Horseman, Pass By
Horseman, Pass By tells the story of Homer Bannon, an old-time cattleman who epitomizes the frontier values of honesty and decency, and Hud, his unscrupulous stepson. Caught in the middle is the narrator, Homer’s young grandson Lonnie, who is as much drawn to his grandfather’s strength of character as he is to Hud’s hedonism and materialism.
I was immediately swept away by McMurtry’s eloquent writing. His style is so mesmerizing, seductive and fluid. The reader is drawn into this story from the onset, devouring every page with a thirst for more. I felt the sweltering heat of Texas, the dirt gritty on my skin, yes, his writing is that detailed.
The characters represent the past, present and future, as well as a scapegoat for one despicable man’s anger and hate. I have never in my life loathed a character as much as I loathed Hud. Hud is devious, brutal, a rapist and a thief. He is the devil incarnate, the ugly blemish in this poignant story. Hud is determined, determined to take whatever he can take. Hud’s contrast character is Lonnie, all around great kid craving excitement. Caught between boyhood and one step away from manhood. Short on years but experiencing more than any 17 year old should. McMurtry’s characterization couldn’t be improved upon, he gives us his characters naked, raw, exposed completely to the reader.
Horseman, Pass By is more than a intricate coming of age story, it also tells of no challenge is too great, you just keep going. It is also about change – the times are evolving, move forward.
“All of them wanted more and seemed to end up with less; they wanted excitement and ended up stomped by a bull or smashed against a highway; or they wanted a girl to court, and anyway, whatever it was they wanted, that was what they ended up doing without.”
Horseman, Pass By is disturbing, alluring and unforgettable. McMurtry wrote this novella over 50 years ago, a prelude to his incredible writing talent and illustrious career. A timeless classic in every way, a must read.