BLOOD MERIDIAN or The Evening Redness in the West
By Cormac McCarthy
We are hungry. We are dirty. We are thirsting for both water and the blood of our enemies.
We ride endlessly along the often fluid border between Mexico and Texas.
We ambush, raid, stalk and attempt total genocide. Then we turn and run
from those who wish to exterminate us, until the cycle starts anew.
It is the mid-19th century.
We are following The Kid.
The Kid is just fourteen years old, a gangly adolescent Tennesseean who is looking
for a shot of rotgut whiskey, a hot meal and a place to spent the night.
An impromtu bar fight leaves him bleeding in the mud with a total stranger,
and that chance meeting quickly results in a long series of mishaps with
the whiff of bad karma about them.
Soon totally out of his element, the Kid stumbles onto a nightmarish landscape where
illiterate, mindlessly violent white men slaughter Indians for profit
and collect their scalps as evidence. Then he joins an existentialy deadened
and macabre "army" out to "set them Mexicans straight" and immediately
finds himself in an even deeper hole.
Cormac McCarthy can be mannered, but he is a writer of such resonance and power that I
found it difficult to read more than a few pages of BLOOD MERIDIAN at a time. That is the highest compliment I can offer any author. When he describes the true life terrors attendant to our mythologized "wild
west" (seen perhaps as it actually was), he is as mesmerizing and bone-chilling as any master of the horror genre.
BLOOD MERIDIAN is a walk through a charnal house. This book is a dark fantasy to be sure,
but it is based on real events; and more-or-less accurate in its depiction
of the racist, triadic conflict between Texas and Mexico and the native
Americans who shared the land. I think it was Jeff VanderMeer who first
suggested that I buy this book and revel in its ghastly imagery, sleek
prose style, dead-on southwestern vernacular and impeccably dark, bloody
I would suggest you do the same. BLOOD MERIDIAN gets five bookwyrms.
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
Return to Story Time