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Blood Meridian Paperback – 1 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 Jan 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0330510940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330510943
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island. He later went to Chicago, where he worked as an auto mechanic while writing his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. The Orchard Keeper was published by Random House in 1965; McCarthy's editor there was Albert Erskine, William Faulkner's long-time editor. Before publication, McCarthy received a travelling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which he used to travel to Ireland. In 1966 he also received the Rockefeller Foundation Grant, with which he continued to tour Europe, settling on the island of Ibiza. Here, McCarthy completed revisions of his next novel, Outer Dark. In 1967, McCarthy returned to the United States, moving to Tennessee. Outer Dark was published in 1968, and McCarthy received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. His next novel, Child of God, was published in 1973. From 1974 to 1975, McCarthy worked on the screenplay for a PBS film called The Gardener's Son, which premiered in 1977. A revised version of the screenplay was later published by Ecco Press. In the late 1970s, McCarthy moved to Texas, and in 1979 published his fourth novel, Suttree, a book that had occupied his writing life on and off for twenty years. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, and published his fifth novel, Blood Meridian, in 1985. All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of The Border Trilogy, was published in 1992. It won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was later turned into a feature film. The Stonemason, a play that McCarthy had written in the mid-1970s and subsequently revised, was published by Ecco Press in 1994. Soon thereafter, the second volume of The Border Trilogy, The Crossing, was published with the third volume, Cities of the Plain, following in 1998. McCarthy's next novel, No Country for Old Men, was published in 2005. This was followed in 2006 by a novel in dramatic form, The Sunset Limited, originally performed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago. McCarthy's most recent novel, The Road, was published in 2006 and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Product Description


"McCarthy is a writer to be read, to be admired, and quite honestly--envied."--Ralph Ellison "McCarthy is a born narrator, and his writing has, line by line, the stab of actuality. He is here to stay."--Robert Penn Warren

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy is the author of ten acclaimed novels, most recently The Road. Among his honours are the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Redfern on 16 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I wish I could open McCarthy's chest and pour a little light into his heart. No matter how beautiful his writing may be, the lack of hope in there is a soul crushing thing to behold. There's also the question of Hell and the images McCarthy so easily conjures in his books; scenes as depraved, horrifying and poetic as a Hieronymus Bosch painting come alive. As a sinner, I now get an idea where I'll be going to when I die.

McCarthy is, hands down, the great master of the western genre alive today - but a western doused with horror - sublime and nauseating, unlike anything you'd find in actual horror sections of bookshops. Set in the 1840s, Blood Meridian is an epic quest across America's wild west by a group of degenerate, murderous scalp hunters after Apaches (or anyone, really, that gets in their way.) Scalps mean money, loose women and whiskey. Scalps are in high demand in a world where "injins" are a constant terror threat. Like the horsemen of the apocalypse, these riders bring with them death and destruction to every corner of the wilderness they pass through, indiscriminately so. Their quest is a senseless, orgiastic descent into extreme violence and terror.

There's a mysterious and unknowable force at the centre of the story in the shape of Judge Holden, a large albino with alopecia who knows various languages, studies the sciences of the time, talks philosophy, and yet is the most cruel and insane man of the lot. Standing against him is a fourteen-year-old boy (The Kid), who shows a tiny fraction of clemency in his heart and is, therefore, a betrayer of God in the judge's eyes.

This is the first book I ever read which I wanted to re-read as soon as I was finished. Most of the sentences in it are so evocative they hint at entire separate stories/novels by themselves. And there's so much beauty between the cruelty that, perhaps, there lies the secret on how to find light in McCarthy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jun 1999
Format: Paperback
McCormack's unique style of writing once again captivates in Blood Meridian, with sculpted landscapes, mesmerising dialogues, and portrayals of violence that are disturbingly perceptive. Spinning a web between two disparate characters, the youthful Kid and the diabolical Judge, one is swept away on a most disturbing journey of the deepest senses. As several of his books, the mythology of the wild west is given a twist, unravelling the spin that has formed our perception of this part of American history, exposing it as it really was. The savage events that dominated the growth of the new nation are bared in chilling detail, uncomfortably lyrical in a language as of song. But it strikes an even deeper core, timeless beyond the historical time frame of the western expansion in America, equally relevant today as in any other time, relevant far beyond the geography of America's west. The elements of human nature are exposed as the quest for power and its abomination into brutality culminates in the peaks of violence - the meridians of blood. McCormack's writing, singular and unique as no other, as full of emotion as it is sparse in punctuation, stimulating and illuminating in clarity of thought, effortlessly breaking the mould of conventional form and grammar, and ultimately striking a chord deep within, that normally is touched only through poetry. And what most would not dare admit, a chord as relevant today as it was in the days of the wild west. My admiration for McCormack's writing, driven both by emotion and intellect, is complete - the man is a true master, this book a masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Cormac MacCarthy fan but had not read his books in chronologic order, Blood Meridian is the most impressive, memorable book I have ever read. It is truly unputdownable (if that really is a word). He writes about the most disturbing and brutal things in such a beautiful and poetic way, that he paints vivid pictures in your mind which stay long after you have finished the book.

All of his books seem to have something sinister or evil in them (with the exception of the slightly autobiographical 'Sutree')but in this one the character of 'The Judge' creates his own league. This character was voted the second most evil creation of all time behind 'Hanibal Lechter'and had he been made life like on film the Judge would have pissed it.

This tells the story of what really was the wild west but set in Mexico, the kid (we never get his real name) takes up with a band of Apache scalp hunters who are basically maniachal murderers. So much happens that a synopsis would either not do justice or act as a plot spoiler. This is not a read for the faint hearted and it is not life affirming, but it is a work of genius and art.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 26 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
Those with weak stomachs need not open the pages of this book. From beginning to end, this is one long travail of unadulterated gore and brutality. It's major mythic character, the Judge, states that war is divine, that nothing on the earth is beyond his notice or does not require his permission to die. And brutal, violent death occurs with great regularity within this book, every couple of pages or so.

The setting is the West and Mexico around the period of 1847, and the license to kill without discrimination is enabled by the Judge's charter of killing and scalping renegade Indians for bounty. If that was all that this group did, perhaps the reader could make some allowance for the portrayed actions, but it quickly becomes apparent that anyone is a target, regardless of guilt, innocence, age, occupation, race, gender, or prior actions. The book becomes a dark celebration of violence for violence's sake.

The Kid, fourteen years old at the start of this book, is the nominal protagonist, drawn into the Judge's group mainly because he had nothing better to do, without other skills or any ambitions. And he is practically the only ray of light within this whole concoction, as he (once or twice) actually shows a little feeling for persons besides himself.

The Judge is an enigmatic super-something, ageless, multilingual, educated, interested in ecology, and much larger than life. Who (or what) the Judge is is clearly central to this book's theme, but he certainly can stand as an avatar of an element of human nature that most people would rather not think about.

McCarthy's prose is very distinct, with odd syntax, unquoted dialogue, and considerable use of some rather rare words. His descriptions of the country are, in some places, nearly prose poems.
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