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Description

Author of the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most provocative American stylists to emerge in the last century. The striking novel Blood Meridian offers an unflinching narrative of the brutality that accompanied the push west on the 1850s Texas frontier.
©1985 Cormac McCarthy (P)2007 Recorded Books

Critiques

“The authentic American apocalyptic novel…I venture that no other living American novelist, not even Pynchon, has given us a book as strong and memorable as Blood Meridian.” (Harold Bloom)
"McCarthy is a writer to be read, to be admired, and quite honestly envied." (Ralph Ellison)
"McCarthy is a born narrator, and his writing has, line by line, the stab of actuality. He is here to stay." (Robert Penn Warren)

Ce que les membres d'Audible en pensent

Notations

Global

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Histoire

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Colin
  • 22/03/2008

Existential leavings

A friend of mine mentioned that Cormac McCarthy described his Pulitzer Prize winning 'The Road' book as his most optimistic. Having found it bleak and spare and a slice of the dystopia that seems to await us, I thought what are his non-optimistic books like. "Blood Meridian" answers this question with a punch to the consciousness that left me reeling. Brilliantly written and conceived Cormac uses starkly defined characters, almost archetypal in their construct, to drag the latent depravity and soulless nihilism embedded in the human condition. It's not easy reading. The casual descriptions of brutality are at times shocking and that, I think, is the point.
So, yes, by contrast, "The Road" is brim full of hope and optimism.
Highly recommended.

85 sur 88 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Howard
  • 26/12/2011

Great writer, but is there a point here?

No question Cormac is tops with words. But I kept wanting to go back and re-listen, thinking I must have missed something, because I had no idea what the book was trying to convey. Does a theme of raw human brutality on the wild frontier have some transcendent purpose I am too thick-headed to apprehend? Apparently so. One good thing about this kind of audio is that if I ever run out of fresh things to listen to, I can always put this on and enjoy McCarthy's word craft. But if there was some "take away" in this, I missed it. Really liked The Road and will probably listen to No Country at some point cause I loved the movie. But then again, there are a number of highly acclaimed works that I have failed to "get."

16 sur 16 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 11/07/2011

A beautiful nightmare

Brutally violent, Blood Meridian turns the 19th century American West into a kind of hellish but hauntingly beautiful dreamscape, through which a gang of mercenaries wanders, killing without aim or reason. There is no comfort to be found anywhere in this novel, which overturns all Old West Myths, leaving only a stark, maddening world in which man exists on the edge of nihilism, "civilization" an illusion. The characters are almost opaque, reduced to actions in minimal dialogue. Even the language seems intended to confound and discomfit the reader, mixing arcane, half-forgotten scientific and philosophical terms with passages that sound almost like something from the Bible.

Yet, McCarthy is the definition of a powerful writer. His prose is hypnotic, the book's scenes affecting the reader as much by their eerie beauty and lyricism as by the horror and violence contained within. Their images will stick around in your head for days. The Judge, a monstrous, demihuman prodigy at the center of novel, whose amused, philosophical queries about whether or not the scenes around him represent man in man's natural state, is one of the more memorable characters I've come across in fiction.

Make no mistake, Blood Meridian is filled with powerful questions, about morality, about evil, about humanity's need for violence and dominance, about the nature of God, and so forth. Sometimes these questions are expressed explicitly, usually by the Judge, but mostly, they swirl just beneath the surface of the nightmare, challenging the reader to peer into the abyss and examine them. Though we don't live in such lawless times anymore, the distance from our safe doorsteps to the modern equivalent of a gang of roving, murderous scalpers may be shorter than we think.

McCarthy will certainly never be an author to everyone's taste, and not with this work, but Blood Meridian has made a few critics' "Best of the 20th Century" lists for a good reason. This is a first-rate work of modern literature.

77 sur 81 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jordan
  • 25/11/2008

Perhaps not meant to be listened to.

I should start by saying, I really love Cormac McCarthy's works.

