Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy's classic western novel from 1985 has only now been translated in Finnish and I finished the translation a week back. I've already written two pieces on the book (one is available here, though it's in Finnish, understandably), so I won't have much to say about it here.

One could say that this is the antiwestern to kill all antiwesterns. Blood Meridian buries a lot of the clichés associated with the western genre under the hellish amount of dead and mutilated bodies and does it with style that's both baroque and extremely hardboiled at the same time. I really don't know how McCarthy does it. Some of the battle scenes are truly stomach-wrenching in a way that not many books are.

All this said, I must confess I'm not hundred percent sure what McCarthy wants to say with his book. Is he really saying that war and violence are inherent in all men - in all nature, even? Is the mysterious judge a spokesperson for his own values (this is quite possibly the case with the sheriff in No Country for Old Men) or is McCarthy trying to say something important, possibly something contrary to the judge's opinions? Is he just playing with the reader? You can never tell what the judge is trying to say with his long monologues.

This confusion makes for some fascinating reading, all right, but at times I wasn't exactly sure what to think of McCarthy.

Included is the photo of the Finnish edition, with the cover by Mika Tuominen. The Finnish title means "To the Edge of Blood" or something along those lines.

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