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Cities of the Plain

The Border Trilogy, Book Three
Written by: Cormac McCarthy
Narrated by: Frank Muller
Series: Border Trilogy, Book 3
Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In his novels, best-selling author Cormac McCarthy creates a western landscape filled with characters that are both mythic and authentic. Cities of the Plain, the stunning conclusion of his award-winning Border trilogy, brings together John Grady Cole and Billy Parham—the two lifelong friends who began their adventures in All the Pretty Horses. It is 1952. As Grady and Billy work a remote New Mexico ranch, Grady falls in love with a young Mexican prostitute. Determined to free her from her owner, Grady embarks on his dangerous quest of the heart. Billy tries to protect and help him, but the forces at work soon demand sacrifices greater than either can control. Capturing visions of the American West during its last decades, McCarthy’s powerful work is destined to leave a permanent mark on contemporary literature.

©1998 Cormac McCarthy (P)1998 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JW
  • 2012-03-12

Perhaps the best of "The Border Trilogy"!

Would you listen to Cities of the Plain again? Why?

I have recently become a HUGE McCarthy fan due to taking a college class on him and I have to see that Cities of the Plain is truly one of the best books I've ever listened to/read. I will most certainly be listening to Frank Muller's interpretation again, because despite his difficulty in differentiating in voice between all the cowboys, he acts them all very well.

What other book might you compare Cities of the Plain to and why?

Cities of the Plain is in some ways an

What does Frank Muller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

For me, the scenes between John Grady and Billy just became more personal. They may argue a lot, but you can get a real feel for their undying friendship with each other.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Well, the whole thing really :). This is an outstanding book. But probably the most moving part is the conclusion and the conversation that Billy has with a blind man. I won't give anything away, but let it be said that McCarthy's sages are always profound, and the one Billy encounters in this novel is no exception.

Any additional comments?

Why haven't you already bought this? GET IT NOW AND READ/LISTEN TO IT!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Espanolish
  • 2016-11-09

You Can Feel Prairie Dust on Your Tongue

I read/listened to each installment of Border series in sequential order. Each story stands skyscraper-tall on its own. “Cities of the Plain” is no exception. Cormac McCarthy is consistent without being formulaic. His writing is engaging, sucking you into his landscape where you can feel the Spanish and prairie dust rolling off your tongue. What I like and admire most about the way he spins a tale, is that his lyrical prose does not interfere with the grit of the story and the intimacy you feel with each character. Without saying too much, there was some degree of predictability early in the story. This does not detract from the enjoyment or suspense because, as with all his narratives, McCarthy delivers a well-spun, fully satisfying yarn with strong characters who have all manner of conflicts, motives, duplicity, and likability.

Having said that, the first installment, “All The Pretty Horses,” is my favorite but this one (the third and last) “Ciites of the Plain” is a close second.

Narrator Richard Poe excelled in his performance. Let’s face it, there was only one Frank Mueller (may he rest in peace), but Poe performs in his own applaudable light.

3 people found this helpful

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  • B. H. Taylor
  • 2016-02-09

Read to us always, won't you, Frank?

Writer and reader, exemplars both, create a model for the form, dancer becomes the dance.

6 people found this helpful

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  • KenJG62
  • 2017-04-28

The trilogy is a masterwork.

McCarthy is an artist. He paints pictures with words so vivid that I see his landscape more clearly than what's actually in front of me, as I listen to his words read aloud. If there's any criticism, and I'm sorry that I found it distracting, but Muller's performance was much more affected...more breathy...than his reading of All the Pretty Horses, which was phenomenal. I did overcome it, but almost gave and read it from the book myself. I'm glad I stuck it out, and I will miss these great characters. Brilliant.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Otm Shank
  • 2015-01-23

Top-notch narration!

If you've ever wondered how much difference a narrator can make, just listen to this audiobook which is superbly narrated by Frank Mueller. The novel itself is also excellent although slightly marred by a wholly unnecessary and quite unlikely epilogue. Otherwise a fantastic Western - probably the best I've read / heard.

2 people found this helpful

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  • JULIE
  • 2017-08-05

Another Masterpiece!

Cormac McCarthy brought the two story lines together perfectly in this last book of the trilogy. And, as always, his masterful descriptions lead you down the winding path and through the other side. Amazing!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jared
  • 2016-08-29

Ethereal trancendant

A simple story brilliantly told, linking mankind together in life, dreams and death and ending.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kimberly
  • 2016-04-01

a true western

it has everything..love horses and betrayal the ending left me gasping and fighting tears..well done

1 person found this helpful

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  • john
  • 2016-03-28

amazing story, superb writing

Frank Muller's narration was pretty good but not as good as it was on All the Pretty Horses. There's a weird whisper thing with this narration, and I had to work hard to not let it get in the way of my enjoyment. that being said, he still did an excellent job of portraying each character differently and with a voice suited to each.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cliff
  • 2015-04-16

Muller brings the characters to life <br />

makes me want to learn Spanish, still a great listen. Muller rules every single time

1 person found this helpful