Friday, June 19, 2015

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock

Sometimes I find it difficult to put into words what I really liked about a particular book. This novel is
one of those. It's a nihilistic portrait of rural life in Ohio and West Virginia for a disparate group of fucked up individuals as they struggle to not only survive within the parameters that life and fate has stuck them with, but also with their own inherent impulses and desires. It's an admirable, well-conceived debut novel that is brutal but manages to not feel gratuitous. The novel's strength lies in it's prose, it's ideas, the attention to detail, and its highly intricate characters that are both appalling and captivating. You can't help but get swept up in their miserable lives to see where they go next. All of this combines to create a heavy mood and atmosphere that Pollock evokes with his simple but precise prose, and it's an atmosphere that's distinctive, one that I haven't experienced in many other books. It's like the novel takes place in it's own savage dimension...


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