From Donald Ray Pollock, author of the highly acclaimed The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff, comes a dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel that will solidify his place among the best contemporary American authors.
It is 1917, in that sliver of borderland that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest, handsome, intelligent); Cob (short, heavyset, a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest, thin, ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in Southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it?
In the Gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy, with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.
©2016 Donald Ray Pollock (P)2016 Random House Audio
"In a crowded room full of voices, Don Pollock's voice is so distinct you'll hear first and won't ever, ever forget it. Nor will you want to. And the kicker is this: He somehow keeps getting better." (Tom Franklin, author of Poachers and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter)
"The Heavenly Table is the latest and strongest evidence that Donald Ray Pollock is one of the most talented and original writers at work today. With uniquely vivid and graceful prose he renders a tale destined to linger in the reader's mind, a story by turns violent and darkly amusing, and always powerful. The novel is sure to be ranked among the year's best." (Michael Koryta, New York Times best-selling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead)
"The Heavenly Table is a ferociously gothic ballad about desperate folks with improbable dreams and scant means. It is potent and chimeric, dank, violent, swamped in tragedy - and funny as hell." (Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid's Version and Winter's Bone)
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"It still amazed him how you could just be plugging along, stuck in the deepest depression, and then something a little bit wonderful happened that suddenly changed your outlook on everything, that turned your world from darkness to light, made you glad you were still walking the earth."
- Donald Ray Pollack, The Heavenly Table
I really liked Pollock's first novel The Devil All the Time. I thought of it as a mash-up between Chuck Palahniuk and Dashiell Hammett. I've heard people talk about this book in terms of Gogol, Meyer, or McCarthy. Pollock has a lot of talent and is a master of transgressive fiction, but his prose in this novel just seemed (to me) a bit thin. The novel didn't drill me as hard as 'The Devil All the Time'. It just seemed a bit too messy and contrived.
I think Mel captures the essence of Pollock's fiction. He writes "angry, bizarre, violent, raw, raunchy, and darkly hilarious novels". He seems like balancing between the world between the outcast, the carny, the pervert, and the creep. In this novel he spends a couple hours in the fecal swamps to find a couple silver dollars. I guess it would have been worth the sh!t swim if the payout was just a bit more.
Say something about yourself!
Like chewing dirt. Pollock's still angry, bizarre, violent, raw, raunchy, and darkly hilarious. He writes like he sold his soul to the devil for the gift, and his stories feel like they should be read in the back rooms of dens of iniquity then slept off for months. I've been hooked since [Knockemstiff], unable to kick the Pollock habit. It's not as tight as his previous, but it's still decadently twisted and addictive. The only reason I'm withholding that 5th * is to hold onto what's left of my female dignity and feign consternation. (And, as good as it might be, I have to compare to his previous humdingers.) Pollock is granite, unchanging and unapologetic. Pollock fans rejoice...newcomers to DRP, you've been warned.
This is in my top 3.
I liked all three of the Jewett brothers.They played well off of each other. Cane and Chimney's devotion to Cob was touching.
I have listened to Kirby before. I think that he does a great job. He contrasts the voices very well. His regional dialects are very good as well.
"The Heavenly Table" is well named. I might try "Long Ride to the Table."
Mr. Pollock has become my favorite author. I place him in the rarified air of Cormac McCarthy. I have a difficult time choosing between "The Devil All the Time," and this book as being might favorite audio book. His weaving together of different entertaining plot lines is fascinating. I already look forward to his next book.
The characters are fully developed.
First time I have listened to this narrator and he is excellent.
The Fiddlers kindness toward the Jewetts.
The constant reference to hopes of Heavenly Table when Cobb realizes that the true heavenly table is with the Fiddlers.
What a good book. Dark tale centering on the theme of hunger, practical and spiritual. Set in rural Ohio at the onset of WW1, before the post-depression safety net, when circumstances or bad decisions could literally leave you starving.
Loved his first novel, The Devil all the Time. This one's even better. Low key narration perfectly suited to the dark humor. Enjoy!
It is a fun read, but there is not really a strong central narrative to bring everything together. Characters are introduced one after the other, described in detail like they are part of a writing exercise, and then drift in and out like celebrities adlibbing their way through a Robert Altman film. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it feels interesting but a little weak.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
From northern Georgia to southern Ohio (a strip that could mostly be considered Hillbilly Country), Pollock takes us with a trio of 3 lowborn, ruffian brothers on the run from the law in a sort of darkly crimson comic caper, a murderous meshugaas (Yiddish for craziness).
While Pollock, Donald Ray that is, deftly introduces a huge cast of characters, providing a mini-character sketch for each as he/she is introduced, it almost seems like he's too ambitious because there are so many characters without any one primary character.
I normally don't enjoy the scatological brand of humour. Yet here Pollock creates one of the most hilarious characters in a young sewage inspector whose equipment is so large he's embarrassed to show it to women (his mom had him checked out by the doctor in puberty to see if something was the matter with the boy). The early 1900s setting reminds of how much things have changed: now that a certain nominee for President of the USA raised the subject due to the smallness of his hands.
This tale is frequently funny; often gruesome, particularly in the dustups the brothers have along their journey; and, sometimes skanky and spicily obscene with a posse of prostitutes camped outside town. One thing it is never: boring.
I fully agree with the assessment of NPR's critic Jason Sheehan: In its bloody, violent and terrible collisions, The Heavenly Table feels like Blood Meridian if Cormac McCarthy had been born with a streak of black humor in him rather than just terseness and rage.
As I said in the heading, the best way I can describe this book: the spawn of Southern Gothic and Spaghetti Western.
Terrible narrator choice , I love audible but man they don't have a clue sometimes , this beauty should have been done by Richard Poe or George guidall or Ed sala
I'm sure Kirby is a nice guy but he adds absolutely nothing .
The Characters were awesome and I enjoyed how the author captured the early 1900s - everyone seemed like a real person with both good and bad traits.
There are several humorous parts to the book and lots of irony.
The great work of the sanitation engineer followed closely by the tribulations of Sugar.
The interaction between Mrs. Fiddler and Cain
This book may not be for everyone - there are some graphic, violent scenes. But it struck me as true to early 1900s and to the people who lived in that time. There are so many memorable characters and each one has a great story.
By far the best audio book I've gotten in 2016.
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