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.
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.
Yes. McCarthy is a generally tough read with his run-ons and lack of normal writing style. The audible version made it easy to comprehend
I like a book that mixes horror and comedy - it's an awkward blend of suspense and release.
First off - great story, and fantastic narration.
Second, it jumps. The storyline. I know that's a thing for McCarthy, and on a written page I bet it's (hopefully) a little more obvious. But in narration, there's spots that I doubled back, even tripled back, a few times, trying to understand what was going on. Once I got it, the story moved quickly and with such great detail and description, I knew exactly what was happening; but it was those odd scene changes that were jarring, all the way through the book.
This is not my first Cormac novel; (No Country For Old Men, which is amazing to read); so I knew what to expect with the graphic violence, (which didn't bother me at all) or sexual deviance, (also didn't bother me). His sense of timing was crazy. Sometimes, a scene goes so slow, detailing the tiniest bits, taking care to provide what's going on in the character's head, and then other times he's leaping forward in bounds.
I liked it. I enjoyed it; laughed, cringed, the whole thing. Like in No Country, he didn't really spend much time on the WHY something happened; it just happened and then the story unfolds.
I'd totally recommend it to somebody to listen to. I already have. I hope the movie nails the story.
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.
"Plenty of dark and not much light"
he is excellent in both
The narration was excellent. On its own the book deserves less than the 4 stars I have given. This is my 4th Cormack McCarthy novel and the least impressive. It is a character study of a depraved down and out. But it is short on the study and long on the depravity. I enjoy reading about the dark side of human nature but I found little justification or insight in this example.
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