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Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West (Modern Library) Hardcover – January 2, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (January 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679641041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679641049
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (826 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The men as they rode turned black in the sun from the blood on their clothes and their faces and then paled slowly in the rising dust until they assumed once more the color of the land through which they passed." If what we call "horror" can be seen as including any literature that has dark, horrific subject matter, then Blood Meridian is, in this reviewer's estimation, the best horror novel ever written. It's a perverse, picaresque Western about bounty hunters for Indian scalps near the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s--a ragged caravan of indiscriminate killers led by an unforgettable human monster called "The Judge." Imagine the imagery of Sam Peckinpah and Heironymus Bosch as written by William Faulkner, and you'll have just an inkling of this novel's power. From the opening scenes about a 14-year-old Tennessee boy who joins the band of hunters to the extraordinary, mythic ending, this is an American classic about extreme violence. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"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

More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a traveling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published by Random House in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published by Knopf in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, Knopf released the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing; the third volume, Cities of the Plain, was published in 1998.McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago and published in paperback by Vintage Books. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Photo © Derek Shapton

Customer Reviews

Cormac McCarthy writing style is brilliant.
Tom Z
The punctuation, diction and themes of violence and desolation are very much here, however McCarthy's writing style is quite different.
Andrij W. Zip
I kept putting this book down, but had to pick it right back up to be sure I'd just read what I'd read.
Chuck Insprucker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

367 of 388 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kettle on October 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Blood Meridian

by Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, is the most overwhelming novel I've read for years. I came late to it in two senses. It's almost 20 years since it was published in 1985, and it is late in my own reading life, because I'm 63. I read it on holiday. Not a comfortable choice, and certainly not the best thing to relax with on a sunlounger, while supping a drink with a hat on. But Blood Meridian is, at the risk of sounding pretentious, on a par with Faulkner's 'As I Lay Dying' or Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot' or even that most astounding work of all, 'King Lear'. High claims, but give it a try.

You might well have to try it more than once, because it is very strong, and at times even rancid, meat. But a lot of people, after they've closed the book, might find they can't read another novel for a while.

I finished the book, and picked up another. But the pages were slipping by and all my head could think on was Blood Meridian. So I did something I very rarely do. I put the other novel down and turned back to Blood Meridian, and read it again. It's a hell of a book. And I'm not speaking particularly metaphorically. It tells us more about the human condition than most other respectable works we laud so much. Blood Meridian is original, disturbing, heretical, challenging, difficult, and awe inspiring. Just like King Lear.

Here endeth my rant.
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287 of 315 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read all of Cormac McCarthy's earlier books set in Tennessee, such as "The Orchard Keeper" and "The Outer Dark" and I've read his "Border Trilogy" which contained the wonderful, "All the Pretty Horses." Nothing, however, that this wonderful author has written can prepare the reader for the sheer brutality and the sheer lyricism of "Blood Meridian."
The Old West portrayed in "Blood Meridian" is not the Old West of Zane Grey or even of Larry McMurtry. Images of the most horrific abound in "Blood Meridian," (charred human bones, blood-soaked scalps, a tree hung with the bodies of dead infants), all rendered in McCarthy's gorgeously lyrical writing.
As far as I'm concerned, "Blood Meridian" is McCarthy's best book, by far. It doesn't have the "feel good" qualities sometimes found in "All the Pretty Horses" but I didn't expect it to. "Blood Meridian" is the book in which McCarthy makes crystal clear the one theme that runs through all of his writing: the undeniable presence of evil in the world. The fact that he writes about this evil in language so lyrical and so elaborately beautiful only intensifies the horror of it all. We feel as though we have left the real world behind and entered into some surreal place from which no escape is possible.
"Blood Meridian," which takes place in 1847, is loosely based on actual events and is the story of a fourteen boy, known only as "the Kid." Drifting through the American Southwest, the Kid joins a disparate and bloodthirsty band of Indian-hunters-for-hire led by a mysterious and learned man called, Judge Holden.
It is after the Kid joins Judge Holden and his band that McCarthy really hits his stride. Juxtaposed next to descriptions of the most horrific and grotesque are images of the most sublime beauty.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Jacob G Corbin on October 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
his was one of those things where I'd heard about the book, in bits and pieces, for years: namechecked by William Gibson in Virtual Light and by Garth Ennis in Preacher, yapped about by online friends, and requested every so often by customers at the bookstore where I once worked. You know how this kind of thing goes: after a while, all these name-droppings have a cumulative impact, flipping a little switch in your brain one day and sending you off in search of the item in question. So that's how I came to Blood Meridian - knowing the book by its notorious reputation alone and little else. Having finally finished it, I can say that its notoriety is richly deserved, but that's hardly the whole story.

The premise could be described for the ADD among you as Huckleberry Finn meets Natural Born Killers, which hardly sounds flattering, I'm sure, but bear with me. The story opens on the peregrinations of the Kid, a vicious, knife-fighting fourteen-year-old runaway from Tennessee who in 1848 drifts down the Mississippi first to New Orleans and thence to Texas, where he falls in with a rogue Army unit making a piratical raid into Mexico. After Apaches wipe out the unit in the Sonora desert, the Kid lands in a Mexican jail, where he meets and is recruited by a group of bounty hunters retained by the government to collect Indian scalps as retaliation for a string of Apache massacres in remote border villages.

Here is where the story really begins.
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231 of 261 people found the following review helpful By Bruddy Dahl on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recently saw Harold Bloom, the famous literary scholar from Yale, on a television show where he stated that Blood Meridian was the greatest work of any contemporary American author. I agree. First, you have the prose style, which is so controlled and crafted and at the same time flows so naturally that it must have taken years to develop. It reminded me of the bible: hypnotic, enigmatic, ancient and at the same time, familiar. I kept thinking of the ocean when I was reading it because of the vastness of the landscape he describes. It seems as if the characters are on a journey, but they're not, unless they're circling further and further down into hell.

I think the familiarity of the novel comes from it's relation to violence from a Christian standpoint. There's no doubt that McCarthy intends to have us react to this book from a moral perspective and yet at the same time be fascinated with it's violence. The setting, the wild wicked west, is a part of the American psyche that still takes forms today in our action films and tv shows that feed our hunger for blood and murder. By taking us back to our roots, stripping away the restraints of our Judeo-Christian values, MCCarthy steeps the story of death and evil in biblical prose and washes it with blood so that we see our dark selves reflected in all our ugliness.

I compare this work to the works of the great Russian novelists ,Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, who always went for the big questions, What is life?, Who is God?, What is morality? and the American Moby Dick which encapsulated a universe. When you read books like these a lot of what appears on the bestseller lists seems so meaningless.

This is a book you simply stand in awe of if you're a writer or ever thought of being one.
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