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The Devil All the Time

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,202 Ratings  ·  1,458 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Knockemstiff—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 ru
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Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Anchor (first published 2011)
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Caleb Zahnd This is a full novel. His first work, Knockemstiff, was a collection of short stories. It's a good introduction to the style of Pollock. Dark, gritty,…moreThis is a full novel. His first work, Knockemstiff, was a collection of short stories. It's a good introduction to the style of Pollock. Dark, gritty, intense. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
oh, great. another book i can never recommend to elizabeth...

this book is vicious. understand that. this is a hyper-violent book, filled with completely unsavory characters in a filthy landscape where crimes are committed with breathtaking casualness.

and i gotta confess, i loved it.

because that's not all it is. this isn't just gratuitous violence for shock value and testing of the reader's limits. there is also that heartbreaking thing i love so much in my literature: small-town desperation. th
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Paul Bryant
Jul 15, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s chick lit



Dick lit


Mick lit


Flick lit


Trick lit


Sick lit


Quick lit


And now

Hick lit!

Well, yes, an affectionate term which I learned from one of the various great reviews of this novel on Goodreads, which probably doesn’t need another rave review, you all got the message now that Donald Ray Pollock is the real deal by now, but I feel compelled to tell you again.

Because I’ve not been having such a great time with novels recently. A kind of chill has settled over our relationship. Neither of us w
...more
Richard Derus
Apr 14, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been revised and can be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

Grim, dark, unsparing, and good.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Dan Schwent
Willard Russell prays over a prayer log for his cancer-ridden wife with his son, Arvin. A spider-eating preacher is convinced he can bring back the dead. A husband and wife pick up hitchhikers, photograph them, and kill them. How will all of their paths intersect?

Knockemstiff was one of my favorite books this year and I was anxious for Donald Ray Pollock to try his hand at a novel. Now I'm anxious for him to write a couple hundred more.

The Devil All the Time dips into the same well as Knockemsti
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Lawyer
Mar 16, 2012 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not for lovers of English Cozy Mysteries
Recommended to Lawyer by: Goodreads Group Pulp Fiction February 2012 selection
The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock's tales from a ghost town

“Just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A
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Lou
Read the Donald Ray Pollock Recommends Books page, put together from an interview i had with Donald Ray Pollock Here.

Beware some brutal characters contained within this story.
The name Pollock strikes up images in my head of the paintings of Jackson Pollock the painter, that splatter art. Well this Pollock is just as creative with his storytelling that leaves a deep branding in your mind and soul of a human stain of evil characters, that will stay with you well after you have finished this book.
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Kemper
Hey, parents, having problems getting you kids to behave in church? Let them spend a Sunday with Willard Russell. Willard isn’t a preacher, and he doesn’t have one of those big mall-like mega churches. What Willard has is a log in the woods. That’s right, a damn log in the woods. A prayer log if you will, and he’s hung up some crosses around it, and he makes sure that his son Arvin is out there all the time praying with all he’s got. Don’t mind all that dried blood and animal bones. Willard thin ...more
Trudi
Jesus wept, but this is the real goods people -- gritty, raw, uncompromising prose that snaps and bites at your soft spots. I find it curious that so many people have shelved Pollock's sophomore novel as horror, because while it is horrifying in places, and deals with some chilling characters, horror it is not. In his review of Pollock's debut Knockemstiff, Kemper uses the terms redneck noir and hick lit and that's much closer to capturing what this novel is offering to anyone who dares pick it ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“As far back as he could remember, it seemed that his father had fought the Devil all the time.”

Interested in reading Mitchell’s #1 pick so far this year? Are you sure you’re ready for the darkness that is the black hole of his heart? Positive?????? Alrighty then, here goes . . .

Houston commercial photography

When Ron 2.0 recommended The Devil All the Time to me I told him to f*&^ off did what I normally do – added it to my TBR where it would promptly be for
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jul 05, 2014 Shelby *trains flying monkeys* rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋
Not a book with fairy tales and happy endings.

This book shows the darkness that can linger in people's souls.


Willard Russell believes if he and his son Arvin pray over his "prayer log" long enough it can save his doomed wife Charlotte from the cancer ravaging her body. It might now be enough to just pray alone though..so he adds some sacrificial blood.

So begins this tale. Setting in rural Ohio and West Virginia. Pollock shows the side of poor rural life that I hope to never see.

