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Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
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Blood Meridian (1985)

by Cormac McCarthy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,382149608 (4.21)236
  1. 90
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (dmsteyn)
    dmsteyn: Judge Holden's character was based on the monomaniacal Captain Ahab of Melville's novel.
  2. 60
    All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (sturlington)
  3. 10
    Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (GCPLreader)
    GCPLreader: contrast Blood Meridian to Cather's moving, more gentle tale of honorable wanderings of priests in new mexico in 1850's
  4. 01
    Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (WSB7)
    WSB7: Strong perspectival imagery overhanging(pursuing?)a doomed hero.
  5. 01
    The Life and Times of Captain N. by Douglas J. Glover (Sethgsamuel)
    Sethgsamuel: Shamelessly violent, very poetic and beautiful western.
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» See also 236 mentions

English (143)  Italian (4)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, is an emotionless husk of a narrative that is as pointless as it is plodding. Every character is depraved and soul-less and the story is told in a manner devoid of empathy or humanity of any kind. I had to force myself to finish it. There is very little dialogue, just a seemingly endless narrative in which a nameless young man in the mid 1800's joins a band of cut-throats who roam the SW territories of the U.S. looking for Indians to scalp.

The only impressive things about this book are the authentic historical setting against which the action takes place and the expansive vocabulary that McCarthy uses.

Many critics have decreed that this book is an American "classic" worthy of such literary luminaries as Faulkner and Melville. Since both Faulkner and Melville are every bit as difficult to read as McCarthy, I would agree. But I would then apply Twain's definition of the word classic as "a book that people praise and don't read." So, take my advice and don't read this book. If you want to read a great western, read the epic "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry, which was published in the same year as Blood Meridian, 1985. "Lonesome Dove" not only won the Pulitzer Prize, but was also made into a successful TV mini-series starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. ( )
  plwebster | Aug 12, 2014 |
Another reason to admire Cormac McCarthy. His minimalist prose style is effective here in providing us with a brutal story about American incursions into Mexico in the early 19th Century.

The novel follows "the kid," a run-away from Tennessee who finds himself in Texas, around the age of 15, being recruited to reconquer Mexico in the name of the United States. What follows is a string of incidents putting the kid under the charge of the Judge and Glanton, two men whose taste for killing knows no bounds.

Throughout the brutal story are philosophical discussions (usually by the Judge) about God, man, and the nature of good and evil.

McCarthy fans will love this book, and those who haven't read his work yet will find this to be an excellent example of some of the greatest prose to be written by a contemporary American author. ( )
  jpporter | Aug 10, 2014 |
Cormac McCarthy's best, pushing the limits of what literature can do all in service of telling the violence of the American West. ( )
  pilastr | Jul 31, 2014 |
Seemingly written only for the literary scholar, "Blood Meridian" is a delightfully gruesome and unglamorous interpretation of the Wild West, but may be too cerebral for most readers. ( )
  Birdo82 | Jul 26, 2014 |
A contender for Great American Novel. Gothic language and gallons of blood spill over the Southwest desert. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
This latest book is his most important, for it puts in perspective the Faulknerian language and unprovoked violence running through the previous works, which were often viewed as exercises in style or studies of evil. ''Blood Meridian'' makes it clear that all along Mr. McCarthy has asked us to witness evil not in order to understand it but to affirm its inexplicable reality; his elaborate language invents a world hinged between the real and surreal, jolting us out of complacency.
added by eereed | editNew York Times, Caryn James (Apr 28, 1985)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cormac McCarthyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montanari, RaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sivill, KaijamariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time.

-- Paul Valery
It is not to be thought that the life of darkness is sunk in misery and lost as if in sorrowing. There is no sorrowing. For sorrow is a thing that is swallowed up in death, and death and dying are the very life of the darkness.

-- Jacob Boehme
Clark, who led last year's expedition to the Afar region of northern Ethiopia, and UC Berkeley colleague Tim D. White, also said that a re-examination of a 300,000-year-old fossil skull found in the same region earlier shows evidence of having been scalped.

-- The Yuma Daily Sun, June 13, 1982
Dedication
The author wishes to thank the Lyndhurst Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He also wishes to express his appreciation to Albert Erskine, his editor of twenty years.
First words
See the child.
Quotations
It was a lone tree burning on the desert. A heraldic tree that the passing storm had left afire. The solitary pilgrim drawn up before it had traveled far to be here and he knelt in the hot sand and held his numbed hands out while all about in that circle attended companies of lesser auxiliaries routed forth into the inordinate day, small owls that crouched silently and stood from foot to foot and tarantulas and solpugas and vinegarroons and the vicious mygale spiders and beaded lizards with mouths black as a chowdog’s, deadly to man, and the little desert basilisks that jet blood from their eyes and the small sandvipers like seemly gods, silent and the same, in Jeda, in Babylon. A constellation of ignited eyes that edged the ring of light all bound in a precarious truce before this torch whose brightness had set back the stars in their sockets.
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.
A man's at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he dont want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it. You believe that?
Every man in the company claims to have encountered that sootysouled rascal in some other place.
But dont draw me, said Webster. For I dont want in your book.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679728759, Paperback)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:32 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Based on incidents that took place in the southwestern United States and Mexico around 1850, this novel chronicles the crimes of a band of desperados, with a particular focus on one, "the kid," a boy of fourteen.

» see all 6 descriptions

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