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Literary Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
#1  sun surfer 06-13-2019, 01:52 PM
'An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.'

Full title- Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Goodreads


Anyone can discuss any part or aspect at any time, though a softly recommended discussion timeframe is given below.
-The first quarter within a week
-The second quarter within two weeks
-The third quarter within three weeks
-The fourth quarters within four weeks


This is the MR Literary Club selection for June 2019. Everyone is welcome so feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time; the more the merrier!


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#2  sun surfer 06-13-2019, 02:01 PM
I'm excited for this book. We haven't read an American book in the lit club since the Patricia Highsmith last September, and you can't hardly get more American than a Western!

As I mentioned before, I'd read McCarthy's The Road and enjoyed it, and it's definitely an experience in lit style. From the sample I read of this before voting this one also looks to have a distinct style.
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#3  Bookworm_Girl 06-17-2019, 09:11 PM
sunsurfer, I’ll be interested to know how you think this book compares to McCarthy’s other works. He has been noted by critics as a disciple of Melville and Faulkner.

I borrowed the book from my library and have read three chapters so far. The literary style is definitely different such as creative use of punctuation and interesting phrasing and structure of sentences. I like how the chapters are formatted with list headings like older style books. The vocabulary is also a distinct, and my dictionary is getting a work out! He chooses his words to fit the time period and the atmosphere.
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#4  Bookworm_Girl 06-19-2019, 03:43 PM
How about that description of the Comanches and the subsequent battle in Chapter IV! That was quite some vivid and brutal imagery and sentences longer than one Kindle screen.
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#5  sun surfer 06-21-2019, 06:02 PM
Just getting there now! Not too long ago I watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which is an anthology western film. One of the segments featured a brutal assault by Native American Indians that my mind immediately went to when I started reading this part.
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#6  Bookworm_Girl 06-21-2019, 07:39 PM
I have passed the one third mark. The imagery is so overpowering and raw that you have to take this book in small doses. I saw your post in the audiobook thread. A whiny voice for the kid is not true to the feel of the book. He is a hardened youth accustomed to violence and fighting for your own survival. These are different times when kids grew up fast under difficult circumstances.
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#7  AnotherCat 06-23-2019, 08:56 PM
I am about a third of my way through now. It is hard for me to say that it is a book to enjoy in the "it is a happy story" manner, but in the sense of its style, story and apparent honesty (so far) I do like the book. My dictionary is getting a workout as McCarthy uses (apart from the Mexican Spanish) some interesting word usages and twists on those in metaphors.

Where it is leading to I do not know but the story carries well for me so far. I suspect the book would be unattractive to those who subscribe to the noble savage and the golden era views of history, and disturbing for those of an exaggerated wokiness leading to a hatred of characters of long past uncomfortable history or who are squeamish; but I don't think such things should detract from considering a work as good literature, especially if it is honest as this book seems to me to be so far.

The book came to mind to me with reference to the sun mainly due to its Evening Redness in the West subtitle and the little I knew about it, but I am impressed by the many references to "westwards", "twilight", "dusk" etc. An example snip that has stuck in my mind is "Itinerant degenerates bleeding westward like some heliotropic plague".
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#8  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2019, 01:26 PM
Quote AnotherCat
It is hard for me to say that it is a book to enjoy in the "it is a happy story" manner, but in the sense of its style, story and apparent honesty (so far) I do like the book. My dictionary is getting a workout as McCarthy uses (apart from the Mexican Spanish) some interesting word usages and twists on those in metaphors.

Where it is leading to I do not know but the story carries well for me so far.
I agree with these points very much! I am hoping to finish up the book over the long holiday weekend here in the US. I am in the second half of the book and still not sure where it's heading and how it will end. I'm speculating the wrap-up will be pretty powerful.
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#9  sun surfer 07-04-2019, 01:55 PM
I'm in a similar position being about 3/5 through right now. I generally listen to audiobooks faster but I found myself re-listening to large swaths of this book over again because of the harsh lyrical quality of the writing and the vivid imagery.
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#10  Bookworm_Girl 07-04-2019, 02:22 PM
I've been holding off reading any critiques of the book until I finish. I think there will be some interesting thoughts on love it or hate it out there.
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