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September 26, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage: $12.; 302 pp.). McCarthy won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for this gritty, understated novel that moves with the deep, powerful rhythms of the horses he describes. Rather than give up the ranch life they love, teen-agers John Grady Cole and Lacey Rawlins leave post-World War II Texas for Mexico. They find work as cowboys on a large ranch, but inadvertently blunder into a disagreement that escalates into a blood feud. Cole tries to act according to what he perceives as the cowboy code of honor, only to discover how demanding a system of values can be.

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