Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blood Meridian

Or the Evening Redness in the West

Once in a great while I’ll finish a book that wrings my mind to the point of sleeplessness. It hasn’t happened, I confess, for some time, but last night I finished Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and couldn’t rest for a half hour. Then I woke up at 4:45 A.M. thinking about it and couldn’t get back to sleep again until 5:30. The Judge will haunt me, I’m afraid, for as long as I live. We seem to be a race both obsessed with and plagued by violence, and the Judge drives this idea home with more force than any other character in any other medium I’ve ever known. I’ve never read the like with respect to intensity of prose, the snappy vernacular dialogue, certainly the violence, and, perhaps most of all, the taut philosophical veins that pulse through the novel. It was like looking through some ghastly peephole into the human condition, and being afraid, truly afraid, at what I saw. I don’t know if I should be, and I certainly don't want to be.

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