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And the Ass Saw the Angel

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  10,151 ratings  ·  534 reviews
Caves only novel to date takes on the southern gothic in this bizarre baroque tale. Born mute to a drunken mother and a demented father, tortured Euchrid Eucrow finds more compassion in the family mule than in his fellow men. But he alone will grasp the cruel fate of Cosey Mo, the beautiful young prostitute in the pink caravan on Hoopers Hill. And it is Euchrid, spiraling ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 26th 2003 by 2.13.61 (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,151 ratings  ·  534 reviews

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Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so i am going to review this one after all, because the book i am reading now will probably take me forever, and i don't want to get out of practice writing reviews that have nothing to do with the book. it's a tricky skill, you understand, it must be honed. this may be one of my favorite books ever. i have gone through so many copies of this because i never learn not to lend it to people, particularly people i might be kissing. i think i gave this to two of them, wayyy back in my kissy youth. ...more
Anthony Vacca
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sleazy, profane, literate, violent, bloated, verbose, apocalyptic, excessive, dense, touching, rhythmic, grotesque, reverent, And the Ass Saw the Angel tells the terrible tragicomedy that is the short and weird and wild-on-top life of Euchrid Eucrowa backwoods outcast born with the divine gift of an angelical purpose that is compounded with an absurdly articulate mental life that goes unappreciated and, ultimately, unchecked by his hypocritical zealot neighbors on account of Euchrid being born a ...more
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If Gabriel Garcia Marquez got knocked up by William Faulkner and birthed a deranged novel that was kept locked up in the basement and beaten daily, it would be 'And The Ass Saw The Angel.'

I don't normally write reviews, but this book keeps tumbling around in my mind like shoes in a dryer. I read a review on here that said (and I'm paraphrasing) that immediately after finishing the book, the reviewer wanted to 're-read it armed with a battle axe.' That, I think, is most appropriate given the
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, uk-irish
One year ago I quit biting my nails - a lifelong habit I finally seemed to have rid myself of.
Last week though I started reading this book and, before turning page 10, I was munching on my fingers again. Compulsively... no - convulsively. Such was my reaction to Nick Cave's gorgeous first novel: convulsive.
Didn't André Breton write: "Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all"? Well, this novel has all the hysterical beauty of a medieval tale told by a hermit gone insane. It's an
Seth T.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one with eyes
Shelves: bookclub
While not the worst book I've every had the displeasure of reading*, Nick Cave's work here may be the worst that I've both read and finished. Eragon ? Gave up with extreme prejudice. Da Vinci Code ? Accidentally left it in an airport bathroom in Denver with eleven pages left and did not care enough to visit the library to see how it ended. The Lovely Bones ? Granted, I did finish it and it was bad, but it was a shiny, gold-plated sliver of heaven compared to And the Ass Saw the Angel, which I ...more
The Crimson Fucker
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
To say that Im giving this book 5 stars based on the fact of how much I enjoyed it, would be a lie. The book had a really weak start and a pretty damn weak plot. In my one, dumb, humble opinion the books is aiight. Yes, here comes the big butBUT! There were 2 things I fucking loved about this book.

1. The addition of a new kick ass word to my cool as hell words list (the word Fornicatrix, which according to a dictionary means: a woman who engages in Fornication). I fucking love that word! When I
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddy-reads
Y'all, this is a very, very weird one to rate. I loved/hated it in equal measure and likely would guess most of you would toss it across the room. The written turns of phrase are brilliant and inventive and lovely/horrible, but the growing insanity is very tough to bear.

First, the story is Southern Gothic, and by definition that means we will have at LEAST one mentally ill person in the tale along with dark and bizarre acts. There is, of course, a protagonist who we feel for and yet know that
Kirk Smith
It has been nearly a decade since I first read this, and it was probably the first Southern Gothic that I read. It does still hold up and is in fact in good company as one of the most gruesome in the category. I place it next to The Devil all the Time by Donald Ray Pollock and also Child of God by Cormac McCarthy and that is among very good company indeed. One interesting thing I noticed is that while many readers placed it in the Southern Gothic style, the majority placed it in Horror. This is ...more
Mar 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is one of my favorite novels. I have to recommend it with a string of caveats, however. The writing is gloriously, indulgently, and shamelessly overwrought. If you go in for clean, crisp prose, you'll probably hate this. It is also an incredibly grim book, but with a wicked and sometimes viciously dark sense of humor throughout (this is Nick Cave, after all).

