SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

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Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy (Random House, April 28, 1985)

Cormac McCarthy’s writing is disturbing, mesmerizing and very, very good. “Meridian” in the title means prime or full spendour, and the novel depicts the pinnacle of blood lust that dominated the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s. He puts a nasty twist on traditional archetypes, such as the judge, the priest, and the kid. McCarthy juxtaposes blunt violence with unusual and lyrical images:

“That night they were visited with a plague of hail out of a faultless sky and the horses shied and moaned… while the hail leaped on the sand like small lucent eggs concocted alchemically out of the desert darkness.”

He is a master technician, a skilful raconteur. But he is also an acquired taste, and once acquired, you are addicted.

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