I am rarely seen without my headphones on and my iPod clipped on my waist. I love my books.
Too disturbing... I listened to this because my daughter wanted a study partner. She had this as an assignment in college. I like mysteries. Because there was so much killing in this book, she thought that I would enjoy it. I was never so glad to finish a book in my life. Had I not promised to listen to it. I would not have mad it far!
It does forever change the way I think of the old West. This country was littered with faceless, nameless corpses who died in obscurity.
I am a reading omnivore. Classics, non-fiction, history, locavore, mysteries. I read it all.
First of all, let me say that I am an unabashed admirer of everything else I've read or listed to by Cormac McCarthy. This includes the Horses trilogy, No Country for Old Men and the Road. He is an almost singular literary beacon in these times. I admire his quality of prose, discriptive abilities, use of word and language structure to convey meaning beyond the words.
Blood Meridian, however, I found a mess of an early effort in his evolution. The key challenge for me was repetition. While lots of things happen (and I understand that McCarthy's focus is on spiritual rather than literal character development) the book seemed to lack a clear plot or any character development. Literature benefits when each event creates some change in plot or character. The endless repetitive brutal episodes in this book do not cause change. In sum they do but we as readers don't need 90% of them.\
Bottom line: I kept wondering why I was continuing to listen to this when nothing seemed to be happening, even when terrible things were happening every minute.
Stick to the later works.
I love me some audiobooks
I agree with the other reviewers who think of this author as a masterful writer and an artful conjurer of fantastic and disturbing stories. I also agree with the reviewer who states that this is a book that should be read rather than listened to. Unless you can stay with the story all the way through and not be interrupted or forced to listen to small bits over several weeks, then Maybe you can come away with a satisfying finish. I must admit I was lost half way through. I found it hard to keep track of where the characters were, where they were going and what it was they were supposed to be doing. Maybe it deserves another chance when I have lots of time to devote just to listening.
As a plug, if you like this sort of raw humanity, check out the book One Second After by William Forstchen. It will stir more than just your imagination.
Some kind of quality in the characters with which to identify
I usually love his work. This one got me not at all.
...if it only had a plot. The more audio books I listen to, the more it makes me wonder just how little it takes to get published.
This was a rambling mess - a series non-sensical violent scenes cobbled together with characters inexplicably changing personalities mid-stream.
This is a testament to violence for violences sake - no story, no plot, shallow characterizations and painfully stupid dialog.
"what about the gun?"
"Oh, this gun?"
"Yeah, that gun".
"I don't know"
"What do you mean you don't know?"
"I mean, I don't know."
Don't waste a credit on this one.
I initially purchased Blood Meridian in audio form and enjoyed it so much that I have since purchased and read a printed copy. There are few writers capable of using descriptive language as eloquently and with such dexterity as McCarthy, who is without a doubt among the most preeminent writers of our time. His masterful depiction of the setting evokes extremely vivid imagery of the desolate, unforgiving terrain and lifelike characters. After reading Blood Meridian the first time to absorb the story, I read through the book a second time, stopping to pay particular attention to certain phrases and rereading entire scenes in order to fully appreciate the use of language.
The Judge is absolutely one of the most fascinating characters I have come across. His "suzerain" speech is among the most poignant moments in the development of a character I have ever experienced, and one of a number of glimpses into the fundamental nature of this enigmatic, preternaturally intelligent individual.
Blood Meridian, like many Cormac McCarthy novels, will stay with you long after you put it down.
No question Cormac is tops with words. But I kept wanting to go back and re-listen, thinking I must have missed something, because I had no idea what the book was trying to convey. Does a theme of raw human brutality on the wild frontier have some transcendent purpose I am too thick-headed to apprehend? Apparently so. One good thing about this kind of audio is that if I ever run out of fresh things to listen to, I can always put this on and enjoy McCarthy's word craft. But if there was some "take away" in this, I missed it. Really liked The Road and will probably listen to No Country at some point cause I loved the movie. But then again, there are a number of highly acclaimed works that I have failed to "get."
though i'm not a fan of the chapter headings which are too "detailed" like old style victorian or pre-vic novels, the "in which our hero etc. etc etc." delineating all the vital plot points of the chapters, and i realize this is partially the style he's emulating, i would rather not have any surprises or suspense diluted, this is an excellent novel. think Moby Dick crossed with the Wild Bunch and written by Jerzy Kosinski and you may have a sense of the brutality and yet the philosophically poetic language which pops up. there is depth here to be pondered, but be prepared...
They say McCarthy's knowledge of history is excellent. If this book is an indication, our western history was really tough on those that went through it. This book is the most gruesome one I have encountered. Not as good as McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses, but well worth the entertaining listen.
I'll start off by saying that Cormac McCarthy is one of the most talented setter of scenes I've ever experienced. I feel that if he were to stick solely to poetry, I would like him more. Sadly, in reading Blood Meridian, this was not the case. I also enjoyed the way the author summed up each chapter in a McCammon manner, however, I feel that McCarthy was a little too straight forward about it, rather than trying to draw any complex foreshadowing.
About an hour into the book, I was reminded by a quote from a kids' movie I heard years ago: "Isn't it rather dangerous to use one's entire vocabulary in a single sentence?" But I immediately pushed this thought aside, assuming that perhaps I just wasn't on the author's level, linguistically speaking. That may very well be the case as to why this book was so difficult for me to connect with.
On another level, I read quite a bit, from those guilty pleasure young adult books to nightmarish horror novels but I consistently look for books that provide some sort of subtle foreshadowing that there is an end in sight. Personally, I love the thrill of connecting those tiny dots through the pages and conversation and upon completion, I can truly appreciate the story that has been painted by the author. Unfortunately, you never get to that point with McCarthy. Everything is simply happening in the moment. He does set you right into that scene, though sometimes in a long-winded fashion, but you never really get an insight into where this band of characters is going to end up.
One review that I read mentioned that if they were writing an eleventh grade book report, this book would be dripping in symbolism, and I 100% agree with that statement. If this were still high school, I could put on my best post modernistic facade and decisively tell you all who the Christ-like figure is, what the political views of the author were in relation to the decade that this novel was written, etc. But let's be honest, that's spreading the butter a little thin over the toast.
Additionally, the author makes it extremely hard to connect with any of his characters, whom he rarely calls by their names, if at all. This book feels like a vague, psychopathic dream, watching these violent events take place to these people that you feel absolutely nothing for. They are just things that were alive and now they're not, and then they ride on...
Cormac McCarthy also utilizes his rich, poetic vocabulary to describe the actions of these simple minded gunslingers. While some may appreciate the harsh contrast, it felt a little too much like God describing the actions of dust mites, making the void between actually getting into any of the characters' mindsets that much more difficult.
All in all, I feel as though I just spent thirteen hours reading the Bible set in the wild west, written in English and Spanish instead of Greek, Latin or Hebrew. Lots of violence for the sake of violence, meant to shock readers into thinking this was actually a complex story, when really, it was just a bleak, long-winded book about some unintelligent characters that you can't help but want to smack, take away their guns and send to bed without dinner until they learn to play nice.