October 6, 2013 by Laird
Cormac McCarthy is my favorite living author and Blood Meridian is his masterpiece. As the jacket copy notes, it is “An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion…” Fueled by McCarthy’s relentless and brutal lyricism, it’s a novel capable of flensing a reader’s emotions in a way that is rare and grimly wonderful. Labeled a western or historical, I consider it a great North American horror novel that will live in your memory with the power of a car accident.
Another book that affects me like lye in the eye is James Dickey’s To the White Sea. This novel follows the desperate journey of an American gunner shot down during the firebombing of Tokyo. The protagonist Muldrow calls upon survival skills learned from a lifetime of hunting the remote interior of Alaska as he evades capture and heads north from Tokyo into the frozen north. Anything but a hapless victim fleeing for his life, Muldrow is much closer to representing a tiger set free to ravage an unsuspecting populace. There’s a lot going on under the surface of the chase story–it’s really a stark and horrific examination of a man traveling from the darkness of genesis into the darkness of annihilation.