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Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West
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Manufacturer: Vintage
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.54
EAN: 9780679728757
ISBN: 0679728759
Label: Vintage
Manufacturer: Vintage
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 352
Publication Date: 1992-05-05
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 1992-05-05
Studio: Vintage

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Editorial Reviews:

An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridianbrilliantly 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 nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Wow. This One Has Stuck With Me For Years
Comment: "Blood Meridian" is one of the few books that has stuck with me for years. Due to the graphic violence, I don't recommend it to a lot of people, and I must admit that it put me off for quite a while at the beginning. That said, it has passed the test of time with me. It is one of VERY few books that I have re-read. When I finished this book, I just had to take a deep breath. I'm not some literature major, or someone who wants to analyze all the symbolism that is obviously present here, but I still found this to be accessible and powerful. The language is magnificent, and the entire book has a "gut level" feel that, while taking a long time to cultivate, is truly unique. I've read all of McCarthy's novels and this is by far my favorite. If you really liked "No Country For Old Men" (a glorified screenplay, in my opinion) and/or "The Road", this book may NOT be for you. If you liked the Border Trilogy, particularly "The Crossing", then buy this and read it immediately. You might also like "Paradise" by Toni Morrison.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: How the West Was Won: Behind the Blow
Comment: The Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and his contemporaries dispelled most myths of good cowboys and bad cowboys. His influence spread upon others, whose successive cinematic paintings would make the bleak Western desert landscape filled with bloodthirsty ruffians common knowledge to audiences. But while Angel Eyes Sentenza, Tuco Ramirez, and Clint Eastwood's nameless killers were Shakespearean in their amoral aspects, there was still something civil and sane in those men amidst leering Death.

Here, morality is a virtue felt by victims while vice is the religion of the victors. The Americas twisted by Manifest Destiny have interbred the demonized Native Americans and Spanish, and it is almost like they have birthed a new race of devils as savage as their white oppressors. Scalps are the bloodstained market's chief commodity as the roving Glanton Gang murders Native American settlements and sells these items to towns warped in celebrating killers as heroes. The naive worshipful cities soon have their dazzling savage dreams brought upon them when the Glanton Gang sieges them, scalp the innocent townspeople, and in a continuance of falsehoods, sell these counterfeit scalps as the genuine article only for the celebrated sellers to become marauding thieves again.

Almost as an American God of Western myth, Glanton's right-hand man Judge Holden is much like the serpentine deceiver, who is all but named as the martial Pope of the war party. Even when narrated to be lying, Holden's gravitas is utterly inspiring and his scholarly nature and sophisticated vocabulary among almost cancerous nomads on the mind make us want to join in the revelry for him until he murders children and puppies in an act of Heraclitean warmongering in the name of mankind's eventual future as overlord of the wild nature that would restrain him. Virtue in war is an oxymoron, an impasse to man's sovereignty, and all are enemies to him in our fragile plane of existence. Sometimes when we hear of hurricanes and the venomous snakes out there, we want to believe in the Judge's anarchic crusade against nature even though that entails monstrous amorality as treachery to our origins and a sort of ecological suicide brought upon an ignorance that we are a part of nature as much as everything else. But other men neutral to or against the Glanton Gang are also categorized with rampaging nature and as they slay enemy Native American settlements and soldiers sent out to task them for their crimes with flying colors, we seriously start to ask if such bloody imperialism is wrong if it guarantees peace from everlasting supremacy. As natural competitors bent on survival against an overwhelmingly hostile world, it is easy to shatter our moral compass and believe the Judge's lies until our need for violence as a weapon of law becomes a lust for war such as when unlawful aspirants rise to usurp the all too weak natural sovereign's throne and success or failure, this continuing cycle ensures that the world's fauna is only bones and corpses.

The Kid runs from his abusive home at fourteen and eventually comes into the company of these warrior cultists. Even amidst such ruthless combatants, the Kid never loses his goodness as he once pulls out the arrow of a wounded comrade that would have died otherwise. As the closest thing we identify with virtue in a bloody wasteland, he and Holden shine like beacons of opposing forces, more than men, and given the Judge's ability to be in two places at once and immunity to age, we pray the Kid is such an angelic deity to oppose this demon that at times seems little more than a hairless Robin Goodfellow.

