Aaron Mcquiston's Reviews > The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
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's review
Jan 21, 2012

it was amazing
Read in January, 2012

When a person reads copious amounts of books, it is sometimes hard to be impressed. A callous grows over your sense of wonderment, and you plow through many books that really do not make much of an impression at all. "The Devil All the Time" is one of those books that bucks this trend, that is sharp enough to jab through the callous and make you think that there is hope for everything.

"The Devil All the Time" could be the most violent, dirty, musky novel published by a large publishing house in years. Weaving the lives of the inhabitants of small towns and hollers in Ohio and West Virginia, there is nothing upright about any of the characters. Murders, serial killers, drunks, fighters, and pederast preachers, it becomes a question of finding someone who has a stitch of goodness in his or her body. There is a sad beauty in this though. Arvin Eugene Russell, the most main character of sorts, is trying to find this goodness and stick to it, but he quickly learns that this is much harder than he imagines, than anyone imagines.

This is Donald Ray Pollock's second book, first novel. He spent 32 years working in a paper mill before he starting writing. This life experience has really made for a novelist that is stronger than many other, more popular novelists. It feels like he knows people like the people he writes about, that this is fiction, but it is not too far from the truth. His prose is somewhat simple, and his story is quick to read, but there is so much given to his characters that this is not a distraction, but a smart choice.

I'll admit it. I loved this book. I don't love many books. There are not many books I am excited to read again. "The Devil All the Time" may be one of the select few.
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08/21 marked as: read

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