I recently finished Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Normally, I wouldn't read a western without a sizable bribe, but this was different. Blood Meridian is said to be McCarthy's best work. And that's no small statement.
Blood Meridian isn't for weak stomachs. I expected violence, it's about war and genocide after all, but I was seriously surprised at how much. It was a reminder about how evil human beings can be. I hated every character in this book, but McCarthy kept me reading. This book is almost set from the antagonists point of view. The best character in the book is also the most insidious. The judge.
When I finished this book, I realized that there is definitely deeper meaning behind the story. I'm still thinking about it. While I enjoyed Blood Meridian, it still isn't one of my favorites.
I first discovered McCarthy through his latest novel, The Road. It was dark and gritty. I felt emotionally vested in the characters, even though McCarthy never tells their names. The story is set in post-apocalyptic America when the sun is blotted out and people resort to cannibalism. It's a truly awesome story.
I enjoyed The Road so much that I decided to pick up another one of his books, No Country for Old Men. Again, I loved this book. The writing is beautiful in a really dark way.
I've tried to emulate McCarthy's writing style in my own work.But let me be clear -- I am no Cormac McCarthy nor do I aspire to ever write like him. His stories are awesome because they make me think. They leave me with a lasting impression. Part of the reason his books do this so well is because he ends his literature in sad ways. I'd get depressed if I read too many books like that.
If you are interested in reading beautiful prose (and you can stomach some intense violence). I highly suggest any three of these books. My personal favorite is a toss up between The Road and No Country for Old Men.