Nick Black'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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Oct 09, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-multiple-times
Read from December 27 to 30, 2009 — I own a copy

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: (chapter 4)

the last thing i read in 2009, and the best fiction i'd read since Infinite Jest in 2007. all through early new years day, i gabbled at any number of people about how this book had, for a short and beautiful period, changed my life. i thanked rob for recommending it. as the night went on, i spoke of judge holden less, instead assuming his persona (and o! judge holden surely is one of the great creations of all American literature -- the kind of guy you want to read and reread, maybe type out long sections of like you did Pearl Jam lyrics and Naked Lunch as a teenager, James Joyce during that unfortunate homeless period, Primo Levi back in ought-and-six etc ad nauseam all in the hope of catching some vibe, stealing some style, baptism-via-immersion or perhaps just Harnessing your Inner OCD to Win!). memories are spotty in the large and disconnected in the complete, but there's a general progression:

- spreading rumor that 2 live crew cover band "2 live crewer" would be appearing
- demanding a "literature battle" from some english grad student
-- dismissing him with much debasement and a reminder that "i am alpha, and don't you fucking forget it"
- identifying any number of "gormless proles" and variations thereon
- trying to convince my buddy Grandma Dan to stop grilling
-- and help me steal a truck
- enlisting a crew to sack the party up the street
-- going by myself when said crew pussied out. i acquired a beer, and considered driving back their cattle and women before me. invited the malefolk to come grapple at original party. "yes, grapple, wrestle, GHSA rules, no biting but you can kick each other in the nuts." {prolestare} "if you're not down for grappling we can chainfight, cutthroat nozh and britva. mind if i mix myself a drink?" proceeded to drain their nasty whiskey in 50/50 shots atop cherry schnappes. by the end, they're looking at me like scylla and charybdis rolled into one dense-packed son of a Phorcys and happy when i leave without scalps aplenty.
- started methodically going through original bar, forcing all around me to drink in 5-7s cadences
- dropped barenjaeger bottle to call for construction of a gravity bong
-- a coke bottle and bucket are found! a mouthpiece fashioned! i lecture, Holdenlike, ventilating myself regarding the mysteries of bong engineering.
--- i suggest we construct a flying machine
---- i hold forth on the science of flight, and aeronautical engineering
----- a triple integral is evaluated
--- i suggest we construct an apiary
--- i urinate in the corner, solemnly
- the gravity bong, constructed, is dubbed Neblegar. it is packed from abundant loose weed from various pockets
- fulfilled ambition, cherished since first looking into Belushi's Animal House (and indeed the closing scenes of Infinite Jest) of chugging a bottle of Jim Beam and smashing it behind me
-- i immediately felt numerous things inside of me locking up like blown pistons or the doors from House of Leaves.
--- things can typically lock two ways in the body. one's due to, like, pressure, leading to your spectacular aneurysms, your cirrhotic hemorrhages marked by the nebulized aspirations, your five-point myocardial infarctions going off like Reactor 4 at Чернобыльская АЭС.
---- it wasn't the steam explosion itself that wrecked Prypiat, chunks of Peoples' Concrete and Victory Granite hurtling up through the sky like confused meteorites, waste product meteorites from a transuranic galaxy's fission death. it was the oxygen which rushed into that emptied space, setting fire to the opened core, and now we have a positively fedback system and such systems are Bad Shit, to be Avoided but I digress ---
--- so otherwise due to muscular control: the epiglottis, the sphincter, the tongue rising as the stylopharyngeus, the salpingopharyngeus, the trachealis go the other way, swallow becoming sneeze
--- this was an altogether unpleasant third locking, an osmotic lock. we're used to them in ion channels, cref the Na+/K+ pump and ATPase for which Jens Christian Skou pulled in half of the 1997 Chem Prize. alimentary osmosis is rather a different beast, achieving different goals, and a hyperosmotic event in the intestinal lumens' Cl-/Na+ transport...well, now I know how Tunguska felt.
-- nb: DFW did not write about the horrible aftermath, nor did Lampoon illustrate it. I think there's a chemical burn in my stomach about the size of gorbachev's great glabellan naevus flammeus. i didn't move all afternoon or evening 2010-01-01.
- wrestled a few people. kicked some asses, finally got my ass kicked. reveled in all of this.
- went home, find i've lost my keys. resolve to sleep outside. call up this asian girl i'd talked to earlier, explain the situation, and say "sure, you ought come over." thinking she'll realize i was being pissed off and sarcastic, and certainly not come over, to where i am sleeping in backyard mud and freeze.
- yep! she shows up, full of cheer and slut and expectations of going inside, expectations which became demands.
- waged an epic contest with the back door, which i must now replace and might still get evicted over

