All the Pretty Horses (Border Trilogy Series #1) share button
Cormac McCarthy
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.13 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.69 (d)
Pages 320
Publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication Date June 1993
ISBN 9780679744399
Book ISBN 10 0679744398
About Book

Now a major motion picture from Columbia Pictures starring Matt Damon, produced by Mike Nichols, and directed by Billy Bob Thornton.

The national bestseller and the first volume in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself.  With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.  Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

Winner of the 1992 National Book Award


From Barnes & Noble

In highly evocative prose that puts the reader firmly in the saddle, the National Book Award-winning novel All the Pretty Horses -- the first and most-admired book in Cormac McCarthy's acclaimed Border Trilogy -- follows the progress of laconic 16-year-old Texan John Grady Cole, his pal Lacey Rawlins, and the mysterious young sharpshooter Jimmy Blevins as they ride across the border into Mexico in search of adventure. A contemporary classic!

San Francisco Chronicle

[The Border Trilogy is] an American classic to stand with the finest literary achievements of the century.


A true American original.

Boston Globe

[All the Pretty Horses's} elegiac rhythm captures the badlands of Texas and northern Mexico with a passion most writers either couldn't muster or wouldn't dare.

New York Times Book Review

McCarthy puts most other American writers to shame. [His] work itself repays the tight focus of his attention with its finely wrought craftsmanship and its ferocious energy.

Publishers Weekly

This is a novel so exuberant in its prose, so offbeat in its setting and so mordant and profound in its deliberations that one searches in vain for comparisons in American literature. None of McCarthy's previous works, not even the award-winning The Orchard Keeper (1965) or the much-admired Blood Meridian (1985), quite prepares the reader for the singular achievement of this first installment in the projected Border Trilogy.

John Grady Cole is a 16-year-old boy who leaves his Texas home when his grandfather dies. With his parents already split up and his mother working in theater out of town, there is no longer reason for him to stay. He and his friend Lacey Rawlins ride their horses south into Mexico; they are joined by another boy, the mysterious Jimmy Blevins, a 14-year-old sharpshooter.

Although the year is 1948, the landscape--at some moments parched and unforgiving, at others verdant and gentled by rain--seems out of time, somewhere before history or after it. These likable boys affect the cowboy's taciturnity--they roll cigarettes and say what they mean--and yet amongst themselves are given to terse, comic exchanges about life and death.

In McCarthy's unblinking imagination the boys suffer truly harrowing encounters with corrupt Mexican officials, enigmatic bandits and a desert weather that roils like an angry god. Though some readers may grow impatient with the wild prairie rhythms of McCarthy's language, others will find his voice completely transporting. In what is perhaps the book's most spectacular feat, horses and men are joined in a philosophical union made manifest in the muscular pulse of the prose and the brute dignity of the characters. ``What he loved in horses was what he loved in men, the blood and the heat of the blood that ran them,'' the narrator says of John Grady.

Library Journal

Before this beautifully written novel, McCarthy's sixth and most accessible, won last year's National Book Award and became a best seller, its author was one of the least known of great American novelists. It is a simple story (the first in a trilogy) of three Texas youths whose flight to Mexico on horseback in 1949 traverses far more than geographical borders, marking a descent into the deeper forces of friendship, love, and cruelty. Its style owes an enormous debt to Hemingway, but it pays that debt with interest. That its laconic hero, John Grady Cole, proves resourceful beyond his years (and almost beyond belief) places the novel in the tradition of classic Westerns, but never has any Western been so well told. The novel's moral logic and McCarthy's mystique of ``blood'' are questionable, but there is poignancy in Cole's yearning to touch something in horses that has passed from the race of men, to find a depth of wisdom that can only come with age, and, like most of McCarthy's people, to escape what is deadly in modern American life. The unabridged version is one of the best recorded books to date, for Frank Muller's narration is such a perfect model of balance and control that it deserves an award in itself. In the Random House abridgment, film actor Brad Pitt simply doesn't compare. With a superb complete version on the market, there is no reason to settle for anything less.-- Peter Josyph, New York


. . .[A] grand love story, an education in responsibility.


A true American original. -- Newsweek