The characters
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Dec 08, 2011 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Gritty crime thrillers* are not generally my cup of tea, be they in fancy pants, shiny new hardcovers in the Literature section or shitty paperbacks in the mass-market rows of shame where all the bored housewives hang out. There seems to more often than not be this sort of straight to the point, unsalted cracker style to the writing which leaves me feeling dissatisfied. I mean, sure, I know some people in real life who parrot the same words and stories, use "like" and "ummm" as ways to pause in ...more
Ɗắɳ  2.☠
Jan 21, 2015 Ɗắɳ 2.☠ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ɗắɳ 2.☠ by: Kemper
Friends, when I look out into those teaming masses, that sea of nameless faces mindlessly distracted by some mobile device, do you know what it is that I see reflected back in those blank stares? I tell ya what I see is a whole mess of dull witted, primped, and pampered sissies, as soft as a doughnut. I reckon it's about time to put down that screen, and crack open this good book here, and take a glimpse of how things once was in that not so distant past of ours. Then you ought to thank your luc ...more
Richard Vialet
*4.5 Stars*
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
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Tressa
Jul 14, 2014 Tressa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-killers, 2012
If you're a fan of crime fiction and don't mind when it bleeds over into southern gothic, then do not miss Donald Ray Pollock's first novel, The Devil All the Time. Critics and readers are comparing his work about the sinning and redemption that takes place by sweaty characters in small hick towns to Flannery O'Connor's. That's a spot-on comparison, especially if compared to O'Connor's novels Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, but I would add that some of the more repugnant scenes remind m ...more
James Thane
Oct 12, 2012 James Thane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, noir
This is a beautifully-written, captivating book about a number of mostly poverty-stricken rural characters, some of whom are down on their luck and others of whom are simply bad to the bone.

Set in rural Ohio and West Virginia, the story takes place over a period from the end of World War II until the middle of the 1960s. It weaves together the strands of several different stories, and the characters include a husband and wife team of serial killers who hunt their male "models" along the nation's
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Paul Nelson
Dec 09, 2014 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books-read
The Devil all the Time is a dark, gritty and downright dirty tale, yeah that's perfect for a story that I found pretty bloody enjoyable in places.

The Players.

Carl and Sandy Henderson are two killers that pick up hitchhikers and have their wicked way with them, photographed for all posterity in their final moments.

Roy and Theodore, lead a chequered existence, preaching the Lord's word while skirting the edge of decency and the law. To prove their faith they kill with all intentions of bringing ba
...more
Crystal Craig

Recommended Reading

Unless he had whiskey running through his veins, Willard came to the clearing every morning and evening to talk to God. Arvin didn't know which was worse, the drinking or the praying. As far back as he could remember, it seemed that his father had fought the Devil all the time.

If you're looking for a piece of southern literature full of sunny people who live nothing but the good life you'll want to steer clear of this book; it's not for the faint of heart. Imagine you're ab
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Bill
May 07, 2012 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
It's been two days since I finished this one.
I am 30% of the way through another novel now, and I still can't get
The Devil All the Time out of my mind.

Wow, where to start? This is an incredibly fast read, just over 260 pages, but there are so many turns to the plotlines that, at one point late in the novel, I was reminded of one development that seemed so long ago that I thought it was from another book!

Donald Ray Pollock has done what I envy in only a few authors' skills (Ruth Rendell's A Sight
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Melanie
Mar 18, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Only one of them died with a dream in their head. The rest meet a luckless demise, pants around their ankles, hung by their false gods, snapped taut and broken by love.

And that's clearly Pollock here - his characters are Death, they trade in it and do so cheaply. But blink and you'll miss it, the redemptive seed somewhere in there is planted.

Sneaky Pollock. I was expecting bleak, funereal degenerates, and I got them - but most all were desirous of more, even if that 'more' was more perversity.
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switterbug (Betsey)
Out of the funk and foul methane mist comes this almost mythical tale of legendary proportions, a lugubrious story ripe and ribald with gallows humor and the kind of tragedy that is reverent with comic perversity. This amoral cast of hillbilly trash will make your eyes twitch and your forehead darken as you turn the pages with unabashed glee and lick your foaming lips with depraved delight. These are people who are devoted to the Lord with fire and brimstone dedication, a demonic depravity that ...more
Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It's a dark, gritty, disturbing tale of several seemingly separate characters in backwoods Ohio. Sexual perversion dirty, unsanitary dirty, you name it, it leaves you feeling gross during some passages. Reminiscent of the True Detective atmosphere actually, filled with the same unsavory conditions and characters.

