Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

This novel doesn’t have the same bare-knuckled emotional wallop of The Road, but it still qualifies as a modern masterpiece.

Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West is an old West cowboy novel, full of strange-yet-authentic language and characters. Like good concrete poetry, McCarthy’s work reflects the world he creates. A long ride across the hot desert, feels like a long, hot ride across the desert. Unfortunately, sometimes trudging through McCarthy’s dense prose can seem like an equally arduous task.

This book has been criticized for being ultra-violent, but the violence just seems extra harsh because it appears so suddenly out of McCarthy’s calm, lazy, sun-bleached landscape.

Judge Holden is unquestionably one of the most brilliantly rendered villains in all of literature. His observation of the world, his uncanny knowledge, and his seeming mastery of all things on earth, make him terrifyingly god-like. It’s The Judge’s world, we just live in it. And not for very long. The Judge makes Chigurh from McCormick’s later work, No Country For Old Men, seem like a pussy cat by comparison.

Blood Meridian is a fascinating, but challenging read, one that stays with you long after its final haunting pages.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road humbles me with its greatness. It is one of the most amazing novels I’ve ever had the uncomfortable pleasure of experiencing. McCarthy creates a post-apocalyptic wasteland that is as desolate and terrifying as any ever imagined. The hardships and tribulations faced by the nomadic father/son team in the novel (The Man/The Boy) are  harrowing, gut wrenching, and terrifying. This is a horror novel masquerading as a literary work, and vice versa. A survivalist thriller that’s as much of a philosophical journey as a physical one.

The backbone of The Road is the belief that love, hope, and human decency can endure in a ruined world. McCarthy’s prose is as sparse and haunted as the wasted landscape depicted in the novel. Each word is like a fine-edged sculptor’s tool. Each word is the right word. Damn you, Cormac! You’ve crafted a masterpiece, one that will live forever in my mind and heart.