June 25, 2012

The Devil All the Time.

this book is dark. really dark. i should've known when i noticed the first author blurb on the back cover was from the author of Geek Love, probably the most disturbing novel i've ever read before this one. i finished it though- the characters, as depraved as they were, were also somewhat compelling and i wanted to know what happened to them. whatever list i saw this on billed it as a neo-Southern Gothic tale, but the evil is so heavy-handed, so relentless, it goes way beyond Southern Gothic. can't say i would ever recommend this one to anyone, unless you're into violent religious and/or sexual themes with basically no redemption at the end. it didn't feel as bleak as the end of Bright Shiny Morning, but i think it's because i just didn't care as much about the characters. Josh Ritter's NYT review is exactly how i feel about this one:

The West Virginia and southern Ohio landscapes of this book seem riven by one long, coal-smeared and hell-­harrowed gash in the earth, and the stories that vent from it file past in a crimson procession of evils so brutally creative, and so exactingly and lovingly detailed by Pollock, that over the course of the novel it becomes unclear whether they’ve been spawned for the purposes of plot or purely for atavistic pleasure.

i mean, i had to look up "atavistic" but afterwards i was like, yeah, EXACTLY.

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