In our current era we face a similar dilemma: Zealous glorification of our heroes as stainless statues and hatred of our enemies into mad beasts. We believe the Judge to this day into persecuting all that would dare to walk astray our path. The results have become reminiscent of mythical battles and mutate us into devils dressed in ripped and pasted man flesh upon demonic hides and where most of our fallen kin have learned to hide their cloven hooves in military boots and behind the staggering piles of waste in our shining criminal history. Manifest Destiny still lives. It is our favorite. It will never die.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: America's God
Comment: Blood Meridian is worth reading if nothing else than for McCarthy's multi-dimensional portrayal of Judge Holden. The judge becomes the nexus where the powerful forces which created the American character, the impulse to control, to dominate, to wage genocidal war in the West, to mirror the refinement and accomplishments of Europe, meet, and the results are mesmerizing. There is a part where the judge, a hefty man, lifts a meteorite used as a blacksmith's anvil and his men wager how far he can hurl it. What McCarthy is saying is clear and disturbing. Here is our American god. Here is the embodiment of our national, historical woes. As the central pivot of this violent, nearly obscene novel, the judge is a perfect creation.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: if you like cormack
Comment: Cormack McCarthy is my favorite author and I loved this book. It is typical of his writing. This one is VERY bloody but the story drew me in and didn't let go until the final page.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Bear Witness
Comment: This is the third Cormac McCarthy book I have read, and my awe for him as a poet is as strong as ever. My awe for him as an anti-sentimentalist is also stronger than ever. Blood Meridian not an exhilarating book based on it's contents. Quite the opposite; It is a haunting and sobering account of a group of despicable men in the West, and all that they partake of. However the style of McCarthy's prose, and his economic use of striking vocabulary are a beauty to behold. Consider it a painting, masterfully composed, but inducing an awful awe and depression on those who behold it.

Blood Meridian is, at its most obvious, an anti-western. It is about all the things that Heroic stories of the settling of the west, and all those outlaws that are idolized, are not talked about. It is about brutality, inhuman (or, how you look at it, all too human) behavior and all the rest of the things that legends are NOT made of. And yet you can feel it is honest. However beneath the Western Motif, it is not just for the West, but for all mythologized things, that the book is making a statement. There have been comparisons of this book to the classical works such as THE ODYSSEY, and I feel that it is well earned. THE ODYSSEY is about a journey, but even when reading that classical work, there are hints of barbarism that the story doesn't stay long on to contemplate. There are acts of killing and slavery in THE ODYSSEY, however that would taint all that we love about the Heroic journey, and so it is not emphasized.

Blood Meridian is, you could argue, the side of the heroic tale that is not celebrated, and yet lurks under it if you are looking for it. With Blood Meridian it is all there, stripped of it's glory. Once you read this book, you will wonder, `was this what it was like? Was Davy Crockett such a brute? Only elevated for what he did for his own people, glossing over what he wrought to everyone else?' I'm not saying that Crockett was a bad man, only that this book serves to illustrate how, perhaps the figures in history who have songs and tales commemorating them, might have only one aspect of their lives committed to history. I believe part of the purpose of this book is to see the Judge as a champion of European values, and triumphing over the Indians and Mexicans. This is not, understand, the part YOU will read in Blood Meridian, I merely point out that the romanticized version of the west, of cowboys and Indians, of the Alamo, are mere interpretations. The grim reality of how those `obstacles' to America's `taming' of the west are perhaps too brutal and horrific to remember. I will personally be haunted by several sequences in this book, and I think that is the point. America was an inherited land, and it took a lot of bloodshed and villainy to make it the place that is celebrated today. Would the Judge, had he been a real man, been sung about in America as a conqueror of wild regions that were a threat to homesteaders? And more to the point, is this idea of Indians attacking settlers not one that goes 2 ways? Who was the first to draw first blood in the West? Should we be glorifying what was a massacre of a less developed culture? It is not something you have to contemplate the way McCarthy does, but if you read this book you will look at the Romantic Western Outlaws in a different light.

There is a passage in this book. It is in response to a man who does not want to be sketched, documented if you will, into the Judge's sketchbook/journal. The Judge's response is, smiling, "Whether in my book or not, every man is tabernacled in every other and he in exchange and so on in an endless complexity of being and witness to the uttermost edge of the world." I am citing this as one of many statements to the reader in this book. You will not like what you read, but you are asked to bear WITNESS to it. I can think of no other explanation to this book. It is one of a kind, and it will not be a
book that you put down and forget. Like me, you will be imprinted with it's imagery for many days after. That is what makes this a great book; it is not necessarily enjoyed, but it is deeply philosophical on the heart of man, and how we as a culture like to abbreviate what barbarity has made our place in the world. Again, this is only my interpretation of one aspect of the book. There is much more to it, and several theses could be written.



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