Monday, January 30, 2012

The Crossing - Cormac McCarthy

Fans of Cormac McCarthy will not be disappointed in The Crossing. It has all the elements we have come to expect from his novels, particularly those that deal with the American West (and by extension, northern Mexico). There is the terse language, interspersed with the strange diction and archaic words that make his prose both familiar and odd. He is a master at creating a suspenseful tension in his narrative, stringing together incidents to create a sense of inevitability.

But there are odd incongruities in the novel. The first part, about the first third, is the narrative of Billy Parnham and the wolf. There is great promise in this part of the narrative, and it ends somewhat flat. Parnham returns home, and after an incident that seems like little more than a bridge to connect the first section with the far longer, second section, we get the narrative of Billy and his brother Boyd in Mexico. McCormac sacrifices plot to do what he wants. We are not sure how or why the boys do what they must do in Mexico.

Despite this, the novel coheres. McCarthy is enough of a master to leave us satisfied in the end, regardless of the seams we felt along the way.

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