Brian Eshleman's Reviews > All the King's Men

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
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Oct 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: classic-novels
Read from October 15 to 23, 2012

Robert Penn Warren is world-class with figurative language, and this adds almost mythological depth to his narrative struggle. However, he is SO good with similes and metaphors that this seems to preoccupy him and actually distracts from the progress of the story. I think I counted three different comparisons in succession to describe the same event. Too much of a good thing.

Nevertheless, this is an intriguing read. To get inside the head of a powerful man and those around him is a rare privilege. To pity them, and those who pin their hopes on them, is to be human.
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Quotes Brian Liked

Robert Penn Warren
“The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can't know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge which he hasn't got and which if he had it, would save him.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“I suppose that Willie had his natural quota of ordinary suspicion and caginess, but those things tend to evaporate when what people tell you is what you want to hear.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“There ain't anything worth doing a man can do and keep his dignity. Can you figure out a single thing you really please-God like to do you can do and keep your dignity? The human frame just ain't built that way.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“He would get up and go out into a world which seemed very unfamiliar, but with a tantalizing unfamiliarity like the world of boyhood to which an old man returns.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“When you get born your father and mother lost something out of themselves, and they are going to bust a ham trying to get it back, and you are it. They know they can't get it all back but they will get as big a chunk out of you as they can.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“If you want him to do it, you've got to change the picture of the world inside his head.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“Reality is not a function of the event as event, but of the relationship of that event to past, and future, events.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men

Robert Penn Warren
“If you could not accept the past and its burden there was no future, for without one there cannot be the other.”
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men


Reading Progress

10/21/2012 page 348
79.0% "Burning brain, burning horses ... SHUDDER. Warren uses the most jarring imagery."

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