Unrelentingly bleak and beautifully written, in BLOOD MERIDIAN Cormac McCarthy plumbs the unlighted depths of humanity and finds no bottom. It contains, in the Judge, a character as profoundly nihilistic as I've come across in any literature. Joseph Conrad's Kurz, perhaps, would at least recognize the Judge as a kindred spirit; but the Judge would laugh at any notion of horror - or any emotion save amusement - being the proper response to psychopathology. The novel can be read as a metaphor for the consequences of manifest destiny; with the Judge representing the unstoppable, remorseless, and unrepentingly violent force of U.S. expansion, ceaselessly eliminating or absorbing all that stood in its way, even while uttering the soothing words of beneficial intent. Hard to read, harder to put down.
I've read and enjoyed immensely two other McCarthy novels, "All the Pretty Horses" and "The Road", so I was eager to try what some call his masterpiece, "Blood Meridian." After reading/listening to one-half of the book, I couldn't go on. The story is just one awful violent scene after another, with no indication of a saving grace. This book makes the bleak landscape and doomed world of "The Road" seem like a walk in the park. McCarthy uses odd and arcane vocabulary, which seems unnecessary, and frequently his lyrical descriptions of scenery made me think he was too infatuated with his own writing and not concerned enough with moving the narrative along.
I am a fan of McCarthy's of several years, however I've read his more recent books starting with All the Pretty Horses and the rest of the trilogy that ended with Cities of the Plain.
I went back to give this early book a listen and was just appalled.
I treasure his elegiac and poetic writing style. However in listening to this book, I realized that he had not learned to perfect and limit is use as he had in later books. At some points, I felt like simile and metaphor had lost their meaning as he piled them one on top of another for pages at a time. His later style is more spare.
Further, the brutality which is always present in his writings is much less controlled, and I found myself truly appalled at this tale of a wandering band of psychopaths. These scalp hunters are the main focus of the book. Brutal men always show up in McCarthy's work but usually these are there as a background for the moral development of the main characters. In this book they are the main characters.
I was very disappointed in Blood Meridian, other than as a way to trace the development of a great writer. Considering that it was written 25 years ago, it shows a writer of promise, but is certainly not up to the standard of his later works.
Lastly, I can never decide if Cormac McCarthy really loves Mexico or really hates Mexico. He depicts such scenes of vile brutality and ignorance in that country that it makes one pause at the border station. I've been to Mexico dozens of times in the border areas he depicts and he is usually on my mind while I'm there.
Blood Meridian is almost intolerably violent, set between 1849 and 1878 in the Southwest, Mexico, Texas, and California. The description of the country, the indians, the towns, the bands of private armies hired to kill the indians is fascinating, but the gore is repulsive. Several of the main characters, the Judge, the Kid, the ex-priest make the book significant. We are left to puzzle out who the Judge is, while we listen to his understanding of the world and mankind in general. I must read the author's "No Country for Old Men," which was recently made into a movie. I have already read "All the Pretty Horses," which was also made into a movie. No chance that "Blood Meridian" will be made into a movie, in my opinion.
It was a real struggle to get through this book. The author spends so much time adding adverbs, adjectives and over-flowery descriptions that it made the story hard to follow. And there wasn't much of a story or a point to the whole book. Now I will say some of the descriptions of the battles and death scenes were vivid and raw but that is about the best thing I can say about it.
Either this book was really bad or I am missing something. Started out strong but I never made it past the half-way mark. This seemed like a campfire story where the teller accelerated his drinking as he went on and forgot what he was talking about.
His other books are fantastic, stick with those.
This is a talented writer when it comes to conveying graphic scenes of gore and meaningless violence. So much for anything positive. The narration drones on and on and on... through the vastness of the dry deserts of Mexico and western US. Our blood thirsty heroes busy themselves wiping out various villages and towns that happen to be in the way. If you like coagulating blood, congealing like thick pudding on the dirt floor of the little church, and hacking off body parts just for the pure sickness of it all, this book is for you. I'm more familiar with, and partial to plots and a reasonable line of logic.
I bought this one on sale,($4.95) so I'm not too concerned about that, but how do I recoup my wasted time?
Dont waste your money or credits on this aweful excuse for a story. I couldnt even finish listening to it.
This book is a waste of time and paper. The story has no characters with any redeeming social qualities. All the so called history is suspect. To top it off the narrator has a dry throat or swallows with a gulp at every period.