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The Devil All the Time Audiobook

The Devil All the Time

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (366 )
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4.6 (331 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Miss Pearlie North Carolina 04-19-16
    Miss Pearlie North Carolina 04-19-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than I expected!"

    I was a bit hesitant because of the reviews that mentioned Cormac McCarthy and Quentin Tarantino because I didn't want to get depressed. But it wasn't like that. No nightmares, no angst. Just a story about a bunch of sicko degenerates, plus one decent kid and his family who lived among them. Lots of blood, killing, and bad behavior, but I think the reason it wasn't truly disturbing was because the victims weren't fully developed characters. Maybe that was deliberate, don't know. It was fun to listen to, and especially because the narrator nailed the southern accents. To the author's credit, while I was pretty sure how the last scene would play out, I wasn't completely sure. Really enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C Chestnuthill, MA, United States 01-13-14
    C Chestnuthill, MA, United States 01-13-14
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    "Good story and fantastic narration"

    The narration was among the best that I have heard. The story is of the Southern Gothic variety. Not everybody like this genre, but if you do, this one is a real standout.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anne grand rapids, mi, United States 11-12-12
    anne grand rapids, mi, United States 11-12-12
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    "Dark, Dark, Dark."
    If you could sum up The Devil All the Time in three words, what would they be?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Devil All the Time?

    Prayer log scenes. The desperation of husband to save his beautiful wife.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Favorite? Hmmm... I enjoyed the antics of Theodore & Jesse.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Not a good bed time read. I found this book interesting, the characters were well developed... But damn its dark.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Northfield, NJ, United States 09-10-12
    Matthew Northfield, NJ, United States 09-10-12

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "Sick and twisted and smart characters"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Ridge Spring, SC, United States 01-18-12
    Ann Ridge Spring, SC, United States 01-18-12 Member Since 2014
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    "really grabs you"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G.Monie Bethpage, NY, United States 08-12-13
    G.Monie Bethpage, NY, United States 08-12-13 Member Since 2016

    " I have my mind... & a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -T.L.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW, What a Book that Travels the Mind of Madmen"

    I say madmen covering both women & men, so there is no gender discrimination for sure. I have to say this was an excellent book but at the same time I'm really not sure who I would personally recommend it to except reviewing it overall. The reason I say this is because I do not want the person who reads this book thinking I have some attraction to the absolute depravity a human soul can travel into & why the psychological minds of the characters were so interesting to me.

    The book is obviously a very graphic book from the brief description above but the author does such a phenomenal ability weaving all these random lives of people from what we would probably call the 'cess pit' of humanity & in the beginning u are thinking how all of this can possibly relate to each other or if they do? But apparently the author believes in 'Karma', a spiritual essence I have strong attractions to as well. The story recounts the morbid tales of multiple killers who all carry out they're deeds for different purposes, along with a protagonist that isn't immediately apparent because at the level of twisted thought these groups of humans all have small congruencies in the person I would label as a protagonist could be labeled as otherwise in my opinion & argued that there is no real protagonist but a story written about the darker parts of cosmic karma as the 'circle of life' continues to touch everyone involved voluntarily or not in my opinion

    Considering the subject matter & the depth of many of the persona's the authors ends up creating a wonderful book about ultimate karma as I see it... what goes around surely comes around & no good deed goes unpunished. If u have a strong stomach & are interested in this type of journey I would say to satisfy ur thoughts on this novel. If taken into a movie context it could easily fall into a horror section but it's not, its written in a form of poetic justice to some & that life is ultimately just an unknown except that death is the only thing we are truly sure of. The narrator did an excellent job with the material & the two together brought this book alive for me & burrowed into my brain like a earwig... I just hope it didn't lay any eggs while it was in it....

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Smarr 05-20-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Reminded me of home (for better or worse)"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It would certainly depend on the friend. It's an excellent book for people that enjoy gritty, southern-gothic-esque reads. Many of the characters in this book reminded me of people I grew up with in rural Texas, especially my grandfather. Not in their actions - thank goodness, but in their desires and understanding of how the world works. I'd recommend this book to a few people that I grew up with, because I think it might resonate with them for the same reason.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I'm pretty sure that this book either does not pass the Bechdel test or just barely passes. The male characters in this book are extremely well-developed, and the reader is given great insight into their motivations and vices. None of the female characters, however, manage to move beyond being a trope, a plot device, or both. The female characters are given little to no agency, and they all come across as rather vapid.


    Any additional comments?

    Pollock's writing is beautiful, and if he given his female characters more voice and personality, this would have easily been a five-star book for me. However, the lack of well-written female characters was a glaring issue throughout the book, especially when they had to sit next to the complicated and provocative male characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    kris 05-15-17
    kris 05-15-17 Member Since 2017
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    "accidental not so accidental coincidences"

    a great book about coincidences and fate. the way he writes about people's choices and how the choices they make affect others in the most disturbing ways..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Finger Cincinnati, OH 05-11-17
    N. Finger Cincinnati, OH 05-11-17 Member Since 2016

    Miss Nikki

    ratings
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    "Enthralling"

    I finished listening within a week. I think I might even listen again. Donald Ray Pollock paints a picture like few other writers are able to. His novels are darkness twisted, and keep you engaged all the way through.

    Also, the performance is great. Each character has their own voice and personality, and it really brings the scenes and characters to life.

    Loved this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kel Eis 05-08-17
    Kel Eis 05-08-17 Member Since 2017

    True crime addict, detective-mystery enthusiast, sci-fi aficionado, psychological thriller devotee, and (don't judge) YA fiction lover.

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    "Authentic, Interwoven, Literary Ingeniousness"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. I grew up in Pittsburgh, but my family stems from the sticks of WV. Even if this isn't the case for other readers, it is a fantastic story with more heart and truth than any book I've read this year.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The perfect architecture of the woven plotlines. They all come together for one chilling result. Also, I really admire an author that steps up to the challenge of showing the reader the life span of key characters instead of using cheesy, lazy flashbacks.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Bramhall – was your favorite?

    Hmm, this one is TOUGH. He does every voice perfectly. I guess I enjoyed Emma and Earskill, because their accent was not only thick but had to slow and methodic. He used the right inflection on certain words to get the meaning across, where a person unfamiliar with this accent wouldn't know how to read the phrase on the page.


    If you could take any character from The Devil All the Time out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Arvin. Adult Arvin, obviously. I want to marry him. In my mind, he grows up to be Rust Cohl.


    Any additional comments?

    Pick this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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