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The Independent Culture
Cities of the Plain

by Cormac McCarthy,

Picador, pounds 6.99, 292pp

EVEN MORE popular here than in the States, Cormac McCarthy has cornered the market in laconic cowboys and El Paso sunsets. The final volume in the Border Trilogy opens with John Grady (the hero of All the Pretty Horses) and Billy Parham (hero of The Crossing) working on a remote ranch in New Mexico, the kind about to be requisitioned by the US Army. When John falls for Magdalena, a Mexican prostitute, Bill urges caution, but his words fall on stony ground: in McCarthy's world, love and violence walk hand in hand.