperback
292 pages
May 25, 1999

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