24 Mar 2019
I rarely abandon books, and even more rarely after already reading over halfway through, but I abandoned Blood Meridian with about 100 pages to go. The story is bleak and each reading session issued blunt trauma. Were I discovering some deeper meaning or following an interesting character arc or holding out for some narrative conclusion, I could push through the unpleasant atrocities described within and read to the end. But reading this book is to be an outsider denied entry: denied entry into any of the characters’ thoughts or interior. What motivates The Kid? Who is The Reverend, really? What is the point of all this?
I read and deeply appreciated McCarthy’s The Road, and while that book is also very dark, the key difference is it provides something (very significant!) to hope for. There’s a reason to keep reading. There are nuanced characters to cherish and savor and weigh. I didn’t find any of this in Blood Meridian, so I decided to abandon it and the nihilism it smothered me with.