Cover image for All the pretty horses
All the pretty horses
McCarthy, Cormac, 1933-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Random House AudioBooks, [1993]

Physical Description:
3 audio discs : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Compact disc.
Reading Level:
940 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 6.4 21 Quiz: 13287 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1067030.5) 3 CD'S Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
XX(1067030.3) DISC 3 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
X Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



Three CDs, 3 hours
Read by Brad Pitt
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon, directed by Billy Bob Thorton and produced by Mike Nichols

A critical triumph, this is the story of John Grady Cole, who at 16 finds himself at the dying end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. To escape a society moving in all the wrong directions, Cole and two companions decide to seek their future in Mexico, a land at once beautiful and desolate, rugged and cruelly civilized. But what begins as an idyllic, sometimes comic adventure, leads, in fact, to a place where dreams are paid for in blood. Within months, one of the boys is dead, and the other two aged beyond their years.
A story about childhood passing, innocence and an American age, here is a grand story and an education in responsibility, revenge, and survival. All the Pretty Horses is truly a masterpiece.

Author Notes

Cormac McCarthy was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 20, 1933. He attended the University of Tennessee, but interrupted his studies for four years to join the U.S. Air Force.

His first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. His other works include Outer Dark, Child of God, Suttree, and Blood Meridian. All the Pretty Horses, the first part of the Border Trilogy, which also includes The Crossing and Cities of the Plains, won the National Book Award in 1992. His novel No Country for Old Men was adapted into a film in 2007. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road. He has also written plays and screenplays.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

John Grady Cole is verging on manhood, and over the course of this riveting novel, he takes the plunge. The time is immediate post-World War II; the place, West Texas. Cole is from rancher stock; he'd grown up loving the land and horses and appreciating his intended purpose in life: to follow in the footsteps of father and grandfather. But marital discord between his parents disenfranchises Cole from that purpose; and with a chum, he sets off on other pursuits--namely, to find his fortune across the river in Mexico. In the process, Cole finds affection of the female sort, a circumstance followed by arrest and jail under deplorable conditions. His release is his final passage into a fully adult existence. McCarthy's reputation as a literary writer of both considerable appeal and challenge is sustained by his latest novel, which is the first volume in a planned trilogy. He's not for readers who take their plots neat. McCarthy is more interested in creating moods in individual scenes than in weaving scenes into a tight whole. It's not that his novel is determinedly obscure. It's more like he's nearsighted: what's happening in the foreground is in good focus, but the background much less so. (Reviewed Apr. 1, 1992)0394574745Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. None of McCarthy's previous works, not even the award-winning The Orchard Keeper (1965) or the much-admired Blood Meridian (1985), quite prepares the reader for the singular achievement of this first installment in the projected Border Trilogy. John Grady Cole is a 16-year-old boy who leaves his Texas home when his grandfather dies. With his parents already split up and his mother working in theater out of town, there is no longer reason for him to stay. He and his friend Lacey Rawlins ride their horses south into Mexico; they are joined by another boy, the mysterious Jimmy Blevins, a 14-year-old sharpshooter. Although the year is 1948, the landscape--at some moments parched and unforgiving, at others verdant and gentled by rain--seems out of time, somewhere before history or after it. These likable boys affect the cowboy's taciturnity--they roll cigarettes and say what they mean--and yet amongst themselves are given to terse, comic exchanges about life and death. In McCarthy's unblinking imagination the boys suffer truly harrowing encounters with corrupt Mexican officials, enigmatic bandits and a desert weather that roils like an angry god. Though some readers may grow impatient with the wild prairie rhythms of McCarthy's language, others will find his voice completely transporting. In what is perhaps the book's most spectacular feat, horses and men are joined in a philosophical union made manifest in the muscular pulse of the prose and the brute dignity of the characters. ``What he loved in horses was what he loved in men, the blood and the heat of the blood that ran them,'' the narrator says of John Grady. As a bonus, Grady endures a tragic love affair with the daughter of a rich Spanish Hacendado , a romance, one hopes, to be resumed later in the trilogy. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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. It is a simple story (the first in a trilogy) of three Texas youths whose flight to Mexico on horseback in 1949 traverses far more than geographical borders, marking a descent into the deeper forces of friendship, love, and cruelty. Its style owes an enormous debt to Hemingway, but it pays that debt with interest. That its laconic hero, John Grady Cole, proves resourceful beyond his years (and almost beyond belief) places the novel in the tradition of classic Westerns, but never has any Western been so well told. The novel's moral logic and McCarthy's mystique of ``blood'' are questionable, but there is poignancy in Cole's yearning to touch something in horses that has passed from the race of men, to find a depth of wisdom that can only come with age, and, like most of McCarthy's people, to escape what is deadly in modern American life. The unabridged version is one of the best recorded books to date, for Frank Muller's narration is such a perfect model of balance and control that it deserves an award in itself. In the Random House abridgment, film actor Brad Pitt simply doesn't compare. With a superb complete version on the market, there is no reason to settle for anything less.-- Peter Josyph, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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 save the ticking of the mantel clock in the front room. He went out and shut the door. Dark and cold and no wind and a thin gray reef beginning along the eastern rim of the world. He walked out on the prairie and stood holding his hat like some supplicant to the darkness over them all and he stood there for a long time. As he turned to go he heard the train. He stopped and waited for it. He could feel it under his feet. It came boring out of the east like some ribald satellite of the coming sun howling and bellowing in the distance and the long light of the headlamp running through the tangled mesquite brakes and creating out of the night the endless fenceline down the dead straight right of way and sucking it back again wire and post mile on mile into the darkness after where the boilersmoke disbanded slowly along the faint new horizon and the sound came lagging and he stood still holding his hat in his hands in the passing groundshudder watching it till it was gone. Then he turned and went back to the house. She looked up from the stove when he came in and looked him up and down in his suit. Buenos días, guapo, she said. He hung the hat on a peg by the door among slickers and blanketcoats and odd pieces of tack and came to the stove and got his coffee and took it to the table. She opened the oven and drew out a pan of sweetrolls she'd made and put one on a plate and brought it over and set it in front of him together with a knife for the butter and she touched the back of his head with her hand before she returned to the stove. I appreciate you lightin the candle, he said. Cómo? La candela. La vela. No fui yo, she said. La señora? Claro. Ya se levantó? Antes que yo. He drank the coffee. It was just grainy light outside and Arturo was coming up toward the house. He saw his father at the funeral. Standing by himself across the little gravel path near the fence. Once he went out to the street to his car. Then he came back. A norther had blown in about midmorning and there were spits of snow in the air with blowing dust and the women sat holding on to their hats. They'd put an awning up over the gravesite but the weather was all sideways and it did no good. The canvas rattled and flapped and the preacher's words were lost in the wind. When it was over and the mourners rose to go the canvas chairs they'd been sitting on raced away tumbling among the tombstones. In the evening he saddled his horse and rode out west from the house. The wind was much abated and it was very cold and the sun sat blood red and elliptic under the reefs of bloodred cloud before him. He rode where he would always choose to ride, out where the western fork of the old Comanche road coming down out of the Kiowa country to the north passed through the westernmost section of the ranch and you could see the faint trace of it bearing south over t Excerpted from All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.