A brand new Read of the Week recommended by Membership Marketing Assistant Andrew, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.
War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be…
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
A key trait of McCarthy’s craft is his skill in deconstructing acts of violence to their core elements: whether that’s representing the cannibal bandits of The Road, the prison fights of All The Pretty Horses or the psychopathic Anton Chiggurh of No Country for Old Men. Blood Meridian provides the catalyst for this style, confronting the reader with the brutal violence of the American frontier in the first half of the 19th Century.
Influenced by Moby Dick’s form and detail, and rich with theological allusions, Blood Meridian follows ‘the boy’s’ involvement in a scalp-hunting expedition against Native Americans along the border between the United States and Mexico. Through the lense of the boy we are introduced to a host of characters plucked straight from the darkest of nightmares; most notably The Judge – a devilish figure whose motivation to possess all of knowledge and humanity leaves no room for mercy, and whom the protagonist confronts at the novel’s horrifying conclusion.
I’m interested in novels that challenge binaries of right/wrong, us/them and good/bad that can be so pervasive in contemporary society and culture. McCarthy’s work underlines the inadequacy of such dichotomies, and I feel that opening oneself to such challenging approaches is key to developing an understanding of ourselves and, as is vital in an increasingly difficult socio-political climate, other people.