Cloverdale began around 1889, when the Victor Land and Cattle Company purchased the nearby Cloverdale Ranch. After other ranches sprang up the community became known as Cloverdale. At its height, the town had a population of about two hundred people.
Now a deserted ghost town, all that remains is an old store, an abandoned flagstone house and the wooden dance pavilion which Billy passes in the novel.
A cholla is a type of cactus native to North, Central and South America.They vary in size from tiny plants only noticeable when blooming to small trees about 10 feet in height.
The cane cholla is the most common species of cholla in New Mexico. It is a bushy cactus with spiny, finely barbed stems which are notoriously difficult to remove from flesh.
A honda is a type of knot used to make a lariat or lasso.
The knot closes as strain is applied to the edges of the rope allowing for the securing of an animal from distance.
A Saltillo blanket is a form of traditional serape made in the Mexican state of Coahuila in north-eastern Mexico, near the city of Saltillo.
Saltillo blanket patterns often consist of a dark base colour with bands of yellow, orange, red, blue, green, purple or other bright colours.
Djinn, or genies, are demons in Arabic mythology which are said to occupy a parallel world to that of mankind. Together, djinn, humans and angels make up the three sentient creations of Allah.
Linking back to the novel’s motif of fire, the Qur’an describes the djinn as beings made of smokeless flame or 'the fire of a scorching wind'.
Reverance towards the sun and an instinctual fear of darkness has probably been with us since the dawn of man. Myths relating to the sun are a feature of almost every human civilization on record.
The Aztecs famously sacrificed thousands of human victims in the belief that their Sun God Huitzilopōchtli required a constant supply of blood to replenish the energy he spent throughout his continual battle with the darkness.
An arroyo (Spanish for brook) is a dry river, creek or stream bed that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain.
Alkahest (McCarthy sometimes employs archaic spelling or one all of his own devising) was a mystical substance sought after by alchemists.
As alkahest was said to possess the ability to dissolve all other substances it presented the problem of containing the substance since it would inevitably dissolve the container.
Ocotillo is a desert plant of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. For much of the year, the plant appears dead, until rainfall when the ocotillo sprouts small leaves. Bright crimson flowers appear after heavier rainfall in spring and summer.