Neatly defined plots are the mainstay of fiction, not real life. Life, as we know it, doesn't follow the expected course; it can go round in circles, take unexpected turns and head off in a direction we hadn't foreseen. Cormac McCarthy's novel 'The Crossing' is more true to life than a slave of the fiction format. The writing is as coarse as the landscape it evokes. Characters enter and leave the narrative never to return as the boy hero Billy traverses the length and breadth of Mexico, first (mild spoilers ahead) with a wolf, then with his brother, and then a third time all by himself. The tale turns deeply philosophical at times, putting forth questions regarding the injustices of life and whether God permits them willingly. Yes, the story does drag a few times as the author gets a little too indulgent, but all in all, there is something valuable to be had from this book. If you know McCarthy's style and language and are not put off by it, 'The Crossing' is strongly recommended. But do remember, it is the second book in the 'Border Trilogy'. I suggest you read 'All The Pretty Horses' (first in the trilogy) first even though the story of 'The Crossing' has nothing to do with it. The heroes of the two books come together in the third book 'Cities Of The Plain'.
The crossing trilogy, as a whole, is a great achievement in fiction, not only in the US but wherever fiction in English is read.The strange relationship between a boy and a wild wolf, progressing from fear and the strongest animosity into what is a reciprocated love between a human and a wild animal love is the centre of this volume of the trilogy and springs, of course, from the historically long sustained love of man for horses. This emotion has now disappeared, by and large, from the mental landscape of human beings. The loss is principally ours. McCarthy's understanding of and tribute to those lost sentiments in his own inimitable style is moving and captivating.