Books Similar to Blood Meridian

Instructor: Jacob Belknap

Jake has taught English in middle and high school, has a degree in Literature, and has a master's degree in teaching.

Cormac McCarthy's novel 'Blood Meridian' tells the bleak story of one boy growing up surrounded by violence. This lesson explores the similar books 'Moby Dick,' 'The Revenant,' 'The Devil All the Time,' 'American Meteor,' and 'City of Thieves.'

Blood Meridian Background

Are you the type of person that needs someone to hold their hand when things get tough and everything falls apart? If so, Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian: Or The Evening Redness in the West and the other novels in this lesson are not for you. McCarthy's bleak novel on the constant promise of suffering and violence tells the story of a runaway young man referred to as ''the Kid'' in the 1850s American West. He happens across a group known as the Glanton Gang who chase Native Americans, taking their scalps in the US-Mexican border territory to fulfill bounties or contracts, but then eventually just out of habit. This gritty, twisted Western novel includes physical and verbal violence towards characters who are both literally and metaphorically caught on the borders.

The novel Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

Now with an idea of what happens in Blood Meridian, let's take a look at several books similar to it.

Similar Books

Moby Dick

Herman Melville's masterpiece tells the story of Captain Ahab and the white whale he chases. This story of revenge has Ahab following the monstrous whale on a revenge trip to kill the beast who took his leg below the knee.

This novel is similarly complex to Blood Meridian including metaphorical and Biblical language, elements of philosophy, and charting the journey of the main character. The character Judge Holden is comparable to Ahab's white whale; both are supernatural antagonists with almost limitless abilities.

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

This novel gives a fictional portrayal of the historical figure of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman on a trail for revenge. Glass, left for dead after one of the most bloody scenes in literature, must track and avenge his betrayers. Readers will find similarities between this work and Blood Meridian in their gritty scenes of nihilistic violence and harsh portrayals of frontier life. There is also a film adaptation of this novel.

The Devil All the Time

Donald Ray Pollock collects several hauntingly violent characters in his novel including one willing to drink strychnine to prove his love for Jesus and another who is a perverted killer trolling the interstate for men to kill. This story is set in Ohio and West Virginia. Readers will find this work similar to Blood Meridian in its bleak tone and Southern Gothic style. This gets dark and includes a scene involving animal sacrifices.

American Meteor

In Norman Lock's novel, the already cynical Stephen Moran is a young bugle boy who develops over the course of this coming-of-age story. This 13-year-old Union boy injured by his own rifle travels through the Midwest identifying ''American Meteors,'' people who burn brightly only to die quickly. His plan is to bring the end of Luitenant Colonel Custer, an American Meteor Moran thinks is ready to be done. This story is similar to McCarthy's work in its historical setting which gives a nuanced take on the United State's Manifest Destiny push towards the Pacific Ocean.

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