Blood Meridian is the epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.
In this novel, written before The Border Trilogy, McCarthy demonstrates his Faulknerian sense of epic danger and dramatic tragedy while twisting a horrifying and original tale of blood-lust and greed—traits which have made him one of America's most important writers to date.
*** Please Note: On the 25th Anniversary of the original publication of Blood Meridian, and after many, many printings during which the type has degraded, Vintage Books has taken this opportunity to completely re-set the text, giving Cormac McCarthy the opportunity to review his masterwork and correcting some minor errors that have persisted. With this new setting, the first since the onset of digital typesetting, inevitably the text has reflowed and page references based on the previous editions will no longer apply. This was unavoidable, but the publisher understands that much of the scholarly and critical work done in the past two and a half decades will refer to the older edition.
Therefore you will find a chart in our Related Links (in the column to the right) to aid in converting page references from the previous to the current edition.
“Blood Meridian comes at the reader like a slap in the face, an affront that asks us to endure a vision of the Old West full of charred human skulls, blood-soaked scalps, a tree hung with the bodies of dead infants. . . . Blood Meridian makes it clear that all along Mr. McCarthy has asked us to witness evil not in order to understand it but to affirm its inexplicable reality; his elaborate language invents a world hinged between the real and surreal, jolting us out of complacency.” —New York Times
Cormac McCarthy Feature
Blood Meridian: Page Reference Chart
Cormac McCarthy was born in Rhode Island in1933 and spent most of his childhood near Knoxville, Tennessee. He served in the U.S. Air Force and later studied at the University of Tennessee. In 1976 he moved to El Paso, Texas, where he lives today. McCarthy's fiction parallels his movement from the Southeast to the West--the first four novels being set in Tennessee, the last three in the Southwest and Mexico. The Orchard Keeper (1965) won the Faulkner Award for a first novel; it was followed by Outer Dark (1968), Child of God (1973), Suttree (1979), Blood Meridian (1985), All the Pretty Horses, which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award for fiction in 1992, and The Crossing and Cities of the Plain, which completes The Border Trilogy.