- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (May 5, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679728759
- ISBN-13: 978-0679728757
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,652 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Paperback – May 5, 1992
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"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.
"McCarthy is a writer to be read, to be admired, and quite honestly—envied."
"McCarthy is a born narrator, and his writing has, line by line, the stab of actuality. He is here to stay."
—Robert Penn Warren
From the Hardcover edition.
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I can tell you that I don't like his stuff for the same reasons as anyone else. I'm not going to sit and read it for the same reason I would read a non-fiction narrative or something. Life is short and you can't always devote hours of your time slogging through such a vivid record of one characters life, only to find no meaning at the end. But sometimes I want to, and I have to applaud McCarthy on being one of the only people who can open that door in the world of literature.
The level of detail he puts in describing the violence is the same amount of detail he puts in describing the scenery. And the weather. Be prepared for paragraph or page long sentences shoving every metaphor, simile, and arcane noun imaginable in a attempt to describe the sway of the trees. Or the color of the sunset. In the end u have the clearest vision possible of the setting, but at the cost of a story that appears to go nowhere. The world of Blood Meridian is a character unto itself and it is treated as such. These page long tangents wear their welcome pretty fast in the story and never really let up. Expect to spend at least 30%-40% of your time reading blood meridian learning about the sky and the foliage.
My second complaint with this book comes from the missed opportunities of intrapersonal drama amongst the characters. So many of the personalities are literally begging to be fleshed out, but ultimately amount to canon fodder or caricatures. Everyone except for The Judge. Even the main character is pretty dry with the exception of a few key moments. In this gang of murderers, thieves, and rapists; u have the potential to truly explore the minds of the villians of society. Truly see how the down trodden rise, thrive, and justify this abhorrent behavior. U have a character named Black Jackson that should bring a different perspective on the events of the story, but ultimately just serves to give the others in the gang an excuse to use racial epithets. You have a genuine psychopath who serves as the leader, an expriest who never delves into his lost faith, 3 native Americans that are traveling with a group being paid to kill native mexicans, a murderer with a strict code, another muderer that travels with a necklace made of human ears, and a 16yo child that is supposed to be the main character but serves as little more than a blank slate. None of these characters get the shine they deserve. Instead they serve as instruments of violence, cannon fodder, or talking boards for the judge to spout his views of the world.
This misuse of a potentially brilliant cast is the reason why this book is so frustrating. McCarthy sacrificed an entire cast of characters in order to uplift The Judge and the scenery. If u are okay with that, than i encourage u to read Blood Meridian. But, if u are someone that values the interplay amongst an assortment of personalities and truly craves well written drama, approach this book with caution.