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The Devil All the Time
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Group Reads > May 2012 Group Read: The Devil All the Time *SPOILERS*

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Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments Not a reach at all. I love books/movies where lives overlap. Shows you just how one person can positively/negatively change the course of another person's life. Reminds me of Robert Altman's movie Short Cuts, too. This movie is a good lesson in not judging others because you don't know what they're personally dealing with at the moment. This is especially true in the segment between the baker (Lyle Lovett) and the couple who didn't pick up their son's specially ordered birthday cake.


11811 (Eleven) (11811) | 1401 comments I've never seen that one. Gonna add it to my queue.


message 153: by Paula (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paula Vee (PaulaVee) | 79 comments I finished Devil today. My first group read and a great book! I waited to read the thread also. I am a reader that, once I figure out I am really going to like the book, will slow down and savor it so it takes me a while to finish. I love psychological horror the more real the better as I think real humanity is more disturbing than anything supernatural. I enjoy transgressive fiction as well and I particularly liked that this author highlights the corruption of the church and law and that Arvin is the true hero. I hope there is another book that continues the story.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments Glad you liked it, Paula. How many stars are you giving it? I'd love to see Arvin's story continued, too.


message 155: by Paula (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paula Vee (PaulaVee) | 79 comments I give it a solid 5 stars.
Here is my review:
I loved this book. Everything I enjoy - dark, cynical, heretical, and honest yet creative characterization. In every book I read I hope to find poignant observations that are painfully true and this wonderful novel highlights and pushes into our consciousness the embarrassingly gross workings of our bodies and silly souls. What is sacred is profane and what is profane sacred. Who has not been at a point when an outcome is wanted so desperately that we are willing to resort to animism and primitive deals with any power that may grant us our wish? The sad helplessness inherent in the circumstances of these wonderfully different characters randomly subjected to the a series of events set in motion struck for me a sweet spot of response I rarely encounter - despair and joy, not too much either direction, but a mix that is both bittersweet and satisfying. I really hope that we will all have an opportunity to continue in Arvin's journey, tragic, yes, but one that undeniably rings true.


message 156: by Rue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rue | 3 comments Gertie wrote: "I just found out this was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Awards.


Have any of you read some of the other books that were nominated?
The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock
The Dracula Papers..."


I did not like The last Werewolf. It was overwritten and the main character is boring and unlikeable.


message 157: by Rue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rue | 3 comments This was such a great book. I recommended it to a few friends. I loved how Pollack could paint such a good picture of these bizarre characters, make you feel sorry for them and hate them at the same time.
I will definitely read Knockemstiff now, and I hope he produces more soon!


message 158: by Carlye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carlye | 3 comments Tressa wrote: "11811, I hope it doesn't blow your mind to know that we also read The Bottoms as a group. We don't always choose mainstream horror books to read as a group."

Tressa, thanks for recommending the Bottoms. Just finished it! What a great story teller!


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments You're welcome, Carlye! The Bottoms is a good book. Another good small town murder mystery with some spookiness thrown in is Boy's Life.


Benjamin (Ben21) | 217 comments Rue wrote: "Gertie wrote: "I just found out this was nominated for the Shirley Jackson Awards.


Have any of you read some of the other books that were nominated?
The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock
The..."


Just reading the description on amazon turns me off that werewolf novel. Sounds like garbage to me.


message 161: by Simone (new) - rated it 5 stars

Simone (Bookworm_Babblings) | 3 comments I was pretty surprised this was called a Horror novel. It more fits the Gruesome Crime Thriller or Southern Gothic category. Other the mislabeling of the Genre, I must admit I was quickly drawn into the story. At first it seemed like a bunch of well written short stories, until the final few chapters, it finally ties it all together wonderfully and everything comes full circle. The story puts you on an emotional rollercoaster, from the murder of Lenora’s mother to the suicide of Arvin’s father. The desperation and desires of small town people, the limits we will go to get revenge for those we love. All in all, this was an amazing novel and my favorite thus far this year.


Benjamin (Ben21) | 217 comments Simone wrote: "I was pretty surprised this was called a Horror novel. It more fits the Gruesome Crime Thriller or Southern Gothic category. Other the mislabeling of the Genre, I must admit I was quickly drawn ..."

Hopefully you dont think thats really how small town people are...


message 163: by Simone (new) - rated it 5 stars

Simone (Bookworm_Babblings) | 3 comments Benjamin wrote: "Hopefully you dont think thats really how small town people are... "

LOL NOOO! I've lived in small towns in real life and have never met any people remotely like these!


message 164: by Buddy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buddy | 21 comments Finished the book a few days ago. I enjoyed it! 4 Stars

My favourite characters where Carl and Sandy .. because they were so fuk'd up!

This book was not as disturbing as I would have hoped, but still a very enjoyable read, well written and flowed nicely. I like how they intermingled the characters / stories.


