CORMAC MCCARTHY - THE CROSSING

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the-_crossing_001.jpg

CORMAC MCCARTHY - THE CROSSING

15.95

The Crossing, publicized as the second installment of McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, is the initiation story of Billy Parham and his younger brother Boyd (who are 16 and 14 respectively when the novel opens). The novel, set just before and during World War II, is structured around three round-trip crossings that Billy makes from New Mexico into Mexico. Each trip tests Billy as he must try to salvage something once he fails in his original goal. On both his first and last quest he is reduced (or perhaps exalted) to some symbolic futile gesture in his attempt, against all obstacles, to maintain his integrity and to be true to his moral obligations. This novel explores such issues as guilt, the acquisition of wisdom, heroism, and the crucial importance of stories.

The first section of The Crossing is the story of Billy Parham’s learning the ways of wolves as well as the ways of men. Like Ike McCaslin in William Faulkner’s “The Bear,” Billy becomes increasingly expert about the wild so that eventually he is able to corner the beast that is the object of his obsessive search. This section also may put readers in mind of Moby-Dick, for as the white whale surfaces out of the primal depths, McCarthy’s she-wolf comes up into the United States from the primitiveness of the mountains of Mexico. After many failed attempts, Billy finally traps the pregnant she-wolf, elaborately strings it out, and eventually succeeds in tying its muzzle closed, no easy task. At this point, Billy, seemingly on impulse, decides to leave home without any farewell or explanation in order to return the wolf to Mexico.

Paperback
432 pages
March 14, 1995

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