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By Peter Kettle on 07-04-13
Visionary, violent, yet redemptive. A masterpiece.
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, is the most overwhelming novel I've read for years. I came late to it in two senses. It's almost 30 years since it was published in 1985, and it is late in my own reading life, because I'm 72. I read it on holiday. Not a comfortable choice, and certainly not the best thing to relax with on a sunlounger, while supping a drink with a hat on. But Blood Meridian is, at the risk of sounding pretentious, on a par with Faulkner's 'As I Lay Dying' or Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot' or even that most astounding work of all, 'King Lear'. High claims, but give it a try.
You might well have to try it more than once, because it is very strong - at times even rancid - meat. But a lot of people, after they've finished the book, might find they can't read another novel for a while.
I finished listening to the book, and started another. But all my head could think on was Blood Meridian. So I did something I very rarely do. I switched the other novel off and turned back to Blood Meridian, and listened to it again. It's a hell of a book. And I'm not speaking particularly metaphorically. It tells us more about the human condition than most other respectable works we laud so much. Blood Meridian is original, disturbing, heretical, challenging, difficult, and awe inspiring. Just like King Lear.
30 of 31 people found this review helpful
By Eugene on 23-12-12
Madness, Violence and Greed
The mythology of the European settlement of America begins with the search for the religious sanctuary of the Mayflower, and is enshrined in the Constitution which recognizes the equality of all men. What also saturates and permeates the American psyche is barbaric violence. Blood Meridian is a story that can't be listened to without a break for emotional recovery: it's so vicious, violent and remorseless that it is unbearable. This, of course, is the book's greatness. It's an epic saga of pitiless aggression, automatic racism, all stemming for the false self-belief, and religious hypocrisy of one of the central characters. In our contemporary society where the aim is to present the campaigns of war as fights for rights and freedom, and all of this is presented in a video game format, Blood Meridian, keeps to the fore what is still essential: the depravity of men who cannot limit or challenge their own ignorance, madness and blood lust.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
By S C on 14-04-10
I rate this audiobook highly for a number of reasons, firstly I thought the audiobook narrator was perfect, secondly the narrative is satisfyingly long and realistic with a touch of mysticism to the story and so incredibly detailed and metaphorical in it's descriptions of such a hot and desolate world and it's desperate inhabitants, thirdly the author does what I think an author should and that is make me smile with respect and awe at his ability to use words to paint the picture in his mind, something I find hard to do! Finally I think people should be reminded of how humans can act and have acted through history to secure land for our "great civilizations" and "honerable" way of life....
26 of 29 people found this review helpful
By Peter on 12-04-13
Souless and overblown
Having adored both ‘The Road’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy, I searched Audible for what else he had written and downloaded Blood Meridien. After struggling to listen to it all the way through, waiting for something to convince me it was a worthwhile use of my time, I exchanged the book for something which I would enjoy listening to again. Having seen so many other reviewers waxing lyrical about the book, I felt I just wanted to put an alternative view.
The book is really just a narrative – a descriptive account of what the characters do – there is no attempt to develop the motivations or inner personalities of the protagonists. Not even with The Kid, the main character throughout, are we ever taken inside his head to discover what’s driving him to commit his atrocities. Consequently there is no-one in the book you can actually empathise with and, for me, I simply did not care about any of the characters or what might happen to them.
Everyone in the book is horrible – no-one has the slightest redeeming feature. There is not one character with whom I could empathise in any way or care less what might happen to them.
The book is full of mindless violence and destruction, cruelty and unnecessary viciousness. Not that I have a particular problem with violence, both The Road and No Country for Old Men have a considerable share of gruesomeness. But in these you understand why people behave that way.
As for the style of writing in Blood Meridien, I suspect that there was a deliberate decision on McCarthy’s part to contrast the horrific, mindless violence of the narrative with an elaborate, beautiful prose, as an artistic device. But for me that simply did not work. I found the language of the text so overblown and blousy that it was simply irritating and, to be frank, a bit up itself.
I am sorry Mr McCarthy, I loved the other books but this one just left me cold.
22 of 27 people found this review helpful
By Tashifan on 13-11-11
Wow, what a book, I was enthralled by the tale, the use of language, so concise, painting a picture in my mind in a few well chosen words. An epic not for the faint hearted. The narrator was perfect and I found myself wanting to hear it all, and at the same time make it last longer. I could not stop thinking about the book even when not listening, and even now, months later, the imagery in my mind is still crystal clear.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Amazon Customer on 04-12-10
This book is not for the faint-hearted. It is full of strong and often disturbing images which some readers, frankly, won't want to hear. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful book, packed with dark yet stunning pictures and scenes. McCarthy paints a series of magical realist images which, like all great art, touch the imagination deep and point to truth. A word too about the narration. Richard Poe has a mature, rich voice and reads the book with a strength and beauty which I couldn't imaging being bettered.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful