Cities of the Plain

Cities of the Plain

Book - 1998
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Random House, Inc.
In this magnificent new novel, the National Book Award-winning author of All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing fashions a darkly beautiful elegy for the American frontier.  

The setting is New Mexico in 1952, where John Grady Cole and Billy Parham are working as ranch hands. To the North lie the proving grounds of Alamogordo; to the South, the twin cities of El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. Their life is made up of trail drives and horse auctions and stories told by campfire light. It is a life that is about to change forever, and John Grady and Billy both know it.

The catalyst for that change appears in the form of a beautiful, ill-starred Mexican prostitute.  When John Grady falls in love, Billy agrees--against his better judgment--to help him rescue the girl from her suavely brutal pimp. The ensuing events resonate with the violence and inevitability of classic tragedy.   Hauntingly beautiful, filled with sorrow, humor and awe, Cities of the Plain is a genuine American epic.
The questions, author biography, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading and discussion of Cormac McCarthy's magnificent novel Cities of the Plain and his widely acclaimed Border Trilogy--a modern classic that began with All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing , and has been compared with the great works of Faulkner, Melville, and Hemingway. Although Cities of the Plain is the third volume in the Trilogy, it stands alone as a stunning work of literature in its own right. We hope that this guide will provide you with new ways of looking at, and talking about, the many themes and ideas that coalesce so beautifully in this darkly beautiful elegy for the American frontier.

Baker & Taylor
The conclusion of the Border trilogy describes the friendship of John Grady Cole and Billy Parham, two cowboys working on a New Mexico ranch in the 1950s

& Taylor

In the epic conclusion of the best-selling Border Trilogy, the award-winning author brings together the colorful characters from All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing, in an epic novel set against the backdrop of the 1950s. Reprint. 125,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Kopf, 1998
ISBN: 9780679747192
Characteristics: 291 p. ; 22 cm


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RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Cities of the Plain is the third novel in McCarthy’s The Border Trilogy. It brings together the protagonists from each of the previous two volumes. John Grady Cole from All the Pretty Horses is now nineteen years old and nine years the junior of Billy Parham from The Crossing. Regardless of the disparity in their ages, the men share an inseparable friendship and a deep passion for riding horses and living off the land. They work as ranch hands for a respected landowner on his farm not far from the Mexican border. When John Grady tumbles helplessly in love with a sixteen-year-old Mexican prostitute from across the border, he provokes the ire of the girl’s pimp. John’s relentless desire to marry the girl leads him down a dangerous and fateful path. Billy’s attempts to protect his friend draw him into the violent turmoil where there is no turning back. As McCarthy does throughout volumes one and two of the trilogy, he makes the landscape and the characters who endure the rugged terrain as important an aspect of his writing as the story. The narrative stretches in many directions with keen insight about life on the ranch, but in the scenes that brim with action and tension, no writer is more adept at description and nuance than McCarthy. This is an admirable conclusion to an amazing trilogy. Anyone who wants to gain the full vision of McCarthy’s work will want to read all three volumes.

Feb 09, 2017

Final book in the author's border trilogy which brings the protagonists from the previous books ( All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing) together in a final melancholy story. The characters are reticent of the changing times and their futures as cowboys after WW2. The author is a wordsmith with good characterizations and a fast moving plot. If you do not know Spanish then having Google's Spanish to English translator up and running is a big help. Definitely worth reading.

Nov 11, 2015

I love holding a real book in my hand and reading words written on a page. I don't want to listen to my books; I want to read my books; I want to fully engage with my books. The problem I have with listening to books is that it allows me to concentrate on another activity while I listen and in doing so I lose some of the story. Please buy books, real, hold-in-the hand books for patrons.

Sep 02, 2015

Half a star - or maybe one - for the main narrative and four and half for the epilogue. I reckon that if it weren't for the the author's name, the book would have been rejected. However, the epilogue is extraordinary: one is better off skipping the book and reading just the epilogue half a dozen times.

May 22, 2013

Sorry to see that recent purchases(4?) by Cormack McCarthy are only available in electronic format.
Most of us - especially seniors - depend on the written word and CD format. :( :(

Jul 09, 2010

Part Three of the Border Trilogy. Ties the protagonists of the first two books together.


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