Annette's Reviews > Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
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Aug 02, 07

Recommended for: Everyone
Read in May, 2005

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 resistance and thus the allegorical history and end of mankind. What is the meaning of life? To survive and to put an end to those who don't want you to survive. That simple. Where is God and what exactly is the Devil? No where, everywhere, inside of you, outside tempting you.

I found a copy of "Notes on Blood Meridian" which sells for about $400 on Amazon and read it. It's kind of a senior thesis for a PH.D. in McCarthy or something. You'd be surprised to find that the majority of "fiction" in this book is based on actual people and actual events documented throughout military records and newspaper accounts...which makes this work even more disturbing.

Can't say enough good things about this book. Every one needs to read it. Put down your Steinbeck and Faulkner folks, Cormac McCarthy writes about the real Americans. McCarthy understands what it means to be the crude and rough degenerates that we all are. Admit it. You want to kill people, and you'd do it if you could get away with it...if you could just leave the body in the unexplored desert of the West.

Read it before they make a horrible Hollywood movie out of it!

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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Nathan Timoteo The movie's already in production. Unfortunately Ridley Scott is directing it. It will look good but everything that makes it "Meridian" will not be shown. I would have preferred to hear that malick was directing. Good review!


James It's comforting to set such a low standard for yourself and make it universal but it doesn't really help anyone with anything. It's a relief from having to feel responsible for anything. (Unless your whole review was sarcastic?


Annette Hi James,
It's apparent that you have a strong loathing to this book, shown by your various comments on other peoples' reviews on the book. Your life philosophy clearly does not match McCarthy's portrayal of the realities of past American life. That's fantastic. It makes me comforted that you will not kill me if I'm carrying around gold coins in my garter.

However, I always think it's hilarious that self-righteous high moralists who disagree with the book's literary worth will be the first to go on personal attacks of those who do value it's worth. If you want to talk about humanity's civility and elevation above the low standards which you abhor, then you too should be civil, even on these series of tubes.

And yes, writing about the universal low standard does do something. It opens a conversation of what humans really are. What level humans really are at. Have you heard of Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Congo, etc? Those are modern-day reenactments of Blood Meridian's violence and nihilism.


James You are right, I'm sorry. Shouldn't have been ad hominen. And the book is interesting to discuss. Guess I was just expecting more after reading so many violent episodes. I am aware of those places but I don't think Blood Meridean is really a protest of those kinds of happenings. It reads (to me) more like a celebration. Sorry about the ad hominim. Nothing good about nihilism though--that's essentially what it is.


Annette No worries, it happens.

I don't think it's about nihilism. I think the Kid represented hope, that even in the darkest and most nasty of places, man has the free will to withhold his potential evil from acting out.

Also, I think Blood is not a celebration of violence, but a recognition of its existence and it's place in our American history. Too often in our history books, the absolute inhumanity is glossed over. On both sides. It has become politically correct to ignore the insanity of some Indian tribes.

I brought up the situations in Africa because I think that no matter how "evolved" humans become, there will always, somewhere, be people who haven't come along for the ride. It's all about self-preservation and dominating their small little circle of power.

Be all that as it may, if you didn't like Blood Meridian, don't read The Road. HA! Talk about depressing...


James Ooops! Too late. I read The Road already. (And that bugged me too, And No Country For Old Men. I keep expecting more from McCarthy). I will take another look and think about the Kid. I do remember the scene where he refuses to kill one of the injured members of the party. For the vitality of despair, I prefer Becket. I think you are right about not ignoring the violence in humans and the brutality involved in survival. This book is certainly a tonic for that. I think though it (almost?) valorizes that brutality. That there is a current of social darwinism here. For meditations on evil and brutality as human realities (but also human problems) you might be interested in House of the Dead and The Demons by Dostoevsky.

Again I apologize for my hasty sermonizing. Really the prose in the book is very exciting and as an anti-dote to sanitized history, it certainly has a lot of value.


Seth Great review about a great book. People call the book "unfilmable" but I don't think so. Any book is filmable but not necessarily watchable. You mentioned Manifest Destiny. I never understood the connection since the gang was hired by the Mexican government to defend against Apaches rather than to secure land for the US. Is it because they are white that it seems like Manifest Destiny? I dunno. But I agree great novel.


Annette Good point about being able to film Blood Meridian, but not watch it, Seth. Totally agree.

I guess I was trying to get at the gang kind of...uh...took their assignment to the extreme and went beyond the four corners of the contract between them and the Mexican government...started improvising on what was really "required" of them. And these guys then went back to America and lived in their lawless fashion thereby establishing the, at least temporarily, dominant societal hierarchy in the old American West.

It's been a while since I've read the novel, but looking back now, I guess the Gang DID NOT fulfill the Manifest Destiny meme because they were all assassinated at the river. But the Judge remained. And he's the ultimate evil, the ultimate narcissist and sociopath. And he survived. I wonder if McCarthy was commenting on the Judge's role in the creation of current American society. Hm.


Seth I see what you are saying. They portrayed the arrogant attitude of manifest destiny if not literally. I agree.


message 10: by Mark (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mark Reading reviews on this book this AM, seemingly to torture myself. I don't want to kill people, and McCarthy scares me. Maybe you do too, a little. I don't like this part of people: it's the terrorist in us we need to lock up, to overcome.


Marius Hancu While reading Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy, you may want to see my questions related to it as answered in the alt.usage.english (AUE) Usenet newsgroup. My thanks to the participating AUE members. The focus of my questions was the language: rare words, funny or original expressions, special or strange constructs — as I saw them, from within my own idiosyncrasies.


Shane Mcparland Best book ever written? No. Have you read Moby Dick? Ulysses? Not that they can all be judged on the same scale and this is a modern masterpiece of sorts but I don't thinks it's the best ever :)


Annette Shane, my review reflects my opinion and serves as encouragement for people to read Blood Meridian. I'm not sure how your comment adds to the productivity of the conversation so I'm not sure how to respond.

Marius-Thank you for posting your link to your questions and responses. Makes me want to go back and re-read Blood Meridian again! Have you checked out the first three or four pages of McCarthy's Suttree? Those pages will blow your mind. The words, I found, have meaning in triplicate. One for the sea, one for the slaughter of animals, and one for the "plain meaning" of the sentence.


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