The Crossing Background

The Crossing Background

We now know of Cormac McCarthy as an author who produces high-quality work and sells an incredible number of books, and as a Pulitzer-prize winning author. Prior to The Crossing, though, McCarthy was a virtually unknown author whose work went mostly unnoticed and unbought. The Crossing catapulted McCarthy's career and helped establish him as one of the best and highest-grossing authors of the late 20th and early 21st century.

The Crossing is the second installment in McCarthy's "The Border" trilogy. It is set before and during World War II and focuses on the life of the protagonist Billy Parham, a teenage cowboy; his family; and his younger brother Boyd. It tells of three journeys taken from New Mexico to Mexico. This book is notable for being more melancholy than his previous novels and continues McCarthy's well-known tradition of having protagonists who speak very few words. Because the novel is set in Mexico, quite a bit of Spanish is spoken, much of which McCarthy leaves untranslated.

Says McCarthy himself: “Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from.” This quote sums up the novel as a whole and serves as an example of both the eloquence of McCarthy and the theme of the entire narrative.

Upon release, The Crossing was met with critical acclaim and is now widely regarded as one of McCarthy's best. According to Robert Hass of The New York TImes Book Review, "The Crossing is a miracle in prose, an American original."

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