Midnyte Reader (Midnyte) | 21 comments 11811 wrote: "I thought this was excellent. It reminded me of Cormac McCarthy for some reason, not sure exactly why. Does anyone have any recommendations for similar books? Literary Fiction, or whatever this ..."

I understand why this reminded you of CM...just such dark, gritty writing.


Midnyte Reader (Midnyte) | 21 comments Aloha wrote: "Here is Wiki's definition of horror fiction:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror_f...

I find this passage, in particular, interesting:

...the gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe published an essay d..."


Great information! Thanks for sharing.


Midnyte Reader (Midnyte) | 21 comments Sigurrós wrote: "Tressa wrote: "Does anyone think that Roy wasn't all that bad of a guy...even though he did kill his wife? He seemed to want to redeem himself at the end, and the entire time after the murder it se..."

I can definitely see that pov. It was more like he was just stupid!


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments Roy is very naive and believes literally in some Bible passages.


Midnyte Reader (Midnyte) | 21 comments Tressa wrote: "Roy is very naive and believes literally in some Bible passages."

Yes, my apologies. Naive is a much better description than stupid.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments Midnyte, he's stupid, too!


message 171: by Tom (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tom Mueller | 69 comments Pollock's works are very closely related in all aspects. Because of that, I included The Devil All the Time AND Knockemstiff.
SPOILER WARNING!

Tom Mueller's review Dec 04, 11 · edit

bookshelves: southern-lit, short-story-collection
Read on December 03, 2011

I just started this one, but can hardly put it down. Not since Larry Brown have I read an author of this genre speak with such brutal honesty of the people he knows so well. Perhaps not so ironically, their backgrounds - blue collar folks - converge.
I believe this is his second published work that's widely available, Knockemstiff being his first. That one will be next on my list, looking forward to more of his work.
Finished, and it is all I hoped and more. I already crave more from Pollock; this really is one of the best I've read.
____________________
I'm currently reading The Devil All the Time which was written after this, but the setting of Knockemstiff is of following generations. Somehow I like the idea of reading his work in chronological order of his characters rather than as they were written, which is more typical of my reading style.
I had to ILL this one; very much looking forward to digging into it.
I received this title within a week; I am enjoying it as much as anticipated.
Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio comes to mind; recurring characters in slightly different roles. Donald Ray Pollock's work also reminds me very much of Larry Brown's work.
Table of Contents:
Real Life 1
Dynamite Hole 13
Knockemstiff 24
Hair's Fate 39
Pills 52
Giganthomachy 62
Schott's Bridge 70
Lard 82
Fish Sticks 96
Bactine 110
Discipline 117
Assailants 126
Rainy Sunday 135
Holler 148
I Start Over 160
Blessed 172
Honolulu 185
The Fights 193


message 172: by Gertie (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gertie (Hurdygertie) | 127 comments He is working on a third book - we will have to wait and see what it is though!

Oh, I just remembered Fish Sticks. The woman who tended to carry fish sticks around in her purse. Sounds like a real catch.


message 173: by Jessi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessi | 3 comments I agree with Tom and Tressa's reviews. This was a very suspenseful story filled with great character development. I can't wait to read more by Pollock.

And I'm glad I was finally able to participate in this group.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments I'm glad you could join us this month too, Jessi.


message 175: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John B. (NJShoreReader) | 24 comments I thought this was a great pick! I finished it last night and didn't want it to end. I felt that Arvin couldn't catch a break. Damn - first his crazy dad spilling blood all over the "prayer log", then the preacher guy is screwing his sister. It was a miracle he didn't grow up to be more like Carl. Arvin was an under dog I could root for. I hope Pollock continues the story.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments I rooted for Arvin, too. He could temper his temper, so to speak, and use violence when it called for it. Have to admire someone like that.


message 177: by Jessi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessi | 3 comments I completely agree. Arvin was a great character who I rooted for all along the way and I would love to read more of his story.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments I usually don't clamor for sequels, but I would love to see Arvin as an adult and how he handles the world with a family to protect.


message 179: by glenda (new) - rated it 3 stars

glenda (ayngelwing) | 1239 comments I agree. If it wasn't for bad luck, Arvin would have no luck at all. It really would be great to see a sequel that follows him on through his life.
I thought this book was great!


message 180: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John B. (NJShoreReader) | 24 comments Tressa wrote: "I rooted for Arvin, too. He could temper his temper, so to speak, and use violence when it called for it. Have to admire someone like that."

He did keep his temper under raps until the time came to unleash it. In the story I believe it was his father Willard who did the same sorta thing (after beating up the guy who was talking about his wife). This is a great book, however I am unsure if you could make it into an interesting movie...thoughts?


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments I think it would make an excellent movie in the hands of a director who knows what he/she is doing.

