Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Thinking Man's Western: A Short Review

I recently finished reading Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece novel, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West. It tells the story of a young man, called "the Kid," and his experiences riding with the Glanton Gang, a group of scalp-hunters that terrorized Mexico and the Southwest in the years following the Mexican War. 

While I liked this book quite a bit, I hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is not up to the task. Many of the passages in the book are difficult to read and somewhat inaccessible. In fact, I doubt I would have finished it had I not been listening to it on tape. Also, as the title indicates, the novel contains a lot of blood.  If violence isn't your thing, skip this novel.

But if you aren't put off by its style and content, Blood Meridian has a lot to offer. In many ways, the novel reminds me thematically of Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood--especially near the end, when the Kid's inability to escape the Judge, the novel's chief antagonist, seems similar in nature to Hazel Motes's inability to escape the figure of Christ.

Unfortunately, I hear Hollywood is attempting to adapt this novel to film. Hollywood has never been very successful at adapting unadaptable novels, and this novel is probably unadaptable. I also expect that a film version of Blood Meridian would essentially be unwatchable because of the violence. Some images, I believe, are best left to print.  

1 comment:

  1. I think I will skip this book. I like Louis L'Amour's west. :)
    Not quite so gory.