Summary and book reviews of All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

All The Pretty Horses

By Cormac McCarthy

All The Pretty Horses
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Apr 1992,
    401 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2002,
    301 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

Nominee 1992 - National Book Awards
Nominee1992 - National Book Critics Circle Awards
Winner - ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Now a major motion picture from Columbia Pictures starring Matt Damon, produced by Mike Nichols, and directed by Billy Bob Thornton.

The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door. He took off his hat and came slowly forward. The floorboards creaked under his boots. In his black suit he stood in the dark glass where the lilies leaned so palely from their waisted cutglass vase. Along the cold hallway behind him hung the portraits of forebears only dimly known to him all framed in glass and dimly lit above the narrow wainscotting. He looked down at the guttered candlestub. He pressed his thumbprint in the warm wax pooled on the oak veneer. Lastly he looked at the face so caved and drawn among the folds of funeral cloth, the yellowed moustache, the eyelids paper thin. That was not sleeping. That was not sleeping.

It was dark outside and cold and no wind. In the distance a calf bawled. He stood with his hat in his hand. You never combed your hair that way in your life, he said.

Inside the house there was no sound...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About This Book 

At once a Western, a picaresque adventure, and a coming-of-age novel, suspenseful, wryly funny, and elegiac, All the Pretty Horses is the story of John Grady Cole, the last of a long line of west Texas ranchers. Upon his grandfather's death and his parents' divorce, the sixteen-year-old Cole finds himself landless, penniless, and possessed of skills that mean nothing in a country transformed by highways and a world war, where cowboys are as doomed and marginal as the Indians they once displaced. With his friend Lacey Rawlins, John Grady sets off for Mexico. They have no idea what they will find there: on their map, the area south of the Rio Grande is blank. They have between them two horses, a rifle, and ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
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.

Esquire

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

Boston Globe

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.

Kirkus Reviews

Like the late D.H. Lawrence at his worst and most pretentious, all blood-voodoo and animistic design, McCarthy makes an awfully unconvincing lot of a little here.

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....Though some readers may grow impatient with the wild prairie rhythms of McCarthy's language, others will find his voice completely transporting.

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.

Newsweek

Rambunctious, high-spirited...All the Pretty Horses is a true American original.

Reader Reviews
Suzanne G.

So good . . .
This book is the first in a trilogy. I wondered at first if I was reading the book with such wonderful reviews or was it a “same title” book. Thank goodness, after taking more time with my reading, slowing down and even rereading the Spanish dialogue...   Read More

Katherine

One of my favorite books ever!
This book, and the other two in the Border Trilogy, captured my heart from the beginning. McCarthy does a fabulous job with character development, so you feel like you really know the main character and understand how he thinks as he comes of age. To...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked All The Pretty Horses, try these:

  • Battleborn jacket

    Battleborn

    by Claire Vaye Watkins

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Like the work of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Richard Ford, and Annie Proulx, Battleborn represents a near-perfect confluence of sensibility and setting, and the introduction of an exceptionally powerful and original literary voice.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.