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The Devil All the Time

by

The Devil All the Time Cover

ISBN13: 9780385535045
ISBN10: 038553504x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

The Rooster 2012 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

In The Devil All the Time, Pollock mixes equal parts Tod Browning (Freaks) and Davis Grubb (The Night of the Hunter) to concoct an entirely original work that is as heartfelt as it is visceral. Simply put, it's an astonishing debut novel.
Recommended by Gerry, Powells.com

Donald Ray Pollock toiled in an Ohio paper mill for over 30 years before selling his first book, Knockemstiff. Though most of Pollock's work takes place in Ohio, there's more than a touch of the Southern literary tradition in his writing. His characters, unconventionally religious and by degrees both desperate and resigned, are drawn into a great circular story. They grapple and confront each other in ways that are often violent and sometimes bizarre. Players include a failed faith healer, a desperate husband and a son caught in his wake, and a serial killing couple who document their dirty work on camera. His work has legs. The message: Life isn't fair, but it's rarely uninteresting.
Recommended by Michael T., Powells.com

The Devil All the Time is a dark, gritty, heartbreaking story set in the South after WWII. Arvin Russell watches helplessly as his mother dies and his father goes slowly insane trying in vain to save her. Carl and Sandy Henderson are a married pair of serial killers combing the countryside for hitchhikers who later beg for mercy but receive none. Sheriff Lee Bodecker is the designated lawman, but he makes his own rules, which never match the law he's promised to uphold. A pair of pseudo-preachers, Roy and Theodore, are running from a crime they are almost too confused to understand. The new preacher, Preston Teagardin, has an uncontrollable appetite for young girls and no qualms about satisfying that urge, despite the fact that his bride is 16. Pollock's characters seem absolutely real and convincingly tell their stories as the book builds to a dramatic and explosive ending. Violent, harrowing, deeply disturbing, and horrific, Pollock's story is difficult to read but amazingly well written and exceedingly worth the effort — it is truly fantastic.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the acclaimed author of Knockemstiff—called "powerful, remarkable, exceptional" by the Los Angeles Times — comes a dark and riveting vision of America that delivers literary excitement in the highest degree.

In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic overtones of Flannery O'Connor at her most haunting.

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There's Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can't save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his "prayer log." There's Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America's highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There's the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte's orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.

Review:

"If Pollack's powerful collection Knockemstiff was a punch to the jaw, his follow-up, a novel set in the violent soul-numbing towns of southern Ohio and West Virginia, feels closer to a mule's kick, and how he draws these folks and their inevitably hopeless lives without pity is what the kick's all about. Willard Russell is back from the war, on a Greyhound bus passing through Meade, Ohio, in 1945 when he falls for a pretty waitress in a coffee shop. Haunted by what he's seen in the Pacific and by the lovely Charlotte, he finds her again, marries her and has a son, Arvin. But happiness is elusive, and while Willard teaches his only son some serious survival skills ('You just got to pick the right time,' he tells him about getting back at bullies. 'They's a lot of no-good sonofabitches out there'), Charlotte sickens, Willard goes mad — sacrificing animals and worse at his altar in the woods — and Arvin's sent to his grandmother Emma in Coal Creek. Emma's also raising Leonora, the daughter of a timid religious mother who was murdered, possibly by her father, Roy, the visiting preacher at the Coal Creek Church of the Holy Ghost Sanctified, who along with his guitar-playing, crippled cousin, Theodore, in a wheelchair after drinking strychnine to prove his love for Jesus, has disappeared. And there's on-the-take sheriff Lee Bodecker, whose sister Sandy and her perverted serial killer husband, Carl Henderson, troll the interstates for male hitchhikers he refers to as 'models.' Pollack pulls them all together, the pace relentless, and just when it seems like no one can ever catch a break, a good guy does, but not in any predictable way. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Pollock brings grace and precision to colloquial language, and the ferocious integrity of his vision is flat-out stunning ...I keep reaching for some other writer to compare him with — maybe a Raymond Carver with hope and vitality, or a godless Flannery O'Conner — but Pollock is no shadow of anybody else. This is a powerful talent at work." Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

Review:

