Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West Summary ì 109

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The Kid a fourteen year old Tennesseean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thrivin. Brutal and Poetic at the same timeJust changed it to a five star what the h This book is monumental Seems like a contradiction brutal and poetic but somehow it works The story is bleak dark bloody but also filled with beautiful descriptions of the countryside the desert the people in the book The colorful Judge is some character Tough book not sure I took it all in and had to take some breaks during the read but hey it's Cormac McCarthya grand writer he is It was evening of the following day when they entered San Diego The expriest turned off to find them a doctor but the kid wandered on through the raw mud streets and out pas the houses of hide in their rows and across the gravel strand to the beach Loose strands of ambercolored kelp lay in a rubbery wrack at the tideline A dead seal Beyond the inner bay part of a reef in a thin line like something foundered there on which the sea was teething He suatted in the sand and watched the sun on the hammered face of the water Out there island clouds emplaned upon a salmon colored othersea Seafowl in silhouette Downshore the dull surf boomed There was a horse standing there staring out upon the darkening waters and a young colt that cavorted and trotted off and came back Based on historical events that took place on the Texas Mexico border in the 1850s we follow and witness the grim and bloody coming of age of the Kid a fourteen year old Tennessean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are murdered and the market for scalps is thriving They rode on and the sun in the east flushed pale streaks of light and then a deeper run of color like blood seeping up in sudden reaches flaring planewise and where the earth drained up into the sky at the edge of creation the top of the sun rose out of nothing like the head of a great read phallus until it cleared the unseen rim and sat suat and pulsing and malevolent behind them The shadows of the smallest stones lay like pencil lines across the sand and the shapes of the men and their mounts advanced elongate before them like strands of the night from which they'd ridden like tentacles to bind them to the darkness yet to come They rode with their heads down faceless under their hats like an army asleep on the march By midmorning another man had died and they lifted him from the wagon where he'd stained the sacks he'd lain among and buried him also and road on

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Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the WestBlood Meridian is an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Wes. Spilledemptiedwrung outsoul rippedthat pretty accurately sums up my emotional composition after finishing this singular work of art Ironically I’m sure I only absorbed about 10% of the “message” McCarthy was conveying in this epic exposition on war violence and man’s affinity for both Still even with my imperfect comprehension I was shaken enough by the experience that though I finished the book days ago I’m just now at the point where I can revisit the jumble in my head enough to sort through how I feel One feeling I have is that Cormac McCarthy is word smithing sorcerer and a genius of devious subversion He's taken the most romanticized genre in American literature the Western and savagely torn off its leathery sun weathered skin in aid of showing an unflinching unparalleled depiction of man at his most brutal and most violent This is man as “world devourer” Oddly enough in subverting the Western motif McCarthy may have written its ultimate example I tend to agree with Harold Bloom’s assessment when he says “It culminates all the aesthetic potential that Western fiction can have I don’t think that anyone can hope to improve on it it essentially closes out the tradition” Well said Mr Bloom PLOT SUMMARYCHARACTERSBased at least partially on real life events the story is set around 1850 immediately after the end of the Mexican American War and takes place in the “borderlands” between the two countries that stretches from Texas to California The narrative follows a young teenager known only as “the kid” who runs away from his father in Tennessee after his mother dies See the child He can neither read nor write and in him broods already a taste for mindless violence All history present in that visage the child the father of the man After engaging in a number of notably violent occupations including bison hunterskinner and as a soldier in an “irregular” army borderland goon suad the kid eventually hooks up with a group of scalphunters led by John Glanton historically known as the Glanton Gang The rest of the story follows the kid and his exploits with the Glanton Gang as they cut a swatch of violence across the borderlands that is unlike anything you are likely to have read about before However the narrative of the kid and the Glanton Gang are simply there to give McCarthy’s story a framework to work through a context This is not a novel about the history of the borderlands or the atrocities that were committed there That is incidental to its purpose McCarthy uses the lawlessness and extreme carnage of the period and the horrific events that transpire as a microcosm to explore the nature of war violence and man’s unrivaled capacity for unmitigated depravity Not a beautiful subjectbut soooooooo beautifully done This brings me to Judge Holden aka “the Judge” one of the most memorable literary figures I have ever come across He's also among the most amoral depraved sadistic and remorselessly cruel individuals I have encountered in my reading In the character of the Judge McCarthy has distilled and personified the ultimate expression of war and violence He is a manifestation of pure evil a spokesman for the belief that war is man’s calling and his purest state is to be an instrument for violence Fun guy huhThe Judge's philosophy is that War is god man’s purpose is to be its ultimate practitioner and any attempts to civilize or reform this aspect of man are doomed to failure “Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak Historical law subverts it at every turn” He preaches that only by embracing and celebrating man’s capacity for violence can man attain his true potential If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now Wolves cull themselves man What other creature could And is the race of man not predacious yet This you see here these ruins wondered at by tribes of savages do you not think that this will be again Aye And again With other people with other sons The Judge is described as huge completely hairless and very pale He speaks multiple languages is well versed in classic literature and has extensive knowledge of many of the natural sciences Throughout the story the Judge is shown as almost “otherworldly” He is depicted accomplishing seemingly miraculous deeds and having “special” insight into events He appears not to age despite being seen over a span of 30 years In addition everyone who rides with him recalls “seeing the Judge” earlier in their life and always at a time of great violence I came to see him as the “Muse of War and Violence” Here is a great description from the end of the book where the kid muses on where the Judge came from A great shambling mutant silent and serene Whatever his antecedents he was something wholly other than their sum nor was there system by which to divide him back into his origins for he would not go Whoever would seek out his history through what unraveling of loins and ledgerbooks must stand at last darkened and dumb at the shore of a void without terminus or origin and whatever science he might bring to bear upon the dusty primal matter blowing down out of the millennia will discover no trace of ultimate atavistic egg by which to reckon his commencing Whatever the Judge’s true nature he is singularly compellingTHE WRITINGOne uality of McCarthy’s writing that amazes me is that it is both fire and ice for the soul His uniue style combines both i sparse but deeply layered prose similar to Hemingway ie short seemingly straight forward sentences that upon further inspection can mulch up your insides with ii flowery “image heavy” descriptions that are almost Shakespearean in their melodrama The combination can be devastating and it's why I am so sure I only absorbed a fraction of what McCarthy was saying on the first read Almost every sentence if you go back and re read it can be chewed slowly to increase the amount the amount meaning and flavor released This is the kind of book I think you should read once and then subseuently re read a chapter at a time over a much longer period At least that was my impression Much of Blood Meridian is written from a dream like yet “hyper alert” state of consciousness No not dream like like nightmarish as McCarthy constantly transforms the settings into aspects that call to mind classical visions of hell Here are a just a few uick examples I picked out They rode through a region where iron will not rust nor tin varnish The ribbed frames of dead cattle under their patches of dried hide lay like the ruins of primitive boats upturned upon that shoreless void and they passed lurid and austere the black and desiccated shapes of horses and mules that travelers had stood afoot These parched beasts had died with their necks stretched in agony in the sand and now upright and blind and lurching askew with scraps of blackened leather from the fretwork of their ribs they leaned with their long mouths howling after the endless tandem suns that passed above them The riders rode on I love that last sentence “The riders road on” It’s just so Hemingway Here’s another On the day following they crossed the malpais afoot leading the horses upon a lakebed of lava all cracked and reddish black like a pan of dried blood threading those badlands of dark amber glass like the remnants of some dim legion scrabbling up out of a land accursed shouldering the little cart over the rifts and ledges the idiot clinging to the bars and calling hoarsely after the sun like some ueer unruly god abducted from a race of degenerates CONCLUSION In sum a truly sublime experience After reading No Country for Old Men I was not sure that McCarthy would ever be able to floor me like he did in that book I was mistaken Round two with McCarthy has found me once again knocked to the canvas with my brain reeling I'd be hard pressed to choose a winner between the two but this one definitely has become the newest addition to my list of all time favorites 60 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION

Cormac McCarthy ☆ 9 characters

Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West Summary ì 109 ✓ Blood Meridian is an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the Wild West Based on historical events that took place on the TTern 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. This is Jane Austen antimatter Trying to convey how this was so different to anything I've ever read it occurred to me that it was like a huge black vortex that would suck early nineteenth century marriage plot novels into the void It's the complete obverse of sweet girlie stuff no lurve no irony I wonder if Cormac McCarthy has a humour mode If he does he certainly wasn't in it writing this no insightful self discovery or examination of the human heart No this is bleak and bloody gory and grisly there are bludgeonings and beheadings shootings and stabbings and skewerings and scalpings and piles and piles and piles of corpses as a film I wouldn't have been able to stand it How could I stand it here Well it was usually over pretty uickly He doesn't dwell long and lovingly on every detail radical and dramatic images burn on the mind's eye but no prurient poking and puddling Nasty brutish and short Stomach churning but not for too longThen there is little in the way of plot Characters Bad worse or imbecile So what pleasures does it afford pleasures that can compensate for the horror Or is it the horror that becomes pleasurable Yes that is the worrying thing obviously the language is a wonder and can make up for much but there is a very troubling phenomenon The reader begins to take on the reasoning of the charismatic satanic Judge Holden this is a game in which the stake is life itself There is only life or death nothing else And the Glanton gang is so evil that we can take joy in their annihilation and the kid is the only one who has shown the slightest faint scruple when it came to slaughtering so we hope for his survival and follow keenly his fight for life And did I mention the language Majestic portentous weighty reminiscent of Milton and Blake and the Bible Sparse terse dialogue Sumptuous description A fearless novel that shocks and troubles especially when you realise that this is based on real events on the Texas borderlands in 1848 51 and not again in all the world's turning will there be terrains so wild and barbarous to try whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man's will or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay