Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Crossing

One of the best books I've read in a number of years is Cormac McCarthy's "The Crossing". I can't do it justisce with my paultry prose, so I'll just give some excerpts that I love. It's the
second book of a loose trilogy, with "All the Pretty Horses" and "Cities of the Plain". The language is rich and dark. Wonderful.

The boy didn't know if he understood or not. The old man went
on to say that the hunter was a different thing than men
supposed. He said that men believe the blood of the slain to
be of no consequence but that the wolf knows better.
He said that the wolf is a being of great order and that it
knows what men do not: that there is no order in the world
save that which death has put there.
Finally he said that if men drink the blood of God yet they do
not understand the seriousness of what they do. He said that
men wish to be serious but they do not understand how to be
so. Between their acts and their ceremonies lies the world
and in this world the storms blow and the trees twist in the
wind and all the animals that God has mad go to and fro yet
this world men do not see. They see the acts of their own
hands or they see that which they name and call out to one
another but the world between is invisible to them.

She watched him with her yellow eyes and in them was no
despair but only that same reckonless deep of loneliness that
cored the world to its heart.

His father's eyes searched the coming of the night in the
deepening redness beyond the rim of the world and those eyes
seemed to contemplate with a terrible equanimity the cold and
the dark and the silence that moved upon him...

Riding like a young squire for all his rags. Carrying in his
belly the gift of the meal he'd received which both sustained
him and laid claim upon him. For the sharing of bread is not
such a simple thing nor its acknowledgment. Whatever thanks
be given, however spoke or written down.

She said that it was an American who had lost his way and
the man nodded. He turned away and the weathercreased face
caught for a moment the light from the oil lamp. There were no
eyes in his sockets and the lids were pinched shut so that he
wore a constant look of painful selfabsorption. As if old
errors preoccupied him.

She blessed herself and bent and reached and took hold of the
rag that bound the poultice and lifted it and slid her thumb
beneath the poultice and pulled it away. It was of matted
weeds and dark with blood and it came away unwillingly. Like
something that had been feeding there.

He prodded the ashes with a stick. The few red coals that
turned up in the fire's black heart seemed secret and
improbable. Like the eyes of things disturbed that had best
been left alone.

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