Here's an excellent Harper's magazine article on the novel and McCarthy in general.
I think McCarthy believes that slaughter and despoliation are the natural universal conditions of the human. But also, he thinks there is something particularly destructive and doomed about the present. Though these two points of view aren't really compatible.
Read the news of civilizations old and new. Read those records of blood and violence, conjugations of joy and sorrow. As it was then, is now and ever shall be. Curious the small and lesser fates that lead a man to his end, the small enigmas of time and space and death. What do you believe? He said he believed the last and the first suffer equally. That a curtain is falling on the western world.
I was thinking as well about Jared Diamond's book Collapse. Western Civilisation has been in places like Montana for much shorter than the Viking's settlement in Greenland, and that was a brief toehold that ended in disaster. We're nowhere near knowing if we have a sustainable hold on the land yet.
I feel kind of drawn to McCarthy's books, and also repelled by them. I won't read The Road. I don't want to put myself through that much unhappiness.
There's a scene towards the end of Blood Meridian where they have slaughtered millions of Buffalo, and the whole prairie is soaked in blood. And the wolves are howling as they starve to death. It's unbearable, and that's not even starting on what happened to the people.
Blood Meridian depicts the savagery of conquest and genocide, and out of that southwestern holocaust emerged a society that began to disappear almost as soon as it was formed.
I think it's the poetic beauty of the prose that makes me want to read these books that I also detest. I don't know how gloomy the film will be.