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Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the…

Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West (1985)

by Cormac McCarthy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,713161556 (4.2)267
  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.
1980s (11)

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» See also 267 mentions

English (148)  Italian (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (159)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
In my arrogance as a writer, I feel that I can mimic the styles and structures of a great many of my favorite authors. There is one exception: McCarthy, because he stands head and shoulders above the rest of his contemporaries. It is not hyperbolic to say that the last of his equals probably died more than a half century ago. This book left me astonished by the skill of his prose, horrified at the overwhelming and brutal violence, bewildered at his thesaurus-busting metaphors, amazed at his attention to detail - the contours of a ray of light, the sand in the fold of a garment, stupored during the day as I obsessed over the book in my mind, delighted over his neo-compound words, gasping at the concretely built character personalities and arcs, and amazed at the heaviness and weariness of it all. This is going to haunt me for a long time, and it's going to improve my writing, but it's an awfully high bar to reach, and there are few in history who have reached that high. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West. Cormac McCarthy. 1985. Vile, evil, depraved, violent, crazy, funny are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of this book. If Picasso had painted “Guernica” in red, orange, and black it would almost be an artistic representation of this book. I have never read anything like it! It was exhausting to read. And it is based on fact! A teenage boy joins the Glanton gang, a group of scalp hunters who roamed the west hunting Indians to scalp; eventually they scalped, violated or murdered any person or animal they came across, and eventually they are all murdered except The Boy and the Judge. The final meeting of the Boy and the judge concludes the book. It has been compared to Moby Dick and is on several “best” or “greatest” book lists. I am glad I read it and embarrassed that I found the grotesque violence funny at times. I may actually read Moby Dick ( )
  judithrs | May 7, 2015 |
Blood Meridian starts off as one of the most promising novels I've had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. The detail is beautiful, the language is stupefying, and you feel as though you are in for a pleasurable read. However, this begins to unravel as you read on; the pages quickly becoming too tedious to read.
While the language is beautiful, the grammar is horribly done. It seems purposeful, but commas are non-existent and you have to read VERY carefully to not get lost in the story. While it's interesting in the beginning, after a while, analyzing every word becomes more of a job rather than just reading for fun. Another giant problem is that 2/3rds of the novel are just descriptions of the settings and characters, and these descriptions are painfully boring to read. The interactions between characters and action scenes are written beautifully but the 2/3rds that are dedicated to settings drag on, and quickly become an annoyance.
All of the character's mysteriousness is also a rather lazy characterization style. None are well written, except possibly The Judge. I didn't care about any characters, and I understand they are evil bastards, but I also didn't care about what they do or will do. The protagonists switch between The Kid, The Judge, and Glanton, and you grow to care about none of them.
The actions scenes were interesting for the first two battles, but after a while it all becomes the same stuff. One side wins, the other rides away quickly, one side chases the other down and kills them. Like I said, it was interesting at first, but quickly grows boring. The city scenes are also repetitive and dull, and I don't know if these are supposed to represent the repetition of war but this story really bored me. The repetition of the results of the battles may be due to the Judges demon-like characterization, but it still feels empty and boring.
There is no story within the novel, which I normally don't mind, but with nothing else to make this novel feel worth the read, I wished there was a story to maintain my interest.
I feel guilty for not liking this novel because everyone loves it, and I started out loving it also, but now I just feel disappointed that I got bored. ( )
  Vlady | Mar 10, 2015 |
This is the second novel by McCarthy that I've read after having read The Road a few years ago. I love McCarthy's characteristic "simple" writing style. His words and descriptions flow easily, he uses great imagery and metaphors and even the dialogue is done well in it's unadorned quote-less structure. Blood Meridian is a terribly violent and interesting novel. Simply put, I wasn't ready for it. I realize that much of the nuances and allusions made in the novel go beyond me and it wasn't until watching some videos and reading discourses on the novel afterwards I now realize how much I didn't understand. That said, I still enjoyed the novel very much. Judge Holden is a superb character. The environment just comes through the story so well that you feel you're right there with the characters. The "hero" doesn't take the focus of the reader's attention and sometime you forget he's actually there. This book begs for a re-read without question as well. Would definitely recommend this book to others. ( )
  briandarvell | Feb 13, 2015 |
Review: This is a novel of the American West, the true story not the romantic story. In the style of McCarthy, it is violent and sparse, Biblical tone and in the style of no punctuation that McCarthy is known. It follows the Kid who leaves home at 14 and joins up with a gang that is murdering Indians for their scalps. It is based on the historical events that took place in 1850s along the Texas-Mexico border. I asked myself, can this really be true or did the author use poetical license so he could sell books. This is what wiki has to say… “McCarthy conducted considerable research to write the book. Critics have repeatedly demonstrated that even brief and seemingly inconsequential passages of Blood Meridian rely on historical evidence. The Glanton gang segments are based on Samuel Chamberlain's account of the group in his memoir My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue, which he wrote during the latter part of his life. Chamberlain rode with John Joel Glanton and his company between 1849 and 1850. The novel's antagonist Judge Holden appeared in Chamberlain's account, but his true identity remains a mystery. Chamberlain does not openly appear in the novel.”

Themes: Man is violent, the war like nature of man. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (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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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
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.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:18 -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.

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