THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock

Book Quote:

“” ‘Did you know…that the Romans used to gut donkeys and sew Christians up alive inside the carcasses and leave them out in the sun to rot?’ The priest had been full of such stories. ‘Just think about it. You’re trussed up like a turkey in a pan with just your head sticking out a dead donkey’s ass; and then the maggots eating away at you until you see the glory.’ ”

Book Review:

Review by Betsey Van Horn В (JUL 12, 2011)

Out of the funk and foul methane mist comes this almost mythical tale of legendary proportions, a lugubrious story ripe and ribald with gallows humor and the kind of tragedy that is crawling with comic perversity. This amoral cast of hillbilly trash will make your eyes twitch and your forehead darken as you turn the pages with unabashed glee and lick your foaming lips with depraved delight. These are people who are devoted to the Lord with fire and brimstone dedication, a demonic depravity that fills them with Jesus juice and strychnine.

There’s an Old Testament fervor that possess these twisted, sick sub-archetype folks from in and around Knockemstiff, Ohio, a place of 900 or so almost penniless undesirables and beer-slugging, Bible-toting, gun-slinging zealots. The paper mill towers over the town like an effigy, pouring out its sulphuric fumes, and the pig-packing plant reeks and oozes its blood and bone like an animus.

This is a bit reminiscent of Natural Born Killers meets Deliverance, but with a style and trademark unique to the author’s imagination. The prose is sleek, tight, and tidy with the spills of human degeneracy and base desires. But there is a taut and tense plot, too, a story that will have you biting your nails to the quick while you gasp with mortified pleasure at every single page.

There is no room for boredom in this book. And there are souls you will root for, with their pathos emanating from the alluvial carnage. Pollack’s tale is fresh and sparkly, too. Yes, it shines and rubs you down to the roots. Even amidst all this violence, you never feel it is gratuitous or exploitative. Pollack is an artist who commands his subject matter with such ease and empathy that you can’t help but spend all those rapturous hours in the refuse and scum of that decayed pig chute of prairie America.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 42 readers
PUBLISHER: Doubleday (July 12, 2011)
REVIEWER: Betsey Van Horn
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Donald Ray Pollock
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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The Devil All The Time



July 12, 2011 В· Judi Clark В· No Comments
Tags: , , ,  В· Posted in: Contemporary, Short Stories

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