Posted by: Matt | June 22, 2007

Review of Blood Meridian

Blood MeridianBlood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy
1985

Reason for reading: Having liked The Road I decided to read another book by McCarthy. This is considered by most to be his masterpiece. I had been wanting to read it since I purchased it and was finally able to fit it in.

Quote: “The judge placed his hands on the ground. he looked at his inquisitor. This is my claim, he said. And yet everywhere upon it are pockets of autonomous life. Autonomous. In order for it to be mine nothing must be permitted to occur upon it save by my dispensation.”

*******

In 1849, the kid drifts through the south eventually finding himself in Texas. Here he takes up with a band of soldiers who have decided to enter Mexico with the purpose of winning property and fortune. The group is almost immediately slaughtered save a few including the kid. He soon takes up with the Glanton gang who roam Mexico murdering Apaches for their scalps and committing other atrocities.

This is an extremely violent novel. McCarthy makes no effort to condemn nor celebrate the violence. It is a fact of life, an event of the time period. The gang acts violently as though it is their calling. They are human and humans make war.

Whereas the prose in The Road is sparse, here McCarthy displays an incredible ability to describe events and surroundings in unique but vivid ways. Every sentence is full, there is not one wasted line. This is a book that must be processed, not just read.

This is most certainly one of the best books I have read, it would be nearly impossible for McCarthy to top this novel. I find it difficult to write much about this book, in fact I dreaded writing this review. It is something that must be experienced. For some the violence will be too much, but it is an incredible read. I can certainly see myself reading this book several more times over the years.

I refer you to a review of this book over at Bibliolatry. Unlike me, Bibliolatrist did not struggle to produce the words needed to praise this book.

Rating: 5.0

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Responses

  1. Wow – I’m honored!

  2. This sounds like a great book, I’ll have to give it a shot.

  3. Oh yeah….another book to add to the TBR pile!! I have No Country for Old Men by McCarthy to read this summer. I’m hoping for good things!

  4. Bibliolatrist – And you should be! 😉

    John Mutford – I’m a little fearful of you reading this and not liking it with our history of disagreeing. 🙂 Hopefully this will be different.

    Stephanie – I have No Country of Old Men on my TBR list. It’s also being released as a movie soon, directed by the Coen brothers.

  5. I picked this one up after reading The Crossing (which was bleak, but i enjoyed). Since then I’ve also picked up All The Pretty Horses, The Road, and No Country for Old Men. I was thinking about doing Blood Meridian this month–wow 5.0!!

    Saw the preview for NCforOM the other day–love the Coen brothers!

  6. I will definitely add this to my wishlist! Thanks.

  7. I like Grit Lit, but his is nothing more than Charles Manson and Faulkner’s Idiot collaborating, attempting too make their insane worlds discernible to the sane.
    It did not work.
    McCarthy’s world is blood and death, an ocean of violence without justification or reason. It is a niche he has carved for himself; only one not acquainted with the darkness would think this book has any merit.
    Why anyone thinks this man is a great author is beyond me, it is nonsense; written by a man pursued by untold demons.
    “Edge” is a series of novels, somewhere over sixty at the moment, filled with blood
    mayhem and death, every novel has the same plot: Apparently, the author of the “Edge”
    Series ghostwrites for McCarthy.

  8. Old. I think you need to read more of his books before coming to that conclusion.

    McCarthy tends to write books that are set in hard times, that contain much suffering and immoral people. However, they’re much more than just violence and gratuity.

    They all address the human condition, and whether they focus on love or war, they always depict the struggle of life in the most poetic way.

    He includes many philosophical characters who voice their opinions of the world. He includes religious references which I wouldnt get had I not researched a bit.

    I think all of his books have made me think about things in a slightly different light, or ponder upon the themes he writes about. Isnt this the idea of art?

    Blood meridian is no different.

  9. First of all… someone needs to tell the historical side of the story told in Blood Meridian, and McCarthy tells it well. We need to be reminded that raging uncivilized brutality lurks right beneath our skins, all around us on the planet, and never a full generation away from a full on horrific resurgence.

    McCarthy’s is not a world of gratuitous violence, it is the real world, our world. How many people trace their ancestral trees and find scores of whores, murderers and weak willed hypocrites? No one, but that is the real truth of our history. When we hide it from ourselves we allow ourselves to feel like we are better than other people, perhaps other peoples who are going through similar dark times, saying that we could never slip to such obvious dark lows as that, we have found the truth of humanity and it is light and good and community and forgiveness.

    Even differentiation from others in a “good” way only eventually leads to lies, prejudice, fear and hate, and eventually a return to violence and the horror and circus of an emotionally disconnected society caught up in a fire storm of such raging hate that no man or even country can stop it before it kill and kills and rips apart until it is done.

    If at all possible, we as humanity NEED to be reminded of that truth. If not, we will repeat it sooner than later.

  10. Did not like this book at all. McCarthy uses stories to showcase his grasp of linguistics and pretty wording. He should use the linguistics to further the story.


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