In fact, I think that I would really 'enjoy' Blood Meridian, if I were to have the words in front of me. And I recommend to everyone, All the Pretty Horses, The Road, No Country for Old Men, etc.

The poetic lilt of his prose, his unique approach to storytelling, and the uncompromising spectrum of issues that he gets the reader to confront, make him author with few (if any) superiors in the English language.

The narrator is actually quite good, but the problem with Blood Meridian as an audiobook is actually due to the very qualities that make his books so great. This is a book that demands 100% of your attention at all times, and perhaps to read over a paragraph a few times or relate it to some small passage somewhere earlier in the book.

This is hard to do when listening to a book, and at times I feel frustrated and pulled along faster than I want to be, and losing the narrative line, and subsequently my connection to the story.

I think I will get this book in print and then listen to the book and reference it when needed.

103 sur 109 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 20/06/2007

Approach at your own risk!

Through the mid to late 1850’s, a gang of men ride the western frontier indulging in an orgy of violence and depravity. The landscape is bleak and hellish, their wandering, aimless and seemingly endless, the vistas deeply symbolic and portentous. On the course of our journey through McCarthy’s dense and vivid prose we are confronted by many questions and themes which are beyond the ability of this particular reader to understand fully.
Rather than attempt any examination of this work instead I direct the potential reader to the internet where may be found a rich vein of critical analysis on this novel. This an astonishing vision, a rare work. It is not “The Road”, but rather its darker and more complex, older sibling. At almost 14 hours it is a remorseless and demanding undertaking. Approach at your own risk.

58 sur 61 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ross
  • 07/05/2016

Long, brutal, and mostly aimless

I decided to read this book after finishing Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which was perhaps the most profound novel I have read for years. When I saw that Blood Meridian, not The Road, is widely considered to be McCarthy's masterpiece, I had to check it out.

I'm sad to say that I was very disappointed. In true McCarthy style, the book is written in vivid prose that relies heavily on similes. Some of the scenes--the Indian attack on the dry lake, for instance--are among the most skillfully illustrated scenes I've ever encountered, and their breathtaking imagery will remain with me for a long time.

Unfortunately, McCarthy's unique talent with words and cadence is not enough to overcome the book's failings. Perhaps because of the history upon which it is based, the book's plot is threadbare. There is no readily discernible arc or story or conflict. The book's main character disappears for hours at a time, removing all feelings of investment on the part of the reader. The book is, with only a few exceptions, comprised of repeated and verbose descriptions of wandering in a desert waste punctuated by scenes of perhaps the most grotesque violence in modern fiction. There were scenes in Blood Meridian that were so horrific and depraved that I nearly abandoned the book.

But unlike the violence in The Road, which serves to convey an important statement about the nature of men and to create a contrasting background against which McCarthy paints the goodness of the man and the boy, Blood Meridian's violence strikes me as gratuitous revelry. McCarthy seems to bask in the blood and cruelty, lingering for far too long on scenes of terrible evil without ever offering a balance. There are no good men in Blood Meridian, only oppressive, repeated, unspeakable evil. There are no real protagonists or characters with whom readers can identify or connect. There are just bad men who offer varying degrees of evil, and who ride around the desert committing atrocities. The book suffers immensely for this lack of moral grounding. It becomes a lacerating, demoralizing slog toward no particular goal or closure. Perhaps McCarthy wished to make a statement by writing the book this way, but I found that it greatly diminished my ability to become connected with the story or the characters in any meaningful way.

The sole saving grace on the character front is the Judge. Preternaturally intelligent and entirely amoral, he is perhaps the most enigmatic character I've ever encountered. Literature classes all over the country have puzzled over the Judge and his role. Is he God? Is he the devil? Is he simply the incarnation of the entirety of man? Is he even real? The character McCarthy created in Holden is simply brilliant, and I found myself simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by him. The book's closing chapters focus heavily on the Judge, and are arguably the best portion of the entire novel.

I will give the story two stars because of McCarthy's raw prowess with language, the fascinating case study in evil and knowledge offered by the Judge, and the strength of the final chapters. Overall, though, I struggled to enjoy the book. And given its length, that is a real problem.

