Blood Meridian is a depressing book that’s so gorgeously written, I forgive myself for getting into it anyway. Rest assured, self, we will never again read another Cormac McCarthy epic for as long as we live. In the first place, I would never have picked up anything that has to do with Western USA because it is for me one of the most unappealing aspects of their history. I did not care for pieces of entertainment/pop culture phenomenons as True Grit, Indiana Jones and Wild Wild West, although it is not these pieces of entertainments’ fault that I find no interest in them.
I participated in Jessica Zafra’s reading session of it thinking fun will be had in what I was certain would be a gorefest. I approached the book as sort of a torture porn. I was expecting slashing, gutting, shooting, and cussing, all of which were aplenty. But Cormac McCarthy is quite the writer. I’m saying I dislike him now, but maybe it will be like the time I swore off Bret Easton Ellis and Lauryn Hill, now two of my most beloved entertainers.
Blood Meridian is about a group of ragtag Texans sent to the wilderness to do certain vicious things on Indians’ heads and then some. Never mind what for, what matters is the how. Book is so bleak, you’d want to wish it upon the life of an enemy. That is really all you need to know to want (or need) to consume such a book. That’s all I needed. To entertain myself, I imagined the guys to be of porn-star build, Glanton mainly, and the kid. And although I have difficulty imagining Judge Holden to be a hot young (or old) stud, I perk up every time he says something deceptively wise yet nasty.
It’s the kind of fiction that encourages you to emote out all of your pessimistic views of the world. The presumably few who enjoyed and relished this type of horror would not disagree with the pessimism, I think. If you finished this and came to the conclusion that the world is harsh, you will be met with approving nods, and maybe even congratulated. In the reading group, it was agreed that after reading this, you feel a surge of gratitude that your life (or your scalp) is not someone else to take and sell, and that you have wi-fi connections, cakes and all the pleasurable things a human is supposed to have. But maybe the Indians’ scalping is the civilized person’s everyday stress. Other things you will be congratulated for is for finishing. For forging ahead and not giving up on the torrent of ugliness. One of the reading buddies in the group felt like showering herself thoroughly and the other one experienced a soul draining-like sensation that I could only attempt to imagine. Mostly, I felt my impatience grow stronger with every page. And as usual, the nagging feelings of inadequacy, brains-wise.
But more than the reading experience, it is meeting Jessica that made it worthwhile. I had a Jessica Zafra phase. In college, I sacrificed an accounting class (Very Big Deal) to had my Twisted 6 copy signed (she iced me – totally expected and deserved), which in my tackiness I kind of showed off to some of my block mates. What better way to meet her than through experiencing a Cormac McCarthy horror show. I told Momel about my reservations, mainly that she might not actually like me, that she might find my lack of opinion subversive to what she specifically required for a reading group participant to have: opinions. I was worried that I might come off boring which is truly like me worrying about having lungs or having a nose. If you know your Jessica Zafra, you’ll know better than to worry about such silly things. She turned out to be an affable mediator of a gory book reading group. I’m glad I went to the meeting because it would have been a waste of a Cormac McCarthy reading if I hadn’t. I’m just sorry I gave her the impression that my reading habits are dictated by a book’s cheapness which is not 100% true (‘What books do you scour for?’, ‘Yung mura’). My reading habit is actually heavily influenced by the amount of discipline I’m willing to impose myself to pry myself away from all my online things. Thanks, Jessica, for sitting me down to read and finish an actual, physical novel.