Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blood Meridian

Well, after several library fines I have been sufficiently chastened by various folk, & have decided to do some re-reading of my own library for a bit until I can learn to be a bit more responsible. Also, it has been about a year since I read any Cormac McCarthy. So I have gone back to Blood Meridian, which is the first McCarthy that I read. I find that with his novels I have very strong image-based memories of them, so there will be two or three clear visual images associated with each book, but the more detailed, textual aspects tend to be not so memorable for me. This isn't unusual for me, and is why I tend to re-read alot, because I often find I don't remember the text all that well. However, I feel like I know these books, without factually knowing them, if that makes sense. Anyway, I am really enjoying it. His prose is slightly different and less extended here than in the Border trilogy, I think, although less direct than No Country for Old Men, which feels very different again. But you can't escape the visual clarity of his prose - I understand why people want to make films of these books, but I have no idea how you could capture even one sentence-worth of complexity in two hours of cinema. Try this as an opening paragraph:
"See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbour yet a few last wolves. His folk are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water but in truth his father has been a schoolmaster. He lies in drink, he quotes from poets whose names are now lost. The boy crouches by the fire and watches him" (p. 1).
McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian or the evening redness in the west. Picador, 1989.

Anyway, McCarthy is slow going, and requires a sturdy mood, so I will probably end up blogging this book again before I am done, but I can't recommend this writer enough.
If you are interested, there is more stuff here at, here at the New Yorker and here at Amazon. Go crazy.

No comments: