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Blood Meridian (Contemporary classics) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, Classical

4.1 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; abridged edition edition (3 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626349948
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626349946
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 14.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 617,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Cormac McCarthy is now the greatest American novelist --The Times<br /><br />It's 1849 and the 14-year-old nameless "kid" has drifted into the violent life of an outlaw band of bloodthirsty Indian hunters on the Texas-Mexico borders. Grotesque characters play out their roles against an unforgiving landscape. The understated southern drawl is just right, suggesting the symbolic richness of McCarthy's language. --Rachel Redford, The Observer

Voiced here with slow deliberation, the nightmarishly enigmatic Judge - a man who declares he feels the personal freedom of birds as a personal insult - is a presence I'm finding horribly difficult to shake. --Bella Todd, Time Out

Having thought that no book could ever be as harrowing or as frightening as McCarthy's apocalyptic Pulitzer prize-winning The Road (I finished it at 3am sitting up in bed with the light on), here's an even bleaker story about man's inhumanity to man. It's set in the familiar Tex-Mex territory of All the Pretty Horses, his best book, and its hero, the kid, like John Grady Cole, is a 16-year-old drifter who pretty much lives in the saddle. There, alas, the resemblance ends this is definitely not a love story. It's an allegory about survival, lawlessness and natural justice. The kid, who's been living, scavenging, fighting, killing, surviving on his own since he was 12, heads for the Apache wars circa 1840 in the legendary Wild West and joins a troop of mercenaries paid in gold for Indian scalps. The battle scenes are absolutely terrifying. Bullets, arrows, decapitated heads flying, the braves daubed with war paint, some naked, some wearing the looted clothing of their victims US army jackets, whalebone corsets and ruffled shirts the Americans by now so blood-crazed and inured to violence that they massacre Indians, Mexican peons and peaceful settlers indiscriminately. McCarthy's prose is compelling, a potent mix of stark and lyrical: The night sky lies so spread with stars that there is scarcely space for black at all and they fall all night in bitter arcs and it is so that their numbers are no less. The little prairie wolves cry all night and dawn finds him in the grassy draw where he'd gone to hide from the wind. The hobbled mule stands over him and watches the east for light. The sun that rises is the colour of steel, his mounted shadow falls for miles before him. Brilliant, but not for the faint-hearted. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Book Description

Cormac McCarthy's violent lyric masterpiece --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
"Blood Meridian", based on real events, charts the bloody adventures of a group of scalp-hunters in the west a century and a half ago.
The extreme (and random) violence of the novel's many gore-infested passages is too much for many stomachs, but then again life in all its raw honesty often is. Ironically for a novel dealing mainly with death and desolation, the finely-honed prose cascades and sparks off the page like a Catherine wheel, literally taking this reader's breath away.
Throughout, the novel is bestrode by the looming figure of Judge Holden, awesome and terrible, all-knowing yet uncaring, omnipotent and omnipresent, an 1850s reworking of the devil.
Read this novel for the stark beauty of its prose, read it for the terror created by the graphic descriptions of the violence man can - and does - commit on man, read it for the surprising amount of dry, laconic humour in the dialogue, read it to discover the Judge, one of literature's great creations. But read it.
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Format: Hardcover
My book jacket says BLOOD MERIDIAN "...chronicles the extraordinary violence of the Glanton Gang, a murderous cadre on an official mission to scalp Indians." Wikipedia adds that John Glanton "led a gang of scalp hunters. Nominally a mercenary operation hired by Mexican authorities to track down and kill dangerous bands of Apaches, the gang began murdering and scalping non-Apaches and massacring citizens..." and were eventually "declared outlaws."

McCarthy's entry to the Glanton gang comes through two characters. The first is the Kid, who joins up in his mid-teens and participates in its gruesome crimes. The second is Judge Holden, who dominates the gang and has a philosophical view of its random violence.

In McCarthy's hands, the story of the Glanton gang is like a psychopathic road novel, which is held together with genius-quality poetic writing. Read BM and be captured by McCarthy's immense talent as the gang traverses the Southwest and northern Mexico. I open BM at random (the start of Chapter 14) and find:

"All to the north the rain had dragged black tendrils down from the thunderclouds like tracings of lampblack fallen in a beaker and in the night they could hear the drum of rain miles away on the prairie. They ascended through a rocky pass and lightning shaped out the distant shivering mountains and lightning rang the stones about and tufts of blue fire clung to the horses like incandescent elementals that would not be driven off. Soft smelterlights advanced upon the metal of the harness, lights ran blue and liquid on the barrels of the guns. Mad jackhares started and checked in the blue glare and high among those clanging crags jokin roehawks crouched in their feathers or cracked a yellow eye at the thunder underfoot.
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Format: Paperback
I had never read McCarthy but picked up this book along with "The Road" due to all the Hype from the Oprah book club selection. While the "The Road" is a very good book it is not the masterpiece of "Blood Meridian." This is the most powerful books I have ever read. McCarthy's style is highlighted here: sharp, dry, brittle, and panoramic. I was enraptured by how McCarthy was able to capture the imagery of the southwest landscape with his words. The story itself is horrific, epic, and yet commonplace, the conquering of the west and its people by the whiteman has been better illustrated. On top of all this McCarthy is a grand story teller, who can stretch the limits of imagination without losing the common touch-in other words he keeps it REAL. This is a challenge, but worthy one!
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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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