Brinda's Reviews > All the King's Men

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
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Jun 22, 08

Read in June, 2008

This book was unlike anything I have ever read before and I doubt I will read many of its caliber ever again. It is an epic, biblical, human yet quintessentially American saga, disguised in the bizarre circumstances surrounding a particular brand of local Southern politics. In Willie Stark, Penn Warren has created the ultimate American antihero -- describing to the tee the populist circus the campaign trail becomes, with Willie playing off the parasitic needs of potential voters and staffers and loved ones and then making every one of them fall in love with him -- and in Jack Burden, Warren questions the notion of a passive, Common Man-type narrator, for Burden is anything but. I am convinced that Penn Warren must have studied Buddhism or some type of Eastern religion, for there is a focus on the Nothingness of man and the impermanence of all things, the passages of straight philosophy in this book being the most surprising element for me. I re-read many passages in this novel because they were so painfully true and beautiful. "God and Nothing have a whole lot in common." And through all the heartbreak and drama and political intrigue, there is the love story -- or perhaps only just the pursuit? -- of Jack for Anne, a gut-wrenchingly honest story that makes me want to re-read all love stories with new eyes. Whatever book I read next has some huge shoes to fill. This one was simply perfect.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Mister Jones (last edited Jun 22, 2008 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mister Jones I totally agree; I have a difficult time finding anything else equal to such a magnanimous work. Warren's portrayal of Jack's father was probably the most unique scene in literature I know of, but there are so many things that stand out.


message 2: by Andrew (new)

Andrew I kept finding bits that I wanted to write down. There are many beautiful philosophical bits that you could pick right up out of the novel.


message 3: by Max (new) - rated it 5 stars

Max Thanks for this review Brinda. I feel better knowing someone else also saw the amazing amount of philosophy in this book.


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