It is simply a bare, blood-thirsty, famished novel, exposing the dark and cryptic aspects of human nature. Blood Meridian reads like an aggressive and nightmarish war novel. And the burden of its violence is left for the reader to endure.
Each person reading this novel is going to feel their own version of horror. And in that lies the heart’s core – which is to externalize the primitive cycle of life that is its own destruction.
I get why the book is shelved as a masterpiece. The violence which is inspired by the villain archetype of Mr. Kurtz in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and of Faust’s Mephistopheles is quite engaging.
It is a lonely story, desolation is the book’s only principle, each of his characters are isolated and in that they thrive.
You’re not supposed to understand the violence taking place in the book. Because to understand it means to transcend it, to get rid of the effects that are pungent and callous.
Instead, McCarthy wants us to swallow the exteriority of violence as it is. To witness it taking place without the inward glance.
Whether darkness pervades the heart of man like a contagious disease. Or that it’s in the heart of man within that forms that which is seen and felt as darkness outside. Perhaps this is the elusive and majestic quality of the book that makes one read it through to the end.
Not a must-read for everyone because of its bleak and unthinking narrative. But it’s those very qualities that also make Blood Meridian a panoramic read.