In a departure from the normal shenanigans, the Can You Hear Me team puts on their thinking caps and discuss the novel Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. On of the crew’s favorite fellow podcasters, Brad from the Below the Belt podcast joins them to add the perspective of a historian to the discussion. Below the Belt is a Mixed Martial Arts podcast with historical twist. Brad cohosts Below the Belt with his friend Ryan. The Below the Belt podcast is part of the Blowout Podcast Network and is one of the Can You Hear boys’ favorite weekly podcasts.
Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West was first published in 1985 by Cormac McCarthy and is by many accounts, one of the finest novels ever written in the history of American literature. Brad has a background in 19th century American and Mexican history and he was kind enough to join the guys for this special episode.
The novel is stark and often times disturbing look at life on the Mexican frontier in the early 1850’s. It follows a young man, simply known as “the kid” as he joins in with a band of filibusters who take on a commission to collect the scalps of Comanches and Apaches who during that time were conducting raids along the borderlands of Northern Mexico. The gang of scalphunters themselves devolve into savagery and McCarthy documents this devolution with clipped yet descriptive prose that conveys the violence and the oppressive environmental elements which at times act as characters in the narrative themselves.
The four friends bring four different viewpoints to the discussion and each find different meanings from this scant yet dense novel. Much to McCarthy’s credit, Blood Meridian is a novel which it seems each person who reads it, takes away a different meaning. The group discusses the novel from historic, literary, psychological and religious perspectives.
A novel of such imagery and violence is full of disturbing events and themes. The team tackles them head on and eventually stumbles into spoilers of the story for anyone who may not have read it. But with such a complex subject, the themes and elements of Blood Meridian cannot be discussed thoroughly without talking about the cryptic and much debated ending.
Despite the seriousness of the novel, the guys can’t help themselves from making their normal style of irreverent jokes, but in this case at a much lower rate of fire. Many thanks to Brad from Below the Belt for appearing on this week’s episode. Hopefully, he will return at some point in the future.