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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"

The full title of this novel is Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West. It was first printed in 1985, so it has been around a few years. The copy I have is the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition and I can't believe it has taken that long for me to discover it. On the front cover Michael Herr says "A classic American novel of regeneration through violence. McCarthy can only be compared with out greatest writers, with Melville and Faulkner, and this is his masterpiece." I'll take his word for it.

The story is about a runaway from Tennessee, who leaves home at the age of fourteen. The violence starts right here in the first chapter and doesn't end until the last. The kid becomes a member of  Captain Glanton's volunteers while in a Mexican jail and the murder and blood really picks up steam as Glanton gets contracts to kill the Apaches, which his gang does, and even some Mexicans are thrown in since no one will know the difference. Glanton has a warrant out on him from both the Texans and the Mexicans, but that doesn't stop him from murdering about anyone they see, including some innocent men, women, and children in the bloodthirsty search for Apaches or Mexican bandits or Mexican troops out on patrol. They go looking from deep in Mexico to the lower Arizona country for their victims. Reaching the Yuma area, they take over the Yuma ferry and charge whatever the traffic will bear to cross the Colorado into California or vice versa. Their killing continues until the Yuma Indians slaughter most of them. And in all the killing, hunger, desperation, and misery there is regeneration for  some of them after each battle until the Yuma Indians nearly wipe them out, and it doesn't end there..

Mr. McCarthy is a great writer with his extensive vocabulary and in the way he throws the words around and together, it makes for interesting reading. His descriptive writing is magnificent to me and the story moves right along. I will be reading some more of his books as time goes by. He reminds me of the early English and American writers who used a lot of words in their stories. 

4 comments:

  1. Read this one a long time ago, didn't remember much until you jogged my memory a bit. Nice review, think I will take another look at him.

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    1. Why not? No Country for Old Men might be good.

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  2. I love his style and poetic descriptors. I thought this book was pretty slow, though. And I didn't find any of the characters terribly compelling.

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    1. Me, too, although I like his type of writing. I thought the Judge was a distinctive character in it.

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