The novel's protagonist is a character named Euchrid Euchrow, a physically deformed and mentally deranged mute living in the fictional
Thomas Strömquist
Nick Cave is truly one of a kind. This book blew my mind when I read it in my early 20's. To realize how it came to be, from a chaotic and obsessive situation in chaotic surroundings - a 20-something strung out Cave living in a loft in Berlin (as seen in the brilliant 20,000 days on earth) was a kind of surreal experience as well. I need to put this high on my tbr - a re-read is long overdue.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: haven-t-read-but
Update 24/3/2020 I discover Nick Caves reading this and it's great. Maybe it's like Dickens, has to be performed, not read. Highly recommended.

Also: he thought while he was writing it that using a lot of words nobody knew was very funny, but in retrospect he wasn't so sure; this from an interview in the early nineties.

I think this just isn't my thing. On some sort of word/sentence level I'm admiring it, it reads a bit
Nick Davies
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A beautifully rich and intelligent novel - the language playful and complex and colourful (though most of the colours are greys, browns and red.. lots of red), this was almost poetry at times. The story - as much as I understood/followed it (and I admit that I only 'got' about eighty percent of it) follows a mute young man growing up in a backwoods American town of hicks, religious nutters, freaks, alcoholics, whores and much more. There is a sub-theme concerning a young girl suspected to be a ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Mah God, ah am at last free! From this book, that is.

Overwritten, overwrought, and truly poorly edited, Nick Cave's debut novel is a grimacing, death trodden and DARKSOME tale of mental madness and religious madness and hillbilly hell and rotten mash liqueur and hobos and godsent rain curses and child rape and hooker rape and child lust and hooker lust and child killing and hooker killing.

The one and only star here is the beautiful, inventive and utterly creative use of language throughout.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can a book start out as a 5 star read but by the end you absolutely despise it? In my experience, yes! I have no idea what I just read nor do I really want to ponder on it anymore. The Doghead section completely did me in. Its completed, shall we move on?! ...more
Ariel Marble
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
While the writing is certainly indulgent, it's important to remember that the narration is in first-person -- that is, the wordplay and elitist vocabulary bordering on nonsense and semi-stream-of-consciousness monologues are composing a cross-section of Euchrid's brain. The prose is complex, gritty and even abrasive at times, but to judge all of the technicalities of Cave's writing as faults of the author is to ignore the possibility - and the necessity - of the main character having some hand ...more
Serene  Morticia
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dane Cobain
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ive had this book on my shelves for six months or so now, but Id heard it can be difficult and so Id been putting it off for some reason. Then a friend told me it was her favourite book and as I happened to have it sitting on my shelves, I picked it up. And it was awesome.

If I had to describe the genre, Id call it a sort of post-apocalyptic surrealistic western with a little literary fiction thrown in. It reminded me of everything from Stephen Kings Dark Tower series to Lewis Carrolls Alices
Southern Gothic, at nearly its finest. Better than Faulkner (although that's probably unfair since I've only managed to read his short stories), but not as good as Flannery O'Connor (though she wrote more short stories than novels). Cave is somewhere between them, but darker, dirtier, and creepier.

I absolutely loved this.

I wouldn't recommend it to people. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I went into it not knowing anything about it other than it was written by Nick Cave (be still, my
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would have to agree with a fellow reviewer of And the Ass Saw the Angel by saying that this novel is very much what would happen if William Faulkner wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is a meditation not only on isolation, but exclusion. Nick Cave's grandiloquent debut novel plays upon the notions of madness and zealotry: their intersexions and divergences. It's hard to call this dark, though it certainly plumbs darkness. As the book progressed, I notived many common themes with his ...more
Mel Bossa
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The "cleanness" narrative I've ever read I think. Clean meaning there is no barrier between Eucrid and the reader. You inhabit him wholly and completely for the duration of the book--never driven out by Pastor Reality.
It's a body I couldn't wait to leave and through those demented eyes, I experienced madness and heard the creeks and bangs of its mechanisms. Nick Cave took me to the limits of CrazyTown and then made me turn around and take in the grandiose view of it without permission to blink.
Tammy Salyer
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
A dark and disturbing yarn from one of music's most diverse and moving lyricists. Cave has turned the underbelly of Appalachia into something more hideous than our imaginations would have dared conjure on their own. He brings us into a place of such strangeness and depravity that even our dreams cannot escape the black clutches of its evil spawn. If you are looking for something with depth and beautiful prose, but which will also twist your mind, look no further than And the Ass Saw the Angel.
Diane Barnes
Review and rating to come......maybe. As soon as I figure out what happened here, and why.
David Sarkies
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark
Nick Cave's contribution to the written word
20 April 2012