Yes, Willard's father was very controlled and calculating in his revenge. That man who disparaged Willard's wife deserved a beating, albeit not one so brutal it cripples him.


message 182: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill (Shiftyj1) | 4266 comments Just finished the book. Excellent read. I was actually getting worried for Arvin at the end as I thought he was going to come to a bad end. I really enjoyed the way the characters lives intersected and Pollock did not overthink the results. I will definitely put this author on my must read list and can't wait to read Knockemstiff.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments I knew that Carl and Sandy were due to meet their match, so I wasn't worried.


message 184: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John B. (NJShoreReader) | 24 comments Bill wrote: "Just finished the book. Excellent read. I was actually getting worried for Arvin at the end as I thought he was going to come to a bad end. I really enjoyed the way the characters lives intersected..."

Knockemstiff was fantastic! I am sure you'll enjoy it if you like this book.


aPriL does feral sometimes (CheshireScratch) | 91 comments What a peculiar horror book. Started it yesterday.


message 186: by glenda (new) - rated it 3 stars

glenda (ayngelwing) | 1239 comments John wrote: "Bill wrote: "Just finished the book. Excellent read. I was actually getting worried for Arvin at the end as I thought he was going to come to a bad end. I really enjoyed the way the characters live..."

Put in an order for Knockemstiff at the library a couple of days ago... Can't wait!


aPriL does feral sometimes (CheshireScratch) | 91 comments This book should have been filed under non-fiction.


Midnyte Reader (Midnyte) | 21 comments I just put a post on my book blog. http://www.midnytereader.com/2012/05/... I want to thank this group because I never would have even heard of this book without the suggestion.


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments April the Cheshire Meow wrote: "This book should have been filed under non-fiction."

Why do you say that?


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments Midnyte Reader wrote: "I just put a post on my book blog. http://www.midnytereader.com/2012/05/... I want to thank this group because I never would have even heard of this book without the suggestion."

That's what I love about this group. In the five years I've been a member here, I have read countless books I doubt I would have been aware of unless I did a lot of research at different horror sites. Can you just imagine how hard it was to find suggestions for great horror before the Internet? That's when I'd go digging around in used bookstores and would discover authors I had never heard of, such as Michael McDowell and Jack Ketchum.


aPriL does feral sometimes (CheshireScratch) | 91 comments Tressa wrote: "April the Cheshire Meow wrote: "This book should have been filed under non-fiction."

Why do you say that?"


I knew people like this.


message 192: by Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sheila (SheilaReads) | 14 comments Just finished it. Read it in two days--despite the dark subject matter, it's a fast read!

I now never want to go to Ohio. :lol:


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments April the Cheshire Meow wrote: "Tressa wrote: "April the Cheshire Meow wrote: "This book should have been filed under non-fiction."

Why do you say that?"

I knew people like this."


Oh, dear.


message 194: by Karen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karen | 14 comments I finished this last week sometime. It took me quite a while to get going with it - the area in which it's set is very, um, familiar to me - but once I got into it, I read almost non-stop to the end.

In fact, I think I want to start looking for Knockemstiff.


message 195: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John B. (NJShoreReader) | 24 comments Sheila wrote: "Just finished it. Read it in two days--despite the dark subject matter, it's a fast read!

I now never want to go to Ohio. :lol:"


Sheila I am traveling through Ohio this summer on a road trip. I hope I don't run into hitchhikers or photographers!


message 196: by Gertie (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gertie (Hurdygertie) | 127 comments Lol. I'm from Ohio. (Actually, from the town Pollock lives in now.) You really don't have anything to worry about. :-P


Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments I couldn't even nosh when reading this book. The characters are disgusting.


message 198: by Gertie (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gertie (Hurdygertie) | 127 comments Lol, yeah it's no Like Water for Chocolate.


message 199: by Tressa (last edited May 22, 2012 08:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tressa  (MoanaLisa) | 23385 comments Ha! Or any book where the characters bathe on a daily basis and brush their teeth regularly.


message 200: by Bandit (last edited Jun 04, 2012 03:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bandit (lecturatoro) | 9767 comments Just finished the book, read it in one afternoon, was tough to put down. I know I'm late to the discussion, but I liked the book quite a bit despite the number of despeakable characters in it. It did send my OCD twitching more than once, didn't realize hygiene was quite so poor back then. It was like something out of Deadwood. Really liked Alvin character, smart kid with a backbone, would be interested to read a sequel to see how he turns out as an adult, hope better than his dad did. Would be interested to read more by the author in general, great writing.
Also, thanks everyone who voted for this book, cause otherwise I probably wouldn't have known of it and wouldn't have read it.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Devil All the Time (other topics)
Knockemstiff (other topics)
The Recognitions (other topics)
The Dracula Papers, Book I: The Scholar's Tale (other topics)
Knock Knock (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Larry Brown (other topics)
Cormac McCarthy (other topics)