Jack Whitehouse recommends Blood Meridian
Blood Meridian; or, The Evening Redness in the West is a 1985 epic historical novel by American author Cormac McCarthy, classified under the Western, or sometimes the anti-Western, genre. McCarthy’s fifth book, it was published by Random House.
Set in the American frontier with a loose historical context, the narrative follows a fictional teenager from Tennessee referred to as “the kid”, with the bulk of the text devoted to his experiences with the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Indigenous Americans and others in the United States–Mexico borderlands from 1849 to 1850 for bounty, sadistic pleasure, and eventually out of nihilistic habit. The role of antagonist is gradually filled by Judge Holden, a physically massive, highly educated, preternaturally skilled member of the gang who is extremely pale and completely bald from head to toe.
Although the novel initially received lukewarm critical and commercial reception, it has since become highly acclaimed and is widely recognized as McCarthy’s magnum opus and one of the greatest American novels of all time. Some have labelled it the Great American Novel. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to adapt the novel into a film, it was announced in April 2023 that New Regency is set to produce a feature film based on the novel.