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The Cities of the Plain Hardcover – Jun 19 1998


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Hardcover, Jun 19 1998
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (June 19 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033034448X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330344487
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,240,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
THEY STOOD in the doorway and stomped the rain from their boots and swung their hats and wiped the water from their faces. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on March 10 2004
Format: Hardcover
Cities of the Plain is the last of a The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy. Everyone is probably familiar with All the Pretty Horses, so if you want to know what became of John Grady Cole, read this one. It picks up a few years after he left Mexico and his first love (if you don't count horses) behind and came back to the USA, where he works as a cowboy on a big ranch in a town across the border from Juarez. This time, he has the misfortune to fall in love with a beautiful young whore, and he determines to marry her.
John Grady's friend and mentor, Billy Parham (read The Crossing to learn his equally powerful story) tries to help him out - but to tell much more of this tale would be to tell too much.
Like in the other two books, McCarthy has a loooooooong passage of philosophy spoken as almost a monologue by some wise old dude. It's good stuff, but it's okay to skim through it if you're not in the mood for about 80 pages of a pretty good speech. It really has no bearing on the story; it's just McCarthy doing his thing.
I'd advise reading these books in the proper order; there's a pathos and continuity that can't be appreciated otherwise. However, they do read as complete within themselves, so, whatever. I flat out loved each one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Z. Blume on Feb. 23 2004
Format: Paperback
sadly, "Cities of the Plain" disappoints in comparison with the first two volumes of the Border Trilogy. It is possible that I expected too much, but I think it is merely a less successful book. The story itself places Billy Parham and John Grady Cole, the protagonists in the previous books, together on a ranch in New Mexico in the 1940s. The setting has the same romantic feel of the other novels and there is good action throughout, but the story does not flow as well and it is less believable then the previous books. This edition relies on too many flashbacks, wasn't as well written and didn't add much to the series. I think it is important to read "Cities of the Plain" if you've read and enjoyed the rest of the trilogy, because the story really comes full circle here, but it is not a good starting point to become familiar with McCarthy. He has written much better material then this book and I hate to think of people thinking this is a good representation of his talent.
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By A Customer on March 15 2004
Format: Paperback
McCarthy brings together the protagonists from ATPH and The Crossing in a story that concludes the Border Trilogy. Among the book's themes: the passing of an era in the West. The book is everything CM fans have come to expect: a great story, amazing characters, wonderful use of the English language, and heartbreaking events.
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By "mypinion" on Dec 25 2003
Format: Paperback
First: I read the Border Trilogy this week. I haven't read any other McCarthy literature. I was told that if I liked Larry McMurtry, Steinbeck, and Salinger then I would love McCarthy. The first thing I bought was The Crossing. Upon realizing it was part of a trilogy with All The Pretty Horses as the first installment, I was very disappointed. I had no intrest in a Hollywood western novel. But, I grudgingly purchased All The Pretty Horses and read it. (Have not watched movie). That said...
Cormac McCarthy far surpasses any living writer with which I have come in contact. If I had the masterful ability with language that he does, I could express that in a much more emphatic manner.
Any reviewer who complains about things such as puncuation, grammer, or spanish-I feel compelled to respond with this:
1. Would you prefer that all painters created exact duplicates of their subject matter? Are we not better, as a society and as a species, for taking our interpretations further and showing those things we are already intimate with in a fresh or different way? Would you say 'cubism', for instance, is too complicated for you?
2. Are you 25 years old or less? Do you have any true ability to surive in a harsh world without parental aide? The struggles depicted in this novel would, of course, be difficult to fathom in that scenario, especially when teamed with non-traditional grammar and punctuation and a lack of a personal translator.
3. If neither of the two applies to a negative reviewer, perhaps your solution would be ritalin. It is supposed to assist in 'focus'.
On to the review:
All the Pretty Horses is the 'prettiest' of the three. The least bleak, possesses the least darkness. John Grady Cole, loses what he allows himself to lose.
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By Marlena on Oct. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
This is by far the most emotionally engaging and thrilling book out of the border trilogy. The way that Cormac McCarthy can incorporate comedy, love, hate, and suspense all together in this book always left me wanting to read more. The friendship between Billy and John always warmed my heart with their jokes and the way that they will always be there for one another. This book jumps from emotion to emotion and has a unforgettable ending that will forever stay in my heart. The life lessons in this story have changed some of my perspectives on life and have touched me in ways I can not describe. This was an excellent end to the trilogy that no one should go without experiencing.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished the Border Trilogy. The books get better and better. Cities of the Plain was my favorite. It has the most action. I generally don't read the works of living writers. I find most modern subject matter socially and spiritually unredeeming. But McCarthy's stuff is all about society and spirit! Remember that part in The Crossing where he says that you have to live with men instead of merely passing among them? That was pretty cool.
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