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Publisher's Summary

Author of the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most provocative American stylists to emerge in the last century. The striking novel Blood Meridian offers an unflinching narrative of the brutality that accompanied the push west on the 1850s Texas frontier.
©1985 Cormac McCarthy (P)2007 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 03-09-14

Not for Me - Know Yourself

This allegorical story is a mind quest and the descriptions of the land are amazing, but they compromise 30% of the book. The rest is blood and guts. Not enough in my book to qualify it for the literary praise it gets. No thanks. If you are like me, you might stay away, too. Otherwise, if you like blood and guts, there are some really amazing thoughts and speeches in the book, you should probably go for it and enter the frey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 01-24-14

What more can be said?

Every list I examine of Best Books of the 20th century, Scariest Books, and Best American Books have Blood Meridian on them. And the book deserves each accolade. The word dystopian barely describes the desolate and baseless landscape these characters inhabit. It will thrill you, terrify you, excite you, and oftentimes depresses you, but you will never be bored.

This is the novel of a hired band of mercenaries who head into the southern states and through Mexico, hunting the native Indians. The land is lawless and without any moral code to speak of. Our main character is a nameless kid who has been on his own since his early teenage years. He strikes up with the band and survives amidst the chaos and depravity.

You haven't read any other book like this and it's time you did. The plot is unreal, the characters strange, and the narration is dead on - if you'll pardon the pun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Courtney
  • Carlsbad, CA, United States
  • 11-26-13

Turn back now.

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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MCarthy doesn't score with this one

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who likes blood and guts.

What could Cormac McCarthy have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It didn't have the suspense or the character development of "No Country for Old Men."

How could the performance have been better?

I found it lackluster and dull. I felt like he was reading a text book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some interesting characters.

Any additional comments?

Very disappointing. I loved "No Country for Old Men," but thought this one was just gratuitous violence.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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could listen to it again and again

Would you listen to Blood Meridian again? Why?

yes, so much that my wandering mind possibly missed

What did you like best about this story?

historical fiction is my favorite. the setting in the southwest is familiar

Which scene was your favorite?

not sure that there is a favorite. will listen again. and again. and again...

Who was the most memorable character of Blood Meridian and why?

the judge at the end and the kids friend that is missing ears

Any additional comments?

cormac mccarthy has an interesting technique. both books that ive listened to have had the same effect regardless of the difference of the narrators. both narrators did an excellent job.. both stories moved quickly. enough that i know that i would find plenty in a second and even third listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ivan
  • United States
  • 03-08-13

Brutal anti-Western; not for the faint-hearted

What made the experience of listening to Blood Meridian the most enjoyable?

The dry almost biblical narration of vivid scenes of senseless cruelty; expostulations on the nature of violence and the underlying brutality of human nature.

What did you like best about this story?

A bleak, and, I think, a more realistic and unromanticized view of the brutality of frontier life.

Which scene was your favorite?

Any scene where Judge Holden gets philosophical.

If you could take any character from Blood Meridian out to dinner, who would it be and why?

They are all blood-thirsty psychopaths, even the best of them. Why would anyone want to seek their company?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Hobbesian natural condition of mankind

If you could sum up Blood Meridian in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant, poetic, violent.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blood Meridian?

"The kid" and the expriest hide in the rocks, hoping to not be discovered by the monsterously brutal Judge Holden who has been trailing them. "The kid" has not one, but two opportunities to surprise and kill Judge Holden. It is the only point in the novel when I wanted a character to commit an act of violence. Despite the urgings of the expriest Tobin, "the kid'" passes on both opportunities. He lives to regret it.

What does Richard Poe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Richard Poe's narration is, as always, outstanding. I can imagine myself giving up on a challenging book like this without a great narrator to pull me along.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. As much as I admire Cormac McCarthy's brilliant, powerful and often lyrical prose, I needed occasional breaks from the unending depictions of violence and brutality.

Any additional comments?

I have ambivalent feelings about this novel. The writing itself is brilliant. For that alone, the book merits five stars. However, this is, after all, a fairly nasty story about a marauding band of white scalphunters killing and taking scalps throughout northern Mexico and the southwest United States circa 1849.

I struggled at times to find a point to these depictions of violence, If the point is simply to deromantisize the Old West, it is, pardon me, overkill. However, I think that McCarthy may have had something bigger in mind, At one point in the novel, the despicable Judge Holden disapprovingly tells the other scalphunters the following: "Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak." I suppose that McCarthy's point is that without the rule of law, we would find ourselves in what Thomas Hobbes referred to as the 'natural condition of mankind' where it's every man for himself without regard to others. Maybe I need to reread Hobbes' Leviathon in order to better appreciate the themes of Blood Meridian.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lawrence
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 01-11-13

Watch Out

I stayed with this through part 1. I did so out of fascination. I wondered all along if there could be a redeeming facet in the story. Maybe there is, but I could not stomach any more of it. It is fit for only those with an insatiable appetite for unbearable cruelty. The author clearly knows how to write and knows the land of Mexico and Texas, but that is as far as I could go. Don't blame this on the reader. He's fine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Bloodthirsty - but maybe just for the sake of it

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It could have been shorter without detracting from the story. I get the impression that liek many of today's film directors, the author had a good idea and interesting characters but no idea where to go with it or how to end it.