The characters are loathsome - a grief stricken man descending into insanity, lonely pious girls, pedophiles, "a demented team of serial killers
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Larry Bassett
Jun 10, 2014 Larry Bassett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Willard eased himself down on the high side of the log and motioned for his son the kneel beside him in the dead, soggy leaves. Unless he had whiskey running through his veins, Willard came to the clearing every morning and evening to talk to God. Arvin didn’t know which was worse, the drinking or the praying. As far back as he could remember, it seemed that his father had fought the Devil all the time. Arvin shivered a little with the damp, pulled his coat tighter. He wished her we still in be
...more
Jacob
Nov 03, 2011 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, 2010-2011
November 2011

Donald Ray Pollock is back! And while The Devil All the Time begins and ends near Knockemstiff, Ohio, the setting of his first collection of stories, Pollock proves he's no one-trick pony (which is good, 'cause the folks down there in the holler eat one-trick ponies for breakfast).

Here, a number of hard-living characters leave Ohio--a scarred orphan sent to relatives down south, a pair of down-on-their luck preachers on the run from the law, married serial killers with a thing for
...more
Krok Zero
Sep 07, 2011 Krok Zero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fall-2011
The writing's really more at a three-star level (which rating I gave the same author's fine but overrated Knockemstiff), but the construction satisfies and I dig Pollock's moxy. Promotional comparisons to Flannery and Cormac only make the book look weak, because what keeps me from embracing Pollock is that, for all his true grit, he doesn't seem to be a naturally gifted craftsman of prose. On the other hand, unpretty plainness and blunt declaration is a suitable style for a book about such ugly ...more
Kaydi Johnson
Oct 06, 2011 Kaydi Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick and nerve wracking ride. Brutal and raw. An artfully violent parody about the human condition. It's a book that will make you laugh while you cringe. It's a book that begs you to ask yourself: "Why am I so attracted to such corroded and perverted characters ?" It's a book that begs you to read it-and a book that makes you feel bad for doing so. You might not recommend it to your righteous mom or your little brother. You feel sleazy about turning the pages, but Pollock pulls you in. You w ...more
Teresa
Apr 30, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa
Donald Ray Pollock foi operário até aos 50 anos, altura em que decidiu mudar de vida e tentar ser escritor.
Como forma de aprendizagem copiou, durante meses, algumas obras dos seus autores preferidos tal como Flannery OConnor, cujo fanatismo religioso de Sangue Sábio reconheci neste romance.
O seu primeiro trabalho publicado consta de uma colectânia de contos a que se seguiu o romance Sempre o Diabo.

A acção do romance decorre no Ohio, num período de cerca de quinze anos, com início no fim da segu
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Mohammed
Mar 19, 2012 Mohammed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, 2012, library-books
Pollock wrote with strong prose a powerful,haunting story about residents in two rural communities. It was different how he had many POV characters, some that you read about in few pages and never read about them again. It made the story less predictable and more real with many authentic characters. There were only a few clear main characters.

I was deeply moved by the stories of some of the characters, their situations. Others like Carl Henderson was sick in mundane,creepy way and not just anoth
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João Carlos
Aug 16, 2015 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, favorites, 2014best

Illustration Andrew Neal

"Sempre o Diabo" primeiro romance de Donald Ray Pollock (n. 1954) é um thriller que entrelaça magistralmente as histórias das várias personagens, numa narrativa fragmentada, verdadeiramente intensa e angustiante, com descrições macabras e doentias - enquadradas por paisagens do sul do Ohio e da Virginia - num registo de violência satânica sem limites.
Willard Russell um veterano de guerra regressa a casa transtornado pela matança e pela crucificação ocorrida na Segunda G
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Michael
Feb 13, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time is probably the bleakest, most disturbing book I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the most frightening.

There’s no solid plot to speak of here. The Devil All the Time take place between eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia during the mid-40’s to 60’s and the story is more or less a collection of vignettes loosely held together by common themes of human desperation and isolation which, despite its flawed cast of backwoods preachers, religious fundamenta
...more
Josh
Jul 03, 2013 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To determine if this would be a book you would enjoy, it really boils down to a math equation:

Take Jesco White, add in Robert Duvall's role from The Apostle, subtract any aversion you have to offensive language or general lewdness, multiply by the parts of Blood Meridian than make you question whether you should keep reading on, and then square this by the sum of Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards and the sledgehammer scene from Misery.

If you can hang with where that takes you, you will enjoy. It r
...more
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Donald Ray Pollock was born in 1954 and grew up in southern Ohio, in a holler named Knockemstiff. He dropped out of high school at seventeen to work in a meatpacking plant, and then spent thirty-two years employed in a paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio. He graduated from the MFA program at Ohio State University in 2009, and still lives in Chillicothe with his wife, Patsy. His first book, Knockemstif ...more
More about Donald Ray Pollock...

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“Some people were born just so they could be buried.” 15 likes
“Unless he had whiskey running through his veins, Willard came to the clearing every morning and evening to talk to God. Arvin didn't know which was worse, the drinking or the praying. As far back as he could remember, it seemed that his father had fought the Devil all the time.” 9 likes
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