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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Crossing

The Crossing is Cormac McCarthy's second book that I've read and similar to the Coetzee book which I will discuss on Monday I have to say that I liked it a lot better than the respective first one. Maybe one has to get accustomed to a writes of a certain stature before one can really enjoy his writing (I remember that Faulkner As I Lay Dying did not please me all that much either when I first read it), whatever the reason, this McCarthy novel was really good. It had certain parts in Spanish that I only partly understood and some of the dream-like philosophical sequences were a little too abstract for me - I sometimes wonder whether that is just me, or whether the reader is supposed to understand these, help on this would be welcome - but the general story line made it a really good read.

A young man from New Mexico repeatedly travels into Mexico and is confronted with a society that is far more violent and less modern than the one that he comes from. The novel takes place during the 1st World War, so modernity has made its inroads already, yet Billy, the protagonist, is a representative of the past, someone who has not really gotten used to cars, airplanes or even basic legal issues (like death certificates or burial licenses). As one can imagine the novel is not a happy one, it does not even provide any kind of closure (whether negative or positive) in the end, yet it was a very thought-provoking book and I can only recommend it to anyone.

I should probably add that I am in general a big fan of stories on the beginning of modernity and how people dealt (or did not) with it, if you are not, this book might not be worth it for you after all.

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