Which character – as performed by Richard Poe – was your favorite?

Individuals don't stand out as much as the overall high quality of the reading and the depth it imparted to the characters.

Was Blood Meridian worth the listening time?

Marginally. Much like the characters, it wandered about a lot, sometime with little apparent purpose in terms of readability or plot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing

I have been enjoying Audible books since 2002 and have rarely abandoned a novel. After enjoying No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses, I expected much more from this book. I have been spoiled by James Lee Burke, Scott Turow, Ken Follett and others, whose descriptions are clear and complete so I can visualize the action.

But in Blood Meridian, description is vague and dreamlike, reminding me of Franz Kafka's stories. I abandoned this book after an hour or so. There are so many books and so little time....

William Waltrip

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron
  • 12-11-16

sound too low.

sound too low.

for some reason a review needs 20 words in the app, really.

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  • Paul McAviney
  • 12-10-16

Sometimes he wandered off on nonsense talk

I enjoyed the overall story and I enjoyed the many little pieces of history that told me how violent and inhuman the whites could also be during that terrible time. Sometimes we forget that.

However at times the author went off on very long raving pieces from the thoughts of the Judge and they just didn't make any sense to me at all. I even tried replaying and understanding but still a lot of it seemed gibberish to me.

Maybe I'm stupid or maybe he ruined a good storybook.

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  • Ben
  • 12-08-16

Amazing

Best Mcarthy novel. Best American novelist alive today. The violence might be too much for some, but it's an accurate reflection of the times. Brilliant.

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  • Sam
  • 11-02-16

Beautifully haunting.

There isn't always a happy ending. We have all been The Kid, and we have all seen The Judge.

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  • Brian Larkin
  • 08-12-16

Uneasy masterpiece

This is probably one of my favourite books ever. I was shocked but engrossed when I read it and now I have actually heard it in my head I find it even more disturbing. But brilliant nonetheless.

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  • Adam O'Connor
  • 05-19-16

He says He cannot die!

This book is beyond words. One of the greatest books ever.
Buy it right now

The narrator truly was amazing.

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  • philip cadiz
  • 04-16-15

Excellent reading of an incredible novel

If you could sum up Blood Meridian in three words, what would they be?

violent, poetic, philosophical

Any additional comments?

a straightforward, not unncessarily dramatic reading of an awesome work of art

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  • Aeraphos
  • 04-04-15

The Old West was a violent and lawless place

I'm not a big fan of Old Western's, but I can see why this book has received so much praise. Listening to this book will transport you to a hostile world of violence, harsh weather, and men who spit on the ground a lot. The author's voice is perfect for this kind of story, I can't imagine a better narrator for a Western.

I struggled with Cormac McCarthy's writing style when reading The Road. However, listening to his unique writing style as an audiobook in Blood Meridian gave me a much better experience as the prose works better when spoken aloud, in my opinion. For this reason, if you're debating whether or not to buy this an an audiobook or an e-book/paperback, get the audiobook.

There were parts in the middle of the story that I felt dragged on for a little too long. Sometimes a few pages worth of words would be narrated and I would realize I'd not taken in a single thing and I would be confused about what had happened, forcing me to either continue listening or rewind. I think this is partly because Old Western's are not really my thing, but also because the sometimes meandering middle chapters made my mind drift away at times.

Despite my occasional struggles to maintain my focus on the story, I think this is a very well written and narrated novel which does the setting and the theme justice. An excellent book for fans of Old Western literature.

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  • David
  • 01-21-15

Outstanding!

Any additional comments?

Poe's gruff rattling tones lazily yet clearly enunciate each of McCarthy's carefully selected words, to describe both tremendous beauty and terrible violence which equal lucidity.

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  • Kenton
  • 07-11-14

Brutal

If you could sum up Blood Meridian in three words, what would they be?

Dark, Bloody, Violent.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blood Meridian?

Its not a specific moment, it happens over the course of a few chapters, but its when the judge turns up the scary to 11 and you arn't sure if he's actually the devil or just really really bad.

What does Richard Poe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He rocks, perfect tone and accent, you can feel the trail dust and heat.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are a lot of moments when I found myself thinking 'oh please no, don't' and Mr McCarthy goes right ahead and does it. lots an lots of times. There's a feeling of inevitability to The Kid's story, its moving but in a bleak way.