In this taut, chilling audiobook, Lester Ballard - a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape - haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail. While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.
©1973 Cormac McCarthy (P)2012 Recorded Books
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Look, I've read a lot of Cormac McCarthy and this is definitely not your Mother's McCarthy. I think this novel was the final pupa-state before McCarthy emerged as an absolute dark monster of fiction and heir to Faulkner's as ambassador to the strange malevolence of America's soul.
It wasn't as absurdly redeeming as 'Suttrre' or as coldly beautiful as 'Blood Meridian', but had the surreal shock and awe of both. His themes of isolation, perversity, depravity and violence make you feel like climbing into bed with Hannibal Lector or Jame Gumb for warmth and spiritual succor.
A great novel, just not a novel that everyone should read. Wander into the dark, damp cave of this McCarthy novel at your own risk.
I rarely take the time to recommend an audio book, but it this case I must. Cormac McCarthy's usual grimness is elevated to art not just by his majestic writing but by the spot-on narration. I cannot imagine that reading this could have even half the impact of listening to it. Go listen.
You can expect a little pain from Cormac McCarthy, and it's usually the kind that comes from engaging your emotional gears in a way your aren't used to, aren't prepared for, or that is just deeper than you normally experience. A soul workout you might say. In this story (it's barely long enough to be a "book") part of the pain is how you begin to sympathize with someone who is ultimately a pathetic anti-social murderer. You can see how the pain of his existence drives him to increasing desperation.
Not McCarthy's masterpiece, but definitely worthy of a listen if you like McCarthy's other stories.
By the way, the performance by Tom Stechschulte was superb.
As often is the case, Cormac McCarthy takes a subject on with pure evil intent and actions.
Lester Ballard is the worst kind of human animal. A pure psychopath with a twangy good ole boy voice, Lester commits the most heinous and depraved acts imaginable.
And despite this dark subject, Cormac spins it with gifted prose that cannot be mistaken for any other author. I just love this guy's writing.
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