Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
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Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  50,307 ratings  ·  5,155 reviews
An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nig...more
Paperback, 337 pages
Published May 1992 by Vintage Books (first published 1985)
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Hamish
The man finished the book. He closed the pages tightly together then put one foot on the floor then the other then used his hands to push himself up out of the chair and then put one foot in front of the other until he had walked all the way to the book shelf and then put the book on the book shelf. The deer walked in. The man whirled around and fired once with his pistol and the brains of the deer went flying out the back of its head and painted the wall a color dark red like blood. The man sat...more
Josh
Oct 22, 2011 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NOT the faint of heart
Shelves: blood-meridian
Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is unquestionably the most violent novel I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the best.

For those who would consider that a turn-off, I offer this caveat:
For the overwhelming majority of fiction that involves a lot of violence, the violence itself is an act of masturbation representing either the author’s dark impulse or, perhaps worse, pandering to the reader’s similar revenge fantasies (this might explain why the majority of Blood Meridian fans I know personally are...more
Stephen
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Spilled...emptied...wrung outsoul-ripped...that pretty accurately sums up my emotional composition after finishing this singular work of art. Ironically, I’m sure I only absorbed about 10% of the “message” McCarthy was conveying in this epic exposition on war, violence and man’s affinity for both. Still, even with my imperfect comprehension, I was shaken enough by the experience that, though I finished the book days ago, I’m just now at the point where I can revisit the jumble in my head enoug...more
Eric
Sep 17, 2007 Eric rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want to believe in the inherent evil of mankind
Shelves: literature
There are two ways to evaluate a book, as far as my unlearned mind can concoct at the moment. Stylish literary flourishes sometimes cloud our judgment when it comes to evaluating the plot itself, which is, after all, the reason why the book exists.

This book is well written. If I'm a 11th grader, and I need to do a book report, I'm drooling over the blatant symbolism dripping from each page. The scene is set admirably, though the repetitive nature of our brave hero's wanderings (at least it's wit...more
·Karen·
This is Jane Austen antimatter.

Trying to convey how this was so different to anything I've ever read, it occurred to me that it was like a huge black vortex that would suck early nineteenth century marriage plot novels into the void. It's the complete obverse of sweet girlie stuff: no lurve, no irony (I wonder if Cormac McCarthy has a humour mode? If he does, he certainly wasn't in it writing this), no insightful self-discovery or examination of the human heart. No, this is bleak and bloody, go...more
Michael
*Updated, now with an additional McCarthyized section of the Bible, moved up from the comment section.*

Here's what I'm thinkin.

THE CORMAC MCCARTHY PROJECT

Ever since reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I've been considering the possibilities of revisiting the classics and, um, reinterpreting them. Butchering? Yes, you're probably right. Butchering them. That's the right word.

Anyway, since Cormac McCarthy has the most distinctive and powerful voice of any modern writer (that I've read recent...more
Aubrey
That's so, said the judge. They do not have to have a reason. But order is not set aside because of their indifference.
Rugged individualism.

There's a whole unholy host of words one could use in reckoning with this, some more explicated than others. Penchants for ideological idiosyncrasies and survival have shaped mine; yours are your own. May the last speaker standing still breath.
Ye carry war of a madman's making onto a foreign land. Ye'll wake more than the dogs.
History, human, homicide. We...more
Dan Schwent
In the old west, a young man falls in with a bad crowd, scalphunters, and the worst of them all, the judge.

It's not often when I can't figure out how to summarize a book. Not only does Blood Meridian fall into this category, I'm also struggling with trying to formulate my thoughts about it. I'm sure it's one of those big important books that has themes and things of that nature. It seems apocalyptic at times, with the judge showing the kid the horrors of the world, kind of like the devil and Jes...more
Eric
Fuck yeah. This is great. I felt fully absorbed and enclosed in the nightmare. I was scared. McCarthy at his very best—to chose from so many scenes: Judge Holden under a ribcage parasol holding the halfwit by a leash, the two shuffling though the sun-bleached desert Golgotha bellowing threats and promises to Kid and Expriest who are hidden, cowering, “prone in the lees of those sour bones like sated scavengers” awaiting “the arrival of the judge and the passing of the judge if he would so pass”—...more
Bart
Jan 10, 2013 Bart rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of westerns
In Cormac McCarthy's novel The Crossing, McCarthy proves he can write about about the travels of a wolf in a poetic and engaging way. In Blood Meridian McCarthy writes about three or four wolves, calls them humans - those characters he bothers to name at all - and shows that with enough talent and powerful prose, a writer and his work can be called "great" without having to develop a single character in 330 pages.

