Blood Meridian

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So, I’ve been re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.  I came across this piece of dialogue spoken by the character of Judge Holden, who is perhaps the novel’s most disturbing figure, but also the most fascinating.  There’s always something about McCarthy’s astounding mastery of language – both simple and transcendent, straight-to-the-point and yet beautifully mysterious – that makes one want to sit up, take notice and copy down some quotes:

JUDGE HOLDEN: The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in the medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part or in any other part.  Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others. (245)

– Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

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6 thoughts on “Blood Meridian

  1. I enjoy the way McCarthy writes yet find little in his work that impresses me, firs off there is a lack of speech marks which is always going to annoy somebody like me and then there is always a feeling of style over substance. I enjoyed The Road until I thought about it and then it seemed lacking. No doubt I will probably end up reading this as I always seem to give him just one more go.

    • He definitely writes in a very specific style, that either appeals to the reader or doesn’t. I do think that Blood Meridian takes a little time to get going, but the payoff is worth it, at least for me. The closing chapter is particularly haunting, and only becomes more disturbing upon further inspection.

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