Today I finished Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing, the second in his ‘Border Trilogy’, the first being All the Pretty Horses. I almost gave up on this book a third of the way through. This was because I didn’t realise I was only a third of the way through (I am reading the trilogy in one volume). What I had taken for a lengthy, heavily religious, closing exegesis of an epilogue was in fact simply the closing reflections on the first of three journeys sixteen year-old protagonist Billy Parham takes from New Mexico to Mexico. Each of his quixotic missions fails. In the meantime, he comes of age but the grown man ends this bleak, melancholic, meditative, philosophical and, perhaps above all, biblical story weeping in the middle of a road, as alone as he has been throughout his adventures. The crossing is not just between civilisation and savagery, new and old, youth and adulthood, innocence and wisdom, man and animal, belief and desperation, but also between faith and fatalism. The Parham we leave at the end of this book is a sort of bleak cross between Job and Sisyphus. I wonder what McCarthy will do to the poor soul in Cities of the Plain. The Crossing is not as tightly written as it might have been. But even when McCarthy is not at his very best he is still very good.