Blood Meridian, Or, The Evening Redness in the West

Blood Meridian, Or, The Evening Redness in the West

Book - 1992
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Based on incidents that took place in the southwestern United States and Mexico around 1850, this novel chronicles the crimes of a band of desperados, with a particular focus on one, "the kid," a boy of fourteen.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1992, c1985
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 9780679728757
Branch Call Number: FIC McCa
Characteristics: 337 p. ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Evening redness in the West


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Although McCarthy’s The Road deservedly won him the Pulitzer Prize, Blood Meridian ranks as his most important book. Similar to The Road, which depicts a father and son traversing a modern post-apocalyptic wasteland, Blood Meridian captures the stark violence and endless depravity that stretched across the broad landscape of the barren southwest in the 1850s. Both books are similar in that a central character is a young boy surviving under the protection of an indomitable male figure. In Blood Meridian, the “kid” is without a family. Coming from Tennessee and traveling alone, he latches onto a cruelly violent group of mercenaries who have been contracted to take the scalps of Indian renegades who are terrorizing towns near the border states, ranging from Texas to California. The kid’s experiences are an understatement of baptism by violence. The ruthless lifestyle of the ragtag group of cowboy militia includes many memorable characters, such as Glanton, Toadvine, and the inimitable monster of a man, Judge Holden, simply called “the judge.” McCarthy’s literary style and his lyrical language are unparalleled in American literature. As he did to perfection in The Road, passages in Blood Meridian reach profound levels of grandeur and beauty, even as McCarthy envisions unspeakable acts of barbarity. Whereas The Road serves as a premonition of a dismal future, Blood Meridian reflects upon history’s atrocities and the madness carried forward from an infinite past. This novel is McCarthy’s masterpiece, but in many ways it seems to serve as a more lengthy and precursory meditation to The Road. Both novels solidify McCarthy’s lifelong vision of examining the terrifying presence of violence through his signature use of breathtaking prose.

Nicr Jul 14, 2017

Bleak and harrowing, an epic, poetic masterwork that will haunt the reader forever.

Jun 04, 2017

Quite possibly the most chilling and horrifying book ever written, 'Blood Meridian' is a unnerving glimpse of humanity at its worst during one of the most savage periods in American history. McCarthy pulls back the curtain to reveal the unforgivable evils and trespasses our species made all too often and all too easily in a new world, a novel that shows us the true price we paid in bodies and blood for the expansion of the 'Wild West'.

Mar 06, 2017

Wordy, bloody and unrelenting- this Western is widely acknowledged to be Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.

Mar 04, 2017

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 Tennessean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

Timmeh4248 Jan 19, 2017

This book is the second most violent and disturbing thing I have read. The Kid lives in a world that is perpetually bloody. The book is aptly named.

Unlike American Psycho I do feel that I may read this again. McCarthy alternates between lyrical beauty, philosophical whimsy, and startling evil and gore. I'm am not sure that a second reading will bring me any closer to understanding the world or humanity. I just feel like McCarthy's message is just beyond the reach of my fingertips. The meaning is there but just needs to be decrypted.

For some reason the scene where the dancing bear gets shot just really disturbed me. And perhaps that little epilogue where the anonymous guy is making holes in the ground while other guys try to make sense out of the random holes is the point. There is no point. No matter how you live your life; whether you're good, bad, or ugly, we all end up at the same place.

Dec 27, 2016

I was so disappointed in this book. I gave it one star because I have really enjoyed all the other books I have read by this author. Three-fourths of the book were just senseless killings and then when it finally got back to the main character near the end, the book just ended in the strangest way without me really understanding what was going on. I also spent time, while reading this book, translating the Spanish parts so I could understand what was happening in the story.

Nov 27, 2016

Layers upon layers of meaning. Every sentence is a little treasure to be read over and over. Characters that I have only begun to understand. This is a book that I will always have laying around. It can be opened at any page to mull over a paragraph or ponder a sentence or two. This is not an enjoyable book and many people will find it intolerable to read. But it set my brain on fire and books like that don't come around every day.

Aug 15, 2016

This book is like Moby Dick on meth. The writing is amazingly elegant and poetic. It is filled with scenes of bloody savagery the likes of which I have never seen before. Yet, instead of recoiling in horror, the narration takes you along a giddy, exhilarating ride.

This is Cormac McCarthy at his best.

May 06, 2016

I'm enjoying the story. I have no problem with the violence, blood and gore, in fact I like a good bit of violence and sometimes see sense in it where others wouldn't. On the other hand the language, words, style are confounding me. If this was a SPA romance or erotica I would be transcribing the page long sentences as examples of why the book is dreadful and not one I would recommend. I would also have DNFd it by now. But this is Cormac McCarthy, he's reputed to be a fabulous writer and he made a conscious decision to write those page long sentences. That must mean that an atrocious lack of what is considered correct grammar is okay when it's done by a best-selling author. Right? Well, I'm not so sure about that. I'm not sure whether it speaks of literary genius or, as another reviewer Jonathan, put it literary gimmickry. As I am still enjoying the plot and managing to continue to follow the language I will persevere, but I'm pretty sure I won't be attempting any other of his novels if they are filled with this style of writing. It's just not my cup of tea (or any other beverage of any kind).

The frequent use of Spanish without any hope of a translation is just adding to the ever-growing pile of hay on that camel's back. I don't speak any Spanish, not any at all (except muchos gracias). It's just not fair *stamps foot in frustration* to use a foreign language in an English language book without either repeating the phrases in English or having a glossary. How can McCarthy expect his readers to get the full benefit of his story if not all of them can read all of the dialogue? It's not like it's single words either, they're whole sentences, which makes it hard (impossible) to guess what's being said from the context.

Moving on from the foreign language problems to sentences whose words I can read with ease, but whose meaning I still can't make heads or tails of: "He passed and so passed all into the problematical destruction of darkness." *In a small, slightly embarrassed voice* What does that mean? I'm not sure if the darkness is destructive or if the darkness is being destroyed. To be continued...
P.S. Great death scene at the campfire!! Very evocative and memorable.

I've just read on Wikipedia's Blood Meridian page that it's considered McCarthy's masterpiece. That scares me, because if the language in this is difficult, I'm never going to manage any of his lesser works where I'll likely get the same language with a less interesting plot. Has anyone else heard the urban legend that if you listen to The Beatles' White Album backwards there are satanic messages in the lyrics? Well, while I'm reading Blood Meridian I keep getting subliminal messages, but they're not telling me to kill, they're telling me to DNF because life is too short and I have better books waiting for me. Let's do a poll! Hands up if you think I should listen to the subliminal messages. Okay, now hands up if you think I should just ignore them. Thanks, I'll take your opinions into consideration.

*sigh* This just stopped being worth my time. I really wasn't enjoying the language and as I skimmed a couple of other reviews I saw that there were comments about the book not really going anywhere plotwise (didn't really encourage me to persevere with the book despite my difficulties with the language). Sorry Mr McCarthy it looks like your books are going to be a DNF followed by numerous NFMs (not for me).

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Feb 18, 2017

bookreaderman thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 04, 2010

ChaseU thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


Add Notices

Feb 04, 2010

Violence: Blood Meridian is the most violent book I have ever read written by the bloodiest author I have ever read.

Feb 04, 2010

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CHPL

To Top