From the acclaimed author of Knockemstiff—called “powerful, remarkable, exceptional” by the Los Angeles Times—comes a dark and riveting vision of America that delivers literary excitement in the highest degree.
In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic overtones of Flannery O’Connor at her most haunting.
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.
©2011 Donald Ray Pollock (P)2011 Random House
"If Pollock’s powerful collection Knockemstiff was a punch to the jaw, his follow-up, a novel set in the violent soul-numbing towns of southern Ohio and West Virginia, feels closer to a mule’s kick, and how he draws these folks and their inevitably hopeless lives without pity is what the kick’s all about." (Publishers Weekly)
"The God-fearing hard-luck characters who populate Donald Ray Pollock’s debut novel, The Devil All the Time, move through the southern outlands of Ohio and the isolated hollows of West Virginia like figures in a collective nightmare of poverty, addiction, superstition, and crime" (Lisa Shea, ELLE magazine)
“This novel fulfills the promise made by Pollock’s debut collection, Knockemstiff. He is a real writer, and The Devil All The Time hits you like a telegram from Hell slid under your door at three o’clock in the morning.” (William Gay, author of Provinces of Night and The Long Home)
WOW! What a ride! Wonderful (if bizarre) characters, taut narrative, plot full of unexpected turns and extraordinary narration by Mark Bramhall (but then that is the only way he ever narrates -- extraordinary talent and skill)
...AND I LOVE IT. This story is brutal and grisly, gritty and realistic, shocking, nihilistic, sarcastic and constantly amazing. Read by an obvious master...Mark Bramhall propels the listener deep in to this expertly woven world. Please-oh-please write more D. R. Pollock.
What an excellent story! The book is so well written, and the story so greatly performed, that the listener is thrust right into the depressing world the author created. The characters are so well fleshed out that I found myself rooting for most of them despite how awful they are. It was really hard to put the headphones down, and I'm sure to give this book another listen rather sooner than later.
I am always looking for something offbeat and different and my wish was granted with this book! This is a dark story with unexpected twists and turns. I truly enjoyed the narration as well, and found myself listening to the story long after my commute was over.
It’s a captivating story, hard to put down, but it’s also extremely rough. The dreadful & immoral element of man is pervasive in nearly every character, I felt dirty like I needed to clean my mind of the filth, however it’s very well written, and intriguing.
All the characters in this book are not only flawed humans, they are very damaged. It was difficult to find someone to cheer for. It took me a month to complete this book. Very sad, very violent, incredibly sadistic individuals.
Prayer log scenes. The desperation of husband to save his beautiful wife.
Favorite? Hmmm... I enjoyed the antics of Theodore & Jesse.
Not suitable for for depressed persons. Should not be viewed during cold grey rainy season. THIS FILM IS NOT INTENDED FOR THE MENTALLY OFF BALANCED.
Not a good bed time read. I found this book interesting, the characters were well developed... But damn its dark.
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Donald Ray Pollack is a master of the Southern-grotesque. His characters are cleverly engineered backwoods brilliance, not the dumb hicks you may come to expect from some ahem, other, authors. The story focuses on Arvin, the son of Willard Russell, whose childhood is consumed with sacrificial blood spilling on a "prayer log." No animal is safe from Willard sacrificial log, and Arvin soon learns no human life is safe either. As the story progresses we are introduced to more characters, each sick in their own way, and the story unfolds as each encounters the son of Willard Russell... The performance can be a bit flat at times, but overall a very entertaining read. If you like Danny Woodrell, or James Lee Burke, you will probably enjoy Pollack as well.
Cormac McCarthy's books...........darker, but every bit as well written.
I have not; he's an excellent narrator.
All of it........
Deeply disturbing to the point I've considered not finishing it. One wonders how anyone can imagine the things Donald Ray Pollock describes. His writing is almost too good. I wonder if he's written anything less unsettling.
This is among the most captivating audiobooks I've listened to since joining audible. The narration by Mark Bramhall is outstanding.
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Mark Bramhall's narration was pitch perfect. He carried the accents and tone throughout that added to the written form. I never wanted to turn off the audio. The narration and stories were so captivating.
I loved the title as is.
I hope to see more from this author very soon....I'm hooked!
This story grabs you right from the start and doesn't let go. It is not for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. It is very gritty and violent and graphic. Bad language, sex, killings, beatings, etc. The writing is good. Not flowery, but it is clear and tight and it flows well. Good dialogue, too.
I liked this book quite a bit, but I thought the plot line about Roy and Theodore (the preachers on the run) could have used more development. The ending was also maybe a little abrupt and left me feeling somewhat hollow or unsatisfied. I don't know....after such a wild ride, I thought it ended kinda quick and quiet.
Most of the characters are horrible people with no redeeming qualities. Arvin is definitely the most likeable character....he's not violent unless he has to be. Because of the characters and because there is so much death and so many horrible things that happen, it can be a little hard to listen to at times. I agree with the other reviewer who said it can make you feel dirty or like you need to take a shower. Still, it is gripping and entertaining and mostly enjoyable - - if you can take it.
Mark Bramhall did an outstanding job reading the story.
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