Blood Meridian is a fitting title for Cormac McCarthy’s brutal anti-western. The book is heavy with blood, thick streams of the arterial liquid pooling and coagulating at its dark heart. McCarthy wields words like a surgeon’s blade, finding spare beauty in unforgiving landscapes lit by blue flashes of lightning or unforgiving men unleashing violence for the promise of a handful of coins.
Based in historical fact, the cowboys and Indians of Blood Meridian aren’t noble warriors but rather savages who slaughter innocent villagers and return their scalps to their kinfolk for gold. The novel observes their actions without attempting to find reason or justification behind their cruelty. Combined with McCarthy’s distaste for punctuation and a refusal to waste words, it makes for difficult bedtime reading.
At the centre of this grim tale stands Judge Holden, an icon of modern literature. An immense man in spirit and in flesh, he espouses twisted, poetic pseudo-philosophies; records the flora and fauna he encounters; and conducts a maelstrom of violence around him. He is first introduced turning a town against a priest for his own amusement, polluting something sacred with doubt and bloodshed. And so it goes, innocence corrupted by the inescapability of war.
13 thoughts on “Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy”
I haven’t read anything by McCarthy yet, but I’ll look into this one.
I probably wouldn’t make this one my first McCarthy; my favourite of his is “The Road,” but I’d probably recommend “No Country for Old Men” to a cinephile newbie, it’s a good intro to his spare but beautiful prose.
Alright. Consider No Country the first I’ll read. Thanks for the recommendation.
I really love McCarthy! I think I might pick up this one next, sounds like a phenomenal read. Awesome job, bud :).
Thanks man. A great read but a long way from an easy read.
McCarthy is certainly a man’s man author. I liked much ‘All the Pretty Horses’, and loved the film ‘No Country for Old Men’ but missed reading the book as well as ‘The Road’. I need to go back to him. Right now I’m on a Margaret Atwood kick. Say–I would really like it if you visited my blog. See what you think of this, if you have time. Cheers
Yeah his books are very much about grit and blood and masculinity. Reading your post now!
Blood Meridian is really good. Brutal and messed up, but good. Like you, The Road is definitely my top McCarthy choice though. Finished that book on a bus and had chills the rest of the ride home.
Yeah, I think “The Road” is …maybe? ..my favourite book of all time. It’s certainly up there.
I’ve read McCarthy’s more well known novels, The Road and No Country for Old Men are amazing and I’m currently starting on All the Pretty Horses. I’ve heard repeatedly that Blood Meridian is meant to be his masterpiece. Def. need to check it out!
Yeah I’ve read those 2 and the first 2 of his Border trilogy. Let me know if All the Pretty Horses is worth checking out once you get into it!
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