Among those who would be unsatisfied with the mere word "great" and have to go furt...more
Szplug
It seems that almost everybody raves about Blood Meridian and rates it the best novel written by Cormac McCarthy. I had already read three of his books prior to taking on Meridian; I was a fan, and regarded the book with a mixture of excitement and trepidation: excitement, because I had heard so many superlatives about it from other reviews - trepidation, for the exact same reason. It was with such conflicting expectations that I began; from word one the prose wasn't holding me for some reason,...more
Nick Black
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2013-09-20 -- moved from "likely-reread" shelf to "read-multiple-times". this is one of the greatest works of american literature and if you haven't read it, and we're friends, i'm going to harass you until you do, as otherwise our conversation would be missing essential elements.

i even managed to use it as an epigraph in a computer science book i'm writing: http://dank.qemfd.net/mupcovered.pdf (chapter 4)
-------

the last thing i read in 2009, and the best fiction i'd read since Infinite...more
Frank Maccormack
This book has moments of fleeting brilliance, and the last 50 pages of the book are almost flawless. However, there are 280 pages before that you have to read, which consist of, in my opinion, nothing more than barren landscapes, borderline shock-value accounts of depravity, and self-indulgent simile. It's a never-ending journey on the shoulders of quite possibly the most unlikable group of characters I've ever read, which in the hands of a particular writer, may work...McCarthy does NOT pull it...more
Natalie
I'll be frank right up front: I loved this book. It's a poetic, metaphor-and-symbolism-rich wonder of a novel, and every bit as violent as its reputation states. McCarthy has such a seemingly effortless ability to render forth horrific and beautiful descriptions of everything from sunrises to Indian attacks that it's enough to make one weep with envy.

McCarthy certainly gives the lie to the nostalgic romanticizing of the Old West enshrined in American culture; these cowboys 'n Indians aren't fil...more
Tedb0t
Jun 11, 2007 Tedb0t rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who love true literature
Blood Meridian is an astonishing work. It was recommended to me by the same person who got me into Moby Dick, and now I believe I understand why.

There are two major aspects I'd like to touch on with this book:

1) Prose. McCarthy is one of those rare literary magicians who, like Melville, is capable of sustained and continuous flows of poetry, often jaw-dropping in their scale and scope. Blood Meridian tends to oscillate from narrative action to descriptive passage. The narrative scenes tend towar...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
What a show-off. I swear, if you were to hand this book to an aspiring artist experiencing a depression-inducing creative block, you may just find yourself with a d.b. on your hands thanks to thoughts like "So wait, this was written by a human being and not an alien?" and "Fuck me!" and "Oh fuck it, I give up." While you'll hear no argument from me that The Road isn't a masterpiece, it is my firm conviction that this'n is even more masterpiece-ier, though far, far darker than The Road is even wi...more
Steve
Reasons to read Blood Meridian:
» Friends have told me I should –- Goodreads friends, no less. And these are people I like; people who have my back (bibliophilisticly speaking).

» The prose is like nothing I’ve read before. It’s elaborate, but not fussy. No flourish need apply. And I swear he just makes words up if the standard ones in English seem too refined. The effect is just right for a seared earth adventure. It grew on me.

» See if you can tell from the pattern of my recent reads what I was
...more
Aaron
I don't get people's love affair with this book. It's like if Kill Bill, Vol. 1 was consistently trumpeted as the greatest movie of all time. They both are cartoonish exercises in violence. They both are a pastiches of high and low art. They both have one stunning scene that wins over the critics (the Indian attack in Blood Meridian, the snow duel in Kill Bill) and then feel pretty flat for the remainder. And yet, Blood Meridian has become a darling of critics and now, with McCarthy's Oprah-appr...more
Annette
Aug 02, 2007 Annette rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is the best book ever written. Ever. It is my favorite book. Ever. It is a piece of art. I want to wallpaper my walls with its pages it is so amazing.

Cormac McCarthy has a way with words that is inimitable and majestic. It seems as though every word is chosen with a purpose. You read this book and get chills once you stumble upon a word that has definition in triplicate...all the definitions are appropriate and progressively creepier.

This is a story of Manifest Destiny meets Native American...more
Caris
Jan 09, 2011 Caris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Caris by: Michael
Shelves: 2011
Let me preface this by saying that I may be bingeing on McCarthy and this may not be a good thing.

I didn’t really like this book. It was a chore to make it through, which really threw me. Every time I picked it up, my silly brain would get all excited.

“Ooh! A Cormac McCarthy book! Yes!” it would exclaim. But soon after the reading began, it would remember the previous day’s experience and would attempt to shut itself off.

