Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy
Reading Order: Book 39
Categories: 2020, Erik Rostad
Fiction
Pages: 368
Date Started: November 1, 2020
Date Finished: November 8, 2020
11h 9m 14s
Reason Book was Chosen: I had originally slated Daniel Kahneman's new book Noise in this spot, but it will not be released until 2021. I've put Blood Meridian in its place. I read this in 2017 as part of the first year of this project and it is the book I have hated the most. I recorded a podcast with Jason and didn't give the book a proper covering because I hated it so much. That's not fair to my podcast audience, so I'm re-reading my most despised book of the project to re-record the podcast episode. This is either a study in masochism or perhaps I'll gain a better appreciation during a second reading.

My Thoughts

I was unable to get past the violence of the book the first time I read it in 2017. The shock had subsided for this second reading in 2020. I was able to focus more on the writing, the story, and the impact. I enjoyed it much more this time than the first time.

Judge Holden has to be one of the most memorable and sadistic characters in any work of fiction. Cormac McCarthy even lets your memory go wild by not describing the worst things the Judge does in the book but by letting your imagination wander. The Judge’s god is war. Mercy thwarts that philosophy and must be rooted out. The kid in the story represents that mercy, albeit in a twisted way. But that kid must be eliminated according to the Judge.

There’s a famous quote in The Brother’s Karamazov by Dostoevsky –

“If God is dead, everything is permitted.”

To the Judge – if War is God, mercy is forbidden. It’s a disturbing and grotesque way to look at life, but this book provides a glimpse into its ramifications.

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Bradley Woodworth
    February 15, 2021 9:19 pm

    I love Blood Meridian for McCarthy’s use of language, but this book in particular as it seems to me to be a glimpse into our world if the Enlightenment and its assumptions about us as human beings _is not in fact true_. (And. . . maybe it’s not. That is certainly something McCarthy is afraid of.) McCarthy is afraid of what we as human beings are (read his probably final novel) The Road. When you get to the final glorious paragraph, you feel like you see the mysterious beauty of this world and the miracle that it — and we — exists.

    (I just stumbled on this site, following a link about Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago–I’m headed now to what you wrote.)

    Reply
  • I found your podcast not long after the first Blood Meridian episode, I was disappointed that you guys didn’t take to it but stuck around for 5 years and was delighted to hear you give it not one but two more outings four years later. Thanks for this inspiring project

    Reply

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