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Blood Meridian [Paperback]

Cormac Mccarthy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic Nov. 20 2001
I recently saw Harold Bloom, the famous literary scholar from Yale, on a television show where he stated that Blood Meridian was the greatest work of any contemporary American author. I agree. I can't think of anything I've read that even comes close to this novel. First, you have the prose style, which is so controlled and crafted and at the same time flows so naturally that it must have taken years to develop. It reminded me of a missing book from the bible: hypnotic, enigmatic, ancient and at the same time, familiar. I kept thinking of the ocean when I was reading it because of the vastness of the landscape he describes. It seems as if the characters are on a journey, but they're not, unless they're circling further and further down into hell.
I think the familiarity of the novel comes from it's relation to violence from a Christian standpoint. There's no doubt that McCarthy intends to have us react to this book from a moral perspective and yet at the same time be fascinated with it's violence. The setting, the wild wicked west, is a part of the American psyche that still takes forms today in our action films and tv shows that feed our hunger for blood and murder. By taking us back to our roots, stripping away the restraints of our Judeo-Christian values, MCCarthy steeps the story of death and evil in biblical prose and washes it with blood so that we see our dark selves reflected in all our ugliness.
I compare this work to the works of the great Russian novelists ,Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, who always went for the big questions, What is life?, Who is God?, What is morality? and the American Moby Dick which encapsulated a universe. When you read books like these a lot of what appears on the bestseller lists seems so meaningless.
This is a book you simply stand in awe of if you're a writer or ever thought of being one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow March 10 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First time reading McCarthy. Challenging, mystifying, nauseating, wow. Feels like I just swam upstream in a freezing river. Never felt a moment of respite from the terrors of that world, that life.

Still trying to figure it all out.

Would make an incredible film.
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By Red Xala TOP 1000 REVIEWER
To put it plainly, BLOOD MERIDIAN is like nothing that I have ever read before; any serious attempt at gaining a contextual understanding of this text will require multiple readings, with English and Spanish dictionaries in hand.

Multilayered with symbolism and meaning, and masterfully crafted with bilingual verbosity and unorthodox syntax, Cormic McCarthy presents a nightmarish reality where moral law is a cipher in toto.

So far, I have read this sublime offering by McCarthy only once; I definitely intend to read it again.  However, truth be told, BLOOD MERIDIAN is not an easily digestible piece of pap writing; it is a hauntingly graphic work of historical fiction that requires ample time for rumination and ancillary study.

Without question,  BLOOD MERIDIAN is one of the most brutal pieces of literature that I have ever read.  Set in the U.S./Mexican borderlands, in the immediate aftermath of the Mexican-American war, McCarthy vivid portrays an inhospitable, lawless region where extreme violence is the modus operandi, and benevolence is nearly non-existent. 

I reiterate, the unflinching levels of violence portrayed by McCarthy are tantamount to "total war":  American soldiers scalped, disemboweled, and sodomized by Comanche warriors; Apache infants' heads dashed against rocks until their brains spill out; genitals severed and stuffed into victims' mouths; men skewered over fires and burned alive; children abducted, raped, and murdered... 

At the epicenter of this panoply of blood lust is the Mephistophelian antagonist  known as Judge Holden, or "The Judge" - a seven foot tall, completely hairless, Caucasian leader of a band of vicious criminals that has been commissioned to collect Apache scalps.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone Dec 30 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My choice for an all time great novel. There is so much going on in this novel, I can't really review it.

It is epic. It is classic. It is historic. The language is the story, the plot at times seems barely relevant. Characters are not knowable and yet they are burned into my memory. Each word seems to have been carefully chosen. I needed to reference a dictionary or some other outside source on nearly every page.

A difficult story to understand. And I don't understand it yet, but I still give it top marks because I keep coming back for more.

I suspect a lot of readers will be turned away by the extreme violence. I am not really sure why I wasn't.

To me, the experience of reading "Blood Meridian" was worth all the discomfort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In the dictionary, under "Grit" Dec 4 2012
A friend insisted that I read this book. I haven't read too many westerns, and lean more towards science fiction and nonfiction - but appreciate any quality work. I had just come off the indescribable East of Eden, and I enjoyed this equally.

This is one of the best novels I've ever read in my life. The depth of one character specifically is the most intriguing I may have ever witnessed in the format. This is not for the light of stomach, which makes it all the more gripping.

Just buy, borrow, or steal it already.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too violent for me.
First of all, take my review with a grain of salt since I stopped reading halfway through (p. 160 of the edition I have). Read more
Published 15 months ago by allison dysart
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fragility of Conscience in a Psychopathic World
Widely considered to be McCarthy's masterpiece, Blood Meridian explores the same themes which reached a wide audience in his more recent works The Road and No Country for Old Men... Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2010 by Harrison Koehli
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to review, really...
I enjoyed reading this book, if only for the sake of McCarthy's beautiful prose. But I'm at a loss as to how to interpret my reaction to it. Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2009 by spockrocket
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out your dictionary
It took me a while but I finally finished and loved this book. I'll admit I spent some time looking up the definitions to some words but I don't think you can read this without... Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2009 by Anthony England
5.0 out of 5 stars Sie mussen schalfen aber Ich muss tanzen.
McCarthy writes in such beautiful, abstract, and often confusing, images. I've never encountered a prose so close to verse in all my years, as if many of the passages through BLOOD... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2008 by Benjamin Anderson
2.0 out of 5 stars Over rated
I am glad I didn't pay for this book. Get it from your local public library. It is okay, but not great. "The Kid" is hardly mentioned. Read more
Published on Dec 17 2007 by Give Me Something I Can Use
5.0 out of 5 stars Langauge
It is actually immaterial that the book is based on "actual events". Shakespeare's history plays emerge from circumstance but transmute those circumstances by a use of... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2005
2.0 out of 5 stars The Seventh Steal
One star for style; one for content....Here I was all set to do my own screenplay: the definitive Western remake of Igmar Bergman's Fifties' existential angstfest: "The... Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2005 by W. GRUENDLER I I
2.0 out of 5 stars Purple Pretense
I came to this novel urged on by the gushing, almost speechless, praise of Harold Bloom in an interview on television a couple of years ago. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Harold Ledbetter
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