“Let’s think about TV,” it suggested more than once.

And I’m not cool with t...more
Agnieszka
Those who travel desert places do indeed meet with creatures surpassing all description.
They’re riding through the mountains,deserts,muddy and dusty pueblos,leaving behind them piles of mutilated and scalped bodies, massacred people and animals as well.They’re killing all who they encounter on their road,no matter,Indians,soldiers,villagers which they were to defend.They leave no witness of their crime and iniquity.Only blood and death behind them ,and more blood.They ride like Bible Apocalypse...more
Maciek
Dec 04, 2013 Maciek rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Western Fans; those who favor the language over that what it says
Blood Meridian is a novel that deromanticizes the West and strips off its John Wayne antics - here there's absolutely no place for the moral and the good, where murder is a fact of life comitted without a blink and discarded from thought later. The desert rewards the worst scoundrels and spits on the bodies of the innocent and old who are unable to defend themselves.

The novel begins with an introduction of a young teenager who's simply named "The Kid", though in fact there's no universal protago...more
Abailart
Blood Meridian

Some claim to have read this book more than 30 times. I can see why. But this is my first Cormac McCarthy novel and I need a long rest. It took me three years before I had the energy to read Moby Dick a second time. Moby Dick and Ahab, an apt comparison as both novels are densely packed, thick, startling of imagery, literary in the scope of allusions, and each contains a figure that seems at the centre: Ahab, and in the case of Blood Meridian, The Judge who is both seeker and sough...more
Brad
Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West is so much bigger than what my brain has been able to process so far, but it will stick with me, and I will return to this text repeatedly and try to make sense of its nuances.

Cormac McCarthy is talking about big things in Blood Meridian, and he is doing them extremely well. But what are those big things? Is he talking about violence? The sacred? Violence and the sacred? Is it war, as the judge says? Is McCarthy talking about ineluctability of hu...more
Alex
In David Foster Wallace's posthumous essay collection Both Flesh and Not there's a little piece called "Five Direly Underappreciated US Novels > 1960," and Wallace goes off on paragraph-long defenses of some books he likes - "Bleak but gorgeous," he says of Omensetter's Luck, "like light through ice." But when he gets to Blood Meridian there's just this one line under it:

"Dont even ask."

Unfortunately everyone did anyway and this book, where you can identify the good guys as the ones who haven...more
Mike
Nov 20, 2011 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the unsqueamish
Recommended to Mike by: Time 100 best novels since 1923
"Blood Meridian" is hellish nightmare of successive acts of violence. Based on the story of the Glanton Gang operating on boundary between Texas and Mexico in 1849-1850, McCarthy's novel focuses on an unnamed protagonist known only as "The Kid." The Kid is fourteen, a runaway from the hills of Tennessee. He finds himself among a group of Filibusterers bent on finishing what the Mexican War began. The band is attacked by Comanches. The Kid is among the few survivors. However, he survives only to...more
Ctgt
It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

The story takes place in the American southwest during the late 1840's just after the Mexican-American War and follows "the kid" as he leaves Tennessee and joins a group of American irregulars hoping to...more
sologdin
All reading is transformative for the reader, even if it’s merely additive or supplemental--a cumulation of more knowledges, the text inscribed on the reading mind, a database point for later quotation at the moment of optimal discharge in witty wordgasm. The rare reading, by contrast, is more significantly transformative, not merely supplemental or simply inscriptive, but re-inscriptive, altering the reader beyond routine stockpiling, and rather changing Berger‘s “way of seeing,” an althusseria...more
Mariel
Mar 23, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mexican radio
Recommended to Mariel by: far side of crazy
Blood Meridian: or the Evening Redness in the West made me feel insane. Mariel, nothing makes you feel anything. I know that. What I really mean is that reading it reminded me of those times when I feel really insane. The things I can't explain to myself. The things that I feel uncomfortable and not normal about. Not just displacement parts but also the part of me that gets too ready to sink into the shit with them and would never leave.

Before I start rambling and make absolutely no sense at all...more
Katie
I found this really hard to get into; 100 pages through, all that carried me were the sentences themselves, which might have been enough -- they're consistently amazing: precise, gorgeous, experimental in their use of language (to the point where I had to lol on the Greyhound)... but certain images began to stick with me, and not even the most violent, but those that occurred alongside the ritual slaughters and scalpings (the mule dropping off the side of the canyon, the bear swiping the Delawar...more
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Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres and has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

His earlier Blood M...more
More about Cormac McCarthy...
The Road No Country for Old Men All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1) The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2) Child of God

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“Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” 355 likes
“War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.” 230 likes
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