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Thread: I Couldn't Stand Blood Meridiain

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    I Couldn't Stand Blood Meridiain

    This book enjoys an incredible reputation, but I found it a slog of pure drudgery. The long prose passages that are hailed again and again by critics as remarkably beautiful, to me were ugly and boring. The entire book was a gigantic bore to me, but I finished it dutifully. I was never so glad to turn the last page of any book. The first duty of any author is to keep a reader's interest. McCarthy could not keep mine. I would rather read Moby Dick backwards than slog through Blood Meridian again. I can honestly say I hated the book and will never read anything by McCarthy again.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I haven't read the book, but if I find I don't like a book I will not get past ten pages. That's why I like flash fiction. By the time I realize I don't like it, I've finished it. Same goes for poetry except instead of ten pages it is four lines.

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    That's how it is with many authors. What one likes is very difficult to understand.

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    I thought it was great, but can obviously see where it's not for everyone. I was also already a McCarthy fan, having previously read The Road and the whole Border Trilogy. I was skeptical at some points about how it was going to end or what the point of the numbing travel and violence would be, but the revelation, whatever you interpret it to be, about Holden made it all work for me, as I kind of figured/hoped the end would.

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desiresjab View Post
    This book enjoys an incredible reputation, but I found it a slog of pure drudgery. The long prose passages that are hailed again and again by critics as remarkably beautiful, to me were ugly and boring. The entire book was a gigantic bore to me, but I finished it dutifully. I was never so glad to turn the last page of any book. The first duty of any author is to keep a reader's interest. McCarthy could not keep mine. I would rather read Moby Dick backwards than slog through Blood Meridian again. I can honestly say I hated the book and will never read anything by McCarthy again.
    It's a bit of a shame you don't like it. It's a western isn't. I've been thinking I should read another western. I read all the Lonesome Dove series and loved them. I read True Grit and loved that. However, it's an unfashionable genre now. I noticed Blood Meridian in my local bookshop. I have been irritated by the film adaptions of Cormac McArthur's other books. No Country for Old Men did not seem to go anywhere, and it's just not realistic. The Road was the most depressing film I've ever watched, almost comically so.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Its true that westerns as a genre are unfashionable, there was a time when they were two a penny, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, are two I remember from the 1950s. Not all books by an author are likeable, or can be written off as unfashionable, each book needs to be taken as it comes. Grapes of Wrath I liked a lot, but Steinbeck's next book left me cold. I now try to read every book I come across to give it a chance. Sometimes I surprise myself...

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    Haha, well steer clear of Blood Meridian after all, because there's not much to feel good about in it.

    I'd go for The Border Trilogy if you want to try him in Western form but are wary of a 100% downer.

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    It’s sad. A book is not always for every reader.

    For me Blood Meridian, when I read it both times, felt a bit futile at times. Yet I would say that it was all worth it — worth it for the rich sonority of McCarthy’s great prose, for the haunting power of his Judge Holden, for the psychological and spare potency of its naarrative and even weirdly blank characterizations of the Glanton gang. I am also fascinated by the anti-heroic heroic side of the Kid, who does end up as a kind of Promethean figure in his resistance to the Judge (some readers have also compared him to the Christ of the Grand Inquisitor parable to Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov).

    I’d say Blood Meridian might be the greatest American novel ever since The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and Absalom, Absalom! (Or As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Light in August). It’s so compelling just even to think about, reminds me of something Homer might write if he lived in the nineteenth century and decided to write in sonorous and complex prose.

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    McCarthy can paint some very vivid action scenes, but trying to read that book is like trudging through the bog of eternal stench while flogging myself.

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    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Cormac McCarthy's prose, and storytelling, is masterful. The hyperviolent nature of the book does make it difficult to plow through, and it is truly unrelenting, right to the final moments, but it is an epic recording, and one that may well deserve a place in the American canon.

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    There is no canon, but that's another matter. I find McCarthy's violent images and somewhat hallucinatory prose style perfect for the sun-baked badlands he describes. (I must admit, though, there is a certain type of McCarthy-worshipping academic I find extremely irritating). For me, Blood Meridian stimulated ideas about the human condition and predicament in a cruel and seemingly Godless world. I don't ask much more from a novel than that. The unrelenting violence is obviously not for everybody, and McCarthy's diction (here and elsewhere) can come off as a bit pompous. I've gotten something from each of his novels, but I can easily see how someone would not care for them. He or she should read something else--is that really so hard?
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 11-14-2017 at 10:20 AM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    So never try to discuss something well-regarded that you don't like on a discussion board? Never look for insight from people who are there to discuss literature? I love the book, but I don't see where you apparent annoyance is coming from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiskeyclone View Post
    So never try to discuss something well-regarded that you don't like on a discussion board? Never look for insight from people who are there to discuss literature? I love the book, but I don't see where you apparent annoyance is coming from.
    There's nothing wrong with negatively criticizing novels. But what "insights" has DJ offered about "Blood Meridian"? Desiresjab's OP is about Desiresjab -- he gives us no hints about what his objections to Blood Meridian comprise. I'll admit that this is a fairly common form of criticism -- people love to talk about themselves. Nonetheless, it is a bore.

    Of course all criticism expresses a reaction to the work of art being criticized, but unless the critic can provide some reasons for his reaction, his critique is self indulgent and (to most readers) dull. DJ writes, "This book enjoys an incredible reputation, but I found it a slog of pure drudgery. The long prose passages that are hailed again and again by critics as remarkably beautiful, to me were ugly and boring." OK. Thanks for sharing. Had DJ shared the reasons critics have praised the novel, and then explained why it didn't work for him, his post might have been mildly interesting. Instead, his post is simply a self-indulgent rant, offering no reasons for his reaction to the novel. Indeed, the novel is irrelevant to the post. It's all about DJ.

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