Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Devil All the Time
published by: Doubleday Publishing
publish date: July 12, 2011
Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.
Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.
Hands down the best written book I've read so far this year. This book was awesome. It was graphically violent and some parts were pretty disturbing. It was like a train wreck though, I couldn't stop reading. I'd be reading with my mouth hanging open, screeching "oh my god", peeking between my fingers because I kept covering my eyes. Read this one during the day.
I found Pollock's writing style to be somewhat reminiscent of Stephen King's. The both have a really great way of introducing a character, telling a backstory that may or may not matter in the grander scale of the story, but it made you care about and love (or hate) the character. This writer had an excellent ability to tie all his stories together, to intertwine all the characters' lives, and bring everything to a satisfying conclusion.
I've been telling everybody about this book. I highly recommend this one. It's dark and violent, so if that's not your cup of tea, skip it, otherwise read it!