when we got inside, i was covered in mud, drink, three distinct emetological phases of regurgitate, bongwater, door splinters, sex juice and any number of bloods. i stripped down, and did the only reasonable thing: danced naked.

but I did get paid $10 to chug aforementioned jim beam so at least i write it all off as entrepreneurship. anyway, yeah, great fucking book, and a fine way to close out the decade.
Four people on my list have this rated, all of them at 5/5. That's practically 30 Helens of concurrence! I figure something must be up....on the list you go, you and your cursed subtitle of +4 pretension.
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Quotes Nick Liked

Cormac McCarthy
“They is four things that can destroy the earth, he said. Women, whiskey, money, and niggers.”
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Cormac McCarthy
“Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn. A moral view can never be proven right or wrong by any ultimate test. A man falling dead in a duel is not thought thereby to be proven in error as to his views. His very involvement in such a trial gives evidence of a new and broader view. The willingness of the principals to forgo further argument as the triviality which it in fact is and to petition directly the chambers of the historical absolute clearly indicates of how little moment are the opinions and of what great moment the divergences thereof. For the argument is indeed trivial, but not so the separate wills thereby made manifest. Man's vanity may well approach the infinite in capacity but his knowledge remains imperfect and howevermuch he comes to value his judgments ultimately he must submit them before a higher court. Here there can be no special pleading. Here are considerations of equity and rectitude and moral right rendered void and without warrant and here are the views of the litigants despised. Decisions of life and death, of what shall be and what shall not, beggar all question of right. In elections of these magnitudes are all lesser ones subsumed, moral, spiritual, natural.”
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Cormac McCarthy
“Riding down the unhorsed Saxons and spearing and clubbing them and leaping from their mounts with knives and running about on the ground with a peculiar bandylegged trot like creatures driven to alien forms of locomotion and stripping the clothes from the dead and seizing them up by the hair and passing their blades about the skulls of the living and the dead alike and snatching aloft the bloody wigs and hacking and chopping at the naked bodies, ripping off limbs, heads, gutting the strange white torsos and holding up great handfuls of viscera, genitals, some of the savages so slathered up with gore they might have rolled in it like dogs and some who fell upon the dying and sodomized them with loud cries to their fellows.”
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Reading Progress

12/26/2009 page 68
20.18% "now this is more what i'm talking about!"
12/29/2009 page 249
73.89% "this page is as good as anything i've read this year. f'n awesome!!!"
06/15/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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brian   you're a terrific lunatic, nick black.

Conrad In order to both read as prodigiously as you seem to and party as hard as you claim, you'd have to live a life completely free of transaction costs: no time wasted behind the wheel, in queues, peeing, getting dressed, talking to humans... I don't buy it. Either you're the world's best fake reviewer or you have a colostomy bag and a chauffeur.

Anyway, glad you liked this book. Thanks for pointing out the downright Vorpal subtitle. I think everyone should refer to this book by its WHOLE NAME every time it's mentioned. That would teach Cormac a lesson.

Nick Black Conrad wrote: "In order to both read as prodigiously as you seem to and party as hard as you claim, you'd have to live a life completely free of transaction costs: no time wasted behind the wheel, in queues, peei..."

i'll leave it as a mystery to everyone :D

Nick Black this would appear to be the second most popular thing i wrote in 2010, right after My Other Computer is Your GPU. who'd have thought?

Natalie ....


.... don't be alarmed, but I think I love you.

Nick Black Natalie wrote: "....


.... don't be alarmed, but I think I love you."

what for that paper? bah there's plenty more where that came from. try libtorque, lrumap, daytripper...umm and there's some stuff here...thanks! :D

Michael Economy I must read this!

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