Jason's Reviews > The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2011, e-books
Read from October 21 to 22, 2011

4 Stars

A dark dirty souther gothic thriller that is not appropriate for the feint of heart. This is also a time period piece and a bit of a character study. "The Devil All the Time" is a fast paced, get your heart pounding and stomach turning cool ride.

The characterizations of these fictional people is what makes this book stand out. You will not soon forget any of them. Arvin, Willard, Sandy, Lee, Roy, Theo, and Charlene make up quite a large cast of extremely colorful and three dimensional characters. They are not your average protagonists and antagonists, as many of them are quite depraved, and all of  them are broken to some  degree. Arvin, the closest thing we have to as being the hero, suffers a traumatic summer with his father Willard, as they try and save Arvin's mother from dying of cancer. It is dark, graphic, disgusting, and overwhelmingly desperate. This summer shapes Arvin into the young man that he is. It sets his life upon a track that he cannot get off of.

This is a novel that looks hard at and comes across as a  study of the human condition. Fanaticism is the main behavior that seems to connect all our characters together. Fanaticism of many forms. Religious, love, hate, perversion, devotion, and self worth are all explored as extreme behaviors through out this book. It is this exploration of the extremes that adds to the graphic violence portrayed in this novel and make it even grimier and disgusting. Pollock really does a great job at making this book work by portraying these awful behaviors with such aplomb.
I thoroughly enjoyed this fast read, I only wish that Pollock would have spent more time on the setting and on the time frame, to give it that true southern goth feel. Highly recommend.
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10/16/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Jo Anne B I am reading this now and you are spot on. Disgusting fanatics for sure!

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