I have been meaning to read this book ever since I discovered Nick Cave as a musician. I also recently discovered that he is also Australian (born in Warracknabeal in Victoria) which means that there are actually some decent musicians coming out of Australia, as well as authors. Okay, I probably shouldn't knock Australian artists, but to be honest with you I have never really been a big fan of Australian music, literature, or movies. I
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm not even going to include a particular quote in this review, because the whole book should be put in quotation marks and laid out for everyone to see.

The style of this novel is one of the highlights of English-spoken literature regardless of genre, period or form. Admittedly, it's not an easy read. It takes a particular type of reader in a particular state of mind in order to enjoy it. Cave's prose is extremely dense, heavy and might catch you off-guard. And even if you get through the
Jun 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I am too tired to say much about this waste of time novel. This book I paid too much for is now in the recycle bin where it can be reborn as scratchy, industrial, toilet paper. Nick Cave had to be stoned out of his mind when he wrote this sick nonsense. The publisher had to be smoking wacky weed and I am nuts for reading the majority of it.

And I thought Infinite Jest was the worst book ever.

Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"And the Ass Saw the Angel" is a lurid, violent, and very, very mad book - much like the protagonist Euchrid Eucrow. Despite having a name that rolls off the tongue, Euchrid is a mute. However, his muteness does not stop him from conducting a very disturbing and visceral retelling of his service to God during his short life. In a township where most of the residents are fanatical believers, Euchrid alone sees the truth of their sin and the need to enforce God's wrath. He is accompanied by his ...more
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is Faulkner meets Nick Cave at the end of what should have been the American South's disappearance. The book is an absolute classic. Unfortunately, the South has become more Rednecky and Crackery than ever. At any rate, I read this book in huge chunks, like a fever-dream of youth. I believe Nick wrote it in Berlin, when he was living there. This is the Nick Cave book to read, as he recently released another one, something about someone named Bunny Munroe or something, which wasn't anywhere ...more
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Nick Cave should stick with his music. He is a more than capable writer, but this book was uninteresting for the most part. I had qualms with a lot of it.

My biggest problem is the vocabulary of the main character, Euchrid. Euchrid is a mute and as far as I know never went to school and his parents certainly didn't teach him anything. His mother being a massive drunk and his father pays more attention to the traps he sets and the animals he maims than to Euchrid. Yet, his vocabulary exceeds that
Joe Sacksteder
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Even though Nick Cave is one of my favorite artists, I went into the book wanting it to be lackluster - my reason was that there HAD to be something this man wasn't good at. Rock star, check - awesome screenwriter, check - soundtrack composer, check. But quotes like this: "Clambering aback of him came the multitude, like a grand parade of clowns, tripping and tumbling their way to a sloppy, fully slapstick salvation." Yowza! And "The two grim figures on the bank, mere shadows now, looked on as ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My 2-star thoughts on this book are specific to this "new edition" Penguin recently released, which is a heavily edited version of the original book as published in mass-market paperback editions and trade editions over the years. If you can get any other edition, I think it's a five-star book.

This new version attempts to tighten up the book by cutting out a lot of descriptive prose and focusing on the plot. I would argue that this is a tragic mistake in this case--this book is as much a story
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Nicholas Edward Cave is an Australian musician, songwriter, author, screenwriter, and occasional actor. He is best known for his work in the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and his fascination with American music and its roots. He has a reputation, which he disowns, for singing dark, brooding songs which some listeners regard as depressing. His music is characterised by intensity, high ...more

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