©1985 Cormac McCarthy; (P)2007 Recorded Books
“The authentic American apocalyptic novel…I venture that no other living American novelist, not even Pynchon, has given us a book as strong and memorable as Blood Meridian.” (Harold Bloom)
"McCarthy is a writer to be read, to be admired, and quite honestly envied." (Ralph Ellison)
"McCarthy is a born narrator, and his writing has, line by line, the stab of actuality. He is here to stay." (Robert Penn Warren)
I haven't read a book that I highlighted and wrote in the margins more than this one. In the end, the failure of the kid is heart wrenching.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
"Blood Meridian" paints a picture of the southwestern plains when Americans fought Mexicans for territory, scalped Indians for reward, and labeled human’ slavery and slaughter as a principle of American’ expansion. Cormac McCarthy writes an American story of the 1830s to 1850s. His two main characters exemplify darkness in humankind. “The kid” is a dirt poor runaway from an abusive family that eventually joins a band of scalp hunters. The soul of the gang is a man named Judge Holden; most often referred to as the Judge.
"Blood Meridian" is a disturbing view of human nature. The kid participates in the carnage of the scalpers; not because he believes in the Judge’s view of the world but because he is free to do what he wants. The Judge believes the meaning of life is in war. The kid believes the meaning of life is in freedom; both beliefs result in human’ slaughter.
One is left with a question when finished with McCarthy’s tale. Is "Blood Meridian" a judgment of the times or of humankind?
I'll be frank right up front: I loved this book. It's McCarthy has such a seemingly effortless ability to render forth horrific and beautiful descriptions of everything from sunrises to Indian attacks that it's enough to make one weep with envy.
McCarthy certainly gives the lie to the nostalgic romanticizing of the Old West enshrined in American culture; these cowboys 'n Indians aren't film-stock black hats/white hats (as it were), but each as brutal, kill-happy, and merciless as the other. Entire massacres are committed and described by McCarthy as almost trivial, mundane, routine matters; and the blood drips from literally every page. The grue and gore isn't exploitative in the slightest, however, as many other books containing graphic violence are charged with; the combination of McCarthy's palpably sensuous prose and his obvious knowledge of his subject serve not to titillate, but to simply tell a story.
Overall: A deep, searing story where the bad may overtake the good, but the writing style is the gold of this book. This book will stick with you for a long time...
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I think I liked it, but it was so horrible, all the time. Many times, I'm a bit saddened when a good book is finished. Not this one, it was like having a rotten tough pulled; for days.
This being my first McCarthy book, it caught me somewhat off guard. I won't rehash the storyline here, but I will say that it is a journey through a landscape and time told in vivid detail, through a series of events that are vicious and relentless. Its descriptions of the southwestern landscapes are breathtaking. The accounts of events are masterfully told. The brutality of it all is not for the feint of heart. If you think you've heard stories about roving bandits in the Wild West, this book will offer a whole new perspective.
I would just add that the narration is excellent and effectively buttresses the story. Poe speaks with a cadence that brings the text to life and almost lets you chew on each sentence.
This is Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece. Having said that, the you must prepare yourself for the violence. If there ever was a parable for the constant state of war in which mankind finds itself in, this is it. The characters and episodes border on the edge of realism / surrealism. If you are a fan of McCarthy because of the "The Rosd", this book is a must read, as it lays the foundation of his world view.
Blood Meridian is a difficult read under the best of circumstances. Richard Poe's reading captures the spirit of the novel and helps the listener get past the technical jargon that McCarthy uses so well. I had read the novel many years ago and find that it is best not to worry too much about McCarthy's dense language.
A tough listen, but worth the effort.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend who has the time to stop and define the various geological formations, challenging diction and Spanish dialogue. If not, this is a challenging text to follow at times.
The story itself is sometimes lost to the detail being provided. If you're looking for a fast paced, action packed, suspenseful novel, I would not recommend this text.
This one is a ponderous, soul wrenching, thinker!
The stunning imagery created by McCarthy floats into my head whenever I look over my own prairie landscape. He spends a lot of time and effort creating the reality of the text for the reader, crafting the mood for each scene. This imagery does, however, at times take away from the pace of the story.
The Judge is a fantastic and haunting character. Richard Poe does an excellent job with all of the dialogue in the text, but the Judge is the most memorable. This is the best read audiobook I've experienced.
The text can be quite confusing at times if you don't have knowledge of a) Spanish b) a wide range of specific geological terms c) civil war & post civil war era terminology. The overall reaction I experienced was often shock and disgust. It is a very dark story, from beginning to end. The reader can't help but let their sight flicker inwards now and again.
Very well written novel but very challenging to fully grasp as an audiobook because of its difficulty.
The author portrays a world of meaningless violent actions and unknown victims. One reading is not enough to hear the words. This book must be witnessed and discussed with other to find any meaning beyond the tail itself.
It felt as if every line was written to be meaningful, and the narrator read it with that emphasis. Unfortunately, this made the pace painfully slow and everything (meaningful or not) blended together. I often drifted off and lost entire sections.
This is my fourth Cormac McCarthy book. I've forced myself through all but The Road. I won't bother again.
Faster paced narration.
McCarthy spends a great deal of time describing scenery, clothing, etc. Some authors use this to bring flavors into the text. He uses it to put the reader to sleep.
Seriously? I should get an award for finishing this book.
Absolutely. The performance alone is worth the listen. Combine this with the lyrical loveliness and awfulness of McCarthy's best work in my opinion and you've got a narrative experience second to none.
The Comanche raid.
His voice and his timing were perfect for McCarthy's work.
I wouldn't dare.
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