Remember to click G+1 if you like a post... It will make me happy :-)

1 October 2010

Blood Meridian (1985)

I just finished reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and have been feeling pretty stupid. Most of the time I didn't have a clue what it was going on about.

So I had a quick scan on the internet and cheered myself up... nobody else understands it either! What surprised me though was finding out that this book is considered to be one of the American masterpieces of the 20th Century.

Cormac is a very talented man - no doubt about it. However, reading this book was like eating incredibly rich food; it started out great, but I struggled to get to the end. The amount of detail he puts into each page is amazing. The words and the language are equally amazing. What he's talking about, or more importantly the point he is trying to get across, is often a mystery.

Blood Meridian is a Western novel apparently based upon historic events. It follows the tale of 'the Kid' as he falls in with some scalp-hunters, right through to it all turning sour and the fall-out. It's a gory tale and by all accounts a fairly accurate portrayal of life at the time. It has some really good moments if you can stick with it long enough to enjoy them.

One of the quirks of Cormac's writing is that he doesn't use any speech marks or apostrophes. Actually, there was only a couple of times that I had to reread the sentence to figure out what was being said. I didn't miss them at all.

Another feature of this novel is the use of old (and probably made up) words. Even one of the characters complains about it at one point! Why use this word that nobody knows the meaning of when there's a simpler one that will do the job just as well? Cormac does answer this question, but I think it is just evidence of him realising the hole he is digging for himself.

Don't worry... I'm not going to get all philosophical on you.

All right the book is difficult to understand. Get over it! It's got great plot twists and some of the prose just begs to be read out to anyone who'll listen. On the Triple B scale I rate this a 5. Go borrow the book. Give it a read. But my guess is that you're going to want to hand it back at the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment