Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Blood Meridian is probably the most horrific and terrifying novel I've ever read, and made even more so by the fact that most of it really happened. The story, which has the subheader: "The Evening Redness in the West," should really be called, "White People Acting Terribly to Others," because that's what it basically is. The plot concerns a group of horrible individuals scalping Native Americans for profit, which really happened. The cast of characters are mixed with real, historical figures, like Judge Holden, and characters who may or may not be fictional, like the protagonist of the story (If you really want to call him that) "The Kid."
One of the things that makes this book such a masterpiece is the way it's written. I have never read a book with so many stylistic risks that actually worked. There are a multitude of characters who all have speaking parts, and there are no quotation marks or punctuation besides periods and scant commas whatsoever. Even so, you fall into a sort of hypnotic spell seeing the sprawling page so barren of any clues as to what's going on. It's almost like you're being read a bedtime story and piecing it altogether in your head. It's magnificent.
The other thing that makes this sickening book a masterpiece is the overall scale of it. I've heard many compare this book to Moby Dick, and for good reason. The madness, the journey, and the sheer breadth are all there. But that's where the similarities to the two books end, as Blood Meridian is a sickening novel. Bloodshed and violence are sprayed over almost every page, and it's the most horrific story you will ever read. At times, it made me sick. None of the characters are likeable, and all of them do terrible things to others and also one another. It's an elusive story where you're not supposed to be happy or care for the characters. You're just meant to sit and read and watch, and I've read very few books that can be of that nature and still entirely captivating at the same time. Fear the Judge.
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