Wednesday, May 2, 2012

BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy

No one does desolation like Cormac McCarthy, and this book has it in spades.  If you think No Country for Old Men was violent, notch it up about 1000%, and you'll have Blood Meridian.  It's as if the author was trying to outdo himself with each successive chapter.  I'm not sure why this book has received so many accolades, because I certainly did not enjoy or admire it.  It has some elements of Heart of Darkness, and it's the Wild West at it worst—savage, gruesome, and just plain evil.  It's based on truth and conveys very emphatically how addictive violence can be.  The writing is Faulkneresque in its loftiness, which contrasts sharply with the baseness of the subject matter.  However, form does match content in that it's difficult to ascertain who's doing what in the midst of all the bloodshed and mayhem.  The two main characters are the kid and the judge, who are studies in contrast, both part of an army of men who have been offered a reward for Apache scalps.  Need I say more.  They far exceed their charter, however, so that they become more despicable than their victims.  The kid certainly loses his innocence but doesn't seem to be particularly appalled by the slaughter, while the judge is one scary character, justifying it all as part of the ultimate game of war.  Each chapter is headed by a bulleted list of events, which was helpful.  I bookmarked the beginning of the chapter so that I could go back to it at the end and reread the recap.

No comments: