Tag Archives: Blood Meridian

Book Review: Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West

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I’m rereading parts of it right now. As it happens in rereading any great author, what was once original is now a caricature of itself. It is impossible to recapture the first reading, try as you might. A drink can help.

The Text 

Whatever exists, he said. Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.

I can relate though less out of dominion and more out of anxiety. I’m troubled by there being information that I don’t know or understand. Of course what I know will always be trumped by what I do not. Still there are gains to be made.

…and allowing as he did that men’s destinies are given yet he usurped to contain within him all that he would ever be in the world and all that the word would be to him and be his charter written in the urstone itself he claimed agency and said so and he’d drive the remorseless sun on to its final endarkenment as if he’d ordered it all ages since…

Or to put it another way: our philosophies – fate, lack of free will, god’s will, or whatever it might be – always give way to our claims of agency, which is our greatest emotion.

By and by the judge rose and moved away on some obscure mission and after a while someone asked the expriest if it were true that at one time there had been two moons in the sky and the expriest eyed the flask moon above them and said that it may well have been so. But certainly the wise high God in his dismay at the proliferation of lunacy on this earth must have wetted a thumb and leaned down out of the abyss and pinched it hissing into extinction. 

I’ve always suspected as much.

The thing about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat rick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance repopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent…

I like the phrase bled it of its strangeness, which is probably inevitable for functioning, but perhaps escapable in reflection.

He rose and turned toward the lights of the town. The tide-pools bright as smelterpots among the dark rocks where the phosphorescent seacrabs clambered back. Passing the through the salt grass he looked back. The horse had not moved. A ship’s light winked in the swells. The colt stood against the horse with its head down and the horse was watching, out there past men’s knowing, where the stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea. 

That’s all for this book review.