One thing I am so sick and tiring of reading is the violence in Blood Meridian. True this is a book with a high body count but I see it as McCarthy’s way of telling us that the desert is a brutal place with no morals and full of savagery. It’s not violence for the sake of it.
The book starts off with the main character (called the kid) running away from his house and travelling to Mexico. On the way he gets arrested and his only way of escape is to join a gang of scalp hunters, led by The Judge.
The Judge has got to be one of the most fearsome literary characters ever invented. A man with his own code of morality , he kills and destroys life and yet he records the things he’s never seen in a notebook, and he adopts a mentally defective child on his journey with the scalp hunters.
Like All the Pretty Horses , McCarthy’s desert is full of nasty surprises and a certain ugliness assaults one wherever you go. Whether it is an army of blood thirsty Indians or a bear, danger is everywhere and the troop of scalp hunters will stop at no cost to get their precious pound of hair filled flesh, even killing their own team in the process.
Yes this is a big ugly book , but McCarthy’s poetic descriptions just elevate it to another plateau. There’s even a cinematic quality to the writing, however unless it’s Alejandro Jodrowsky, I can’t really imagine anyone else trying to adapt Blood Meridian.