One final point: The narrator did an outstanding job interpreting, coloring, and bringing to life McCarthy's often impenetrable prose. Five stars for narration.

13 sur 13 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 19/10/2007

Bleak but Fascinating

This book presents many of the same themes and works in similar tones found in "The Road". In fact, were dates not used during the tale, you would be hard pressed to differentiate the world of Blood Meridian from McCarthy's other apocalyptic wasteland.

This is not a simple cowboy story. It is a harsh tale of cruel characters in an unforgiving land. It is a challenging tale to listen to. But it is also masterfully told (and rather well narrated). If you liked "The Road", this is highly recommended.

36 sur 39 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • James C. Maddox
  • 25/09/2009

High lit, well-read.

Never before have I encountered a book that went so far over my head the first time I read through it, but Blood Meridian passed by so high, it's taken me quite some time to reach a point that I could appreciate the work for all its accomplishments. This book is a chore, plainly stated, but - like so many difficult yet great books that are out there - it will be worthwhile for those who decided to take up the task.
As for the reading, Poe did a fantastic job in his narration. Not over-the-top but not a monotonous drone, his choices in the voicing of these characters allowed for the text to really speak out.

17 sur 18 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • C.S.
  • 07/11/2007

Masterpiece

The definitive portrait of the American West. The definitive novel by the most important writer of his generation. The writing is stunningly beautiful, and Richard Poe's reading is spot-on. A flawless masterpiece on paper and, equally remarkably, in this recorded format. So be a major thinker and put down that Dan Brown: count yourself among the few of your generation who have experienced BLOOD MERIDIAN, the MOBY DICK of its century, before it's too late.

30 sur 33 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jefferson
  • 23/12/2011

A Violent, Apocalyptic, Beautiful Western

Blood Meridian thrusts us into the deserts of 1849 Mexico, a pumice-floored, dust-coated, sun-blasted, blood-soaked, bone-punctuated wasteland of the soul. This "hallucinatory void" is home to snarling flies, demonic swine, vampire bats, ghostly wolves, spitting basilisks, harpy eagles, muttering ducks, and buzzards like black bishops. But the horrifying creatures are the wandering bands of Indians and Americans, performers of creative torture, casual murder, and orgiastic massacre, including eye-gouging, tongue-skewering, skull-crushing, intestine-spilling, scalp-hacking, ear-collecting, genital-lopping, skin-flaying, girl-raping, and baby-hanging. And the "calamitous" and "boiling" sun rises to meridian "like the eye of God," bookended by bloody skies bookended by starry darkness.

Through it all wanders "the kid," a 16-year-old blessed or cursed "pilgrim." He may be the moral center of the novel, though his trajectory is warped by his amoral father figure, "the judge," a giant, hairless, devil-idol-polyglot-polymath-philosopher who wants to become the "suzerain" of the world by cataloguing or killing everything in it. The judge, white as Moby-Dick and charismatic as the Confidence-Man, says that "war is God," and who may gainsay him?

Unlike Virginia Woolf, McCarthy reveals the souls of his characters through speech, action, and landscape rather than through stream of consciousness thought. A grim beauty flares in his biblical style, vivid descriptions, and dramatic similes (though at times he may stretch too far for portent): "in the night bats came from some nether part of the world to stand on leather wings like dark satanic hummingbirds and feed at the mouths of those flowers."

Reader Richard Poe relates all with a compelling hint of morbid fascination or appalled excitement behind his gravelly, hard-boiled voice.

If you like unromantic, unpredictable, violent, apocalyptic, and beautiful westerns that expose the hellish pit in the human heart, listen to this book.

22 sur 24 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Viewtiful
  • 10/11/2015

Terrible Voice Actor

I was rly looking forward to listen to this during my vacation but all you listen to is that speaker licking his lipps every few seconds. Its disgusting!
Gonna return this book, thanks god for this audible option.

1 sur 5 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.