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All the Pretty Horses

The Border Trilogy, Book One
Written by: Cormac McCarthy
Narrated by: Frank Muller
Series: Border Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Cormac McCarthy is a quiet, unassuming presence in American fiction today, but like the slow, measured voices of many of his characters, he speaks with an authority and conviction that demands an audience. All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy's sixth novel, is a cowboy odyssey for modern times. Set in the late 1940s, it features the travels and toils of a 16-year-old East Texan named John Grady Cole, caught in the agonizing purgatory between adolescence and adulthood.

At the start of the novel, Cole's grandfather has just died, his parents have permanently separated, and the family ranch, upon which he had placed so many boyish hopes, has been sold. Rootless and increasingly restive, Cole leaves Texas, accompanied by his friend Lacey Rawlins, and begins a journey across the vaquero frontier into the badlands of northern Mexico. In spite of its hard realities and spare telling, All the Pretty Horses is a lyrical and richly romantic story, chronicling - along with the erosion of the frontier - the loss of an era.

©1992 Cormac McCarthy (P)1992 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

National Book Award, 1992


"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." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book

No one makes me feel more in the story than Cormac McCarthy. I love his books. In my opinion, you don't 'read' McCarthy's books, you live them. Really enjoyed this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • LMS
  • 2015-05-21

Beautiful writing

There's another reviewer said this book is too slow. It is slow, but I'm not sure that's the point. The writing, the scenery, the characters are so Beautiful, I found myself hitting the repeat last 30 seconds button over and over again. A great audiobook.

Also, the performance is spectacular. I don't imagine this prose is the easiest to read, but this reader performs it thoughtfully and with Grace, and it's a joy to listen to.

82 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah Symonds Chapin
  • 2017-08-18

Very Slow

Beautifully written but very slow. This story takes a person willing out in the time.

11 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Edmund
  • 2017-08-02

Not Pretty

There is nothing redeeming about this story, and the reader didn't help. Fortunately, I picked it up on sale, so didn't waste a lot of $$. But in the end (I kept expecting something interesting to happen), I couldn't wait for it to end. Wish I'd stopped sooner. And I've enjoyed other work by this author. Darn!

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • mama pajama
  • 2016-04-25

Disappointing: lyrical but confusing

The plot relies heavily on dialogue, which is frequently in Spanish with no English translation or context. It also employs frequent use of technical terms related to horses. Thus, the story is difficult to follow without some knowledge of Spanish and horses! The narrative verse is lovely, poetic, and rich with imagery, but it tends to stand still in time. This reader was very confused about what was happening throughout most of the book, including the events and the characters' motivations. This book was a big disappointment!

68 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2018-09-28

Very slow story and quite boring

The story is very slow and the plot is quite boring. The hero's problems end very abruptly and anticlimactically. If you like horses and hearing someone talk about and describe horses for 5 plus hours then I guess your in luck.

10 people found this helpful

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  • GrannyDeb
  • 2017-07-18

I gave up.

This would be a good one to fall asleep to. I quit after half an hour.

10 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Pstox
  • 2018-08-11

Boring

Not only is the story boring but so is the narrator. Maybe better to fall asleep to.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 2018-04-08

too much Spanish<br />

stuggled to finish
at least 10% was in Spanish and I could not understand it

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • muddy paws
  • 2017-12-09

I guess I missed the boat - or horse in this one

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Frankly, a different story -characters, circumstances, story - just didn't resonate with me.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Autumn
  • 2017-07-25

A True Western With An Unsatisfying Ending

Two cowboys, lots of adventure, horses, and a little bit of love. I enjoyed it!

9 people found this helpful