Friday, April 24, 2009

All The Pretty Wombats

I've been reading All The Pretty Horses.  About it, I would say that if you like the following passage--if you find it beautiful and true--you should read the book.  
He rode through La Vega without dismounting, the horse blowing and rolling its eyes at all it saw.  When a truck started up in the street and began to come toward them the animal moaned in despair and tried to turn and he sawed it down almost onto its haunches and patted it and talked constantly to it until the vehicle was past and then they went on again.  Once outside the town he left the road altogether and set off across the immense and ancient lakebed of the bolson.  He crossed a dry gypsum playa where the salt crust stove under the horse's hooves like trodden isinglass and he rode up through white gypsum hills grown with stunted datil and through a pale bajanda crowded with flowers of gypsum like a cavefloor uncovered to the light.  In the shimmering distance trees and jacales stood along the slender bights of greenland pale and serried and half fugitive in the clear morning air.  The horse had a good natural gait and as he rode he talked to it and told it things about that world that were true in his experience and he told it things he thought could be true to see how they would sound if they were said.  He told the horse why he liked it and why he'd chosen it to be his horse and he said that he would allow no harm to come to it. 
I will say, as well, that I had to look up six words in this paragraph (two of which appear in no Spanish or English dictionary I own) and also that if I stopped to look up every word that I didn't know, reading this book, I would probably still be on page 50.  


JMW said...

One of the exceedingly few books I've read multiple times without losing some respect (or enjoyment) along the way.

Johannes said...

I'm going to read this. I've read a few others. The Road was bleakly wonderful, and Blood Meridian was also good though more bleak, if possible. I look forward to the bleakness of this deceptively titled Opus. Apparently the working title Fluffy Bunnies frolic in the Southwest was rejected in the end.

When I saw our high school English teacher at your wedding ANCIANT, before I drank your lovely centerpiece, she asserted that I, specifically, should read this book for reasons she didn't elaborate on.
I think i told her I don't like horses, and does she want to make something of it you baloney. It's a little hazy. Nevertheless, I will honor her recommendation and yours.

I would also buy and read All the Pretty Wombats.

ANCIANT said...

I think there's no doubt the book would have done better had it been called "All The Pretty Wombats." Some of the passages about horses might not have meshed as neatly as a result, but still. The gains would outweigh the losses.

I'm debating continuing on with the trilogy but at this point I think I need a break. JMW, what do you think? I've heard the second book drops off in quality some.

JMW said...

I think taking a break makes sense, but I would eventually read The Crossing. It's a baggier book than Horses, and pretty overheated at times, but it also has some truly great moments. The third book in the trilogy is a real drop-off, for reasons I'll explain over a gallon of tequila sometime.