The book comes to an end leaving you in a similar position to the end of All the Pretty Horses with a young man far from home in surrounded by nothing but hostility and loneliness. Billy manages to pin down not just how his brother Boyd died but where he is buried.
He digs up the remains and then is held up on the road and Nino his horse is stabbed and for a while it looks as if the horse will die and Billy will be left with a corpse in a blanket, miles from anywhere.
Gypsies come and fix the horse and then he meets a strange American who has lost his son in a plane crash who is paying the gypsies to retrieve the wreckage and take it home despite the likelihood tha it is not even his son’s plane. The man advises him to sort himself out and Billy seems to trekking back across the border for a final time to bury his brother in American soil. He works here and there and then he ends up sleeping in a barn on a stormy night. A dog wanders in – you realise it might actually be Boyd’s dog – but Billy chases it off. When he wakes he searches for the dog but it is long gone and he breaks down in tears at the loss of everything.
In a discussion with my McCarthy loving friend last night over a couple of pints he made the observation that it often feels that Cormac is writing for himself and it is almost accidental good luck if you like it. I made the point that what McCarthy does brilliantly is describe that moment when a smile flips to s sneer and violence erupts. The one thing we both agreed is that the last place you feel like jumping on a horse and riding off into the sunset into is a Mexico filled with horse knifers and killers sitting round every campfire.
A review will come soon…