"This is as raw as American fiction gets. It is an unforgettable experience." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Pollock's voice is fresh and full-throated...His steely, serrated prose...calls to mind Harry Crews." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"The next important voice in American fiction." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"More engaging than any new fiction in years." Chuck Palahniuk

About the Author

Donald Ray Pollock, recipient of the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship, made his literary debut in 2008 with the critically acclaimed short story collection Knockemstiff. He worked as a laborer at the Mead Paper Mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, from 1973 to 2005.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 23 comments:

Tisa, January 31, 2012 (view all comments by Tisa)
This enthralling first novel from Donald Ray Pollock, the author of the story collection Knockemstiff, will grab you by the back of the neck and rivet you to the story as you read of Arvin Eugene Russell's growing up in 1960s Ohio and West Virginia. Surrounded by evil and violence and a father who wrestles with the devil all the time, Arvin can't escape a violent life himself. Other unforgettable characters are a husband-and-wife team of serial killers and a spider-handling preacher and his wheelchair-bound companion. If you like Flannery O'Connor and William Gay, you'll easily fall for Donald Ray Pollock.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
jmclemore72, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by jmclemore72)
Pollock's writing is a direct descendant of Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford--gritty writing set in rural Ohio [but closer to the West Virginia side than Columbus or Cleveland] that shows you things you'd probably prefer not to see, but it compels you to keep going. I know it's a cliche, but I really couldn't put it down, I had to read until it was over.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Hobie Anthony, January 14, 2012 (view all comments by Hobie Anthony)
Donald Ray Pollock's follow-up to Knockemstiff is stellar. Raw-boned and real. You'll squirm as you turn every page. It don't get no better than that.
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View all 23 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385535045
Author:
Pollock, Donald Ray
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110712
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 in 1.14 lb

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The Devil All the Time Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Doubleday - English 9780385535045 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In The Devil All the Time, Pollock mixes equal parts Tod Browning (Freaks) and Davis Grubb (The Night of the Hunter) to concoct an entirely original work that is as heartfelt as it is visceral. Simply put, it's an astonishing debut novel.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Donald Ray Pollock toiled in an Ohio paper mill for over 30 years before selling his first book, Knockemstiff. Though most of Pollock's work takes place in Ohio, there's more than a touch of the Southern literary tradition in his writing. His characters, unconventionally religious and by degrees both desperate and resigned, are drawn into a great circular story. They grapple and confront each other in ways that are often violent and sometimes bizarre. Players include a failed faith healer, a desperate husband and a son caught in his wake, and a serial killing couple who document their dirty work on camera. His work has legs. The message: Life isn't fair, but it's rarely uninteresting.

"Staff Pick" by ,

The Devil All the Time is a dark, gritty, heartbreaking story set in the South after WWII. Arvin Russell watches helplessly as his mother dies and his father goes slowly insane trying in vain to save her. Carl and Sandy Henderson are a married pair of serial killers combing the countryside for hitchhikers who later beg for mercy but receive none. Sheriff Lee Bodecker is the designated lawman, but he makes his own rules, which never match the law he's promised to uphold. A pair of pseudo-preachers, Roy and Theodore, are running from a crime they are almost too confused to understand. The new preacher, Preston Teagardin, has an uncontrollable appetite for young girls and no qualms about satisfying that urge, despite the fact that his bride is 16. Pollock's characters seem absolutely real and convincingly tell their stories as the book builds to a dramatic and explosive ending. Violent, harrowing, deeply disturbing, and horrific, Pollock's story is difficult to read but amazingly well written and exceedingly worth the effort — it is truly fantastic.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "If Pollack's powerful collection Knockemstiff was a punch to the jaw, his follow-up, a novel set in the violent soul-numbing towns of southern Ohio and West Virginia, feels closer to a mule's kick, and how he draws these folks and their inevitably hopeless lives without pity is what the kick's all about. Willard Russell is back from the war, on a Greyhound bus passing through Meade, Ohio, in 1945 when he falls for a pretty waitress in a coffee shop. Haunted by what he's seen in the Pacific and by the lovely Charlotte, he finds her again, marries her and has a son, Arvin. But happiness is elusive, and while Willard teaches his only son some serious survival skills ('You just got to pick the right time,' he tells him about getting back at bullies. 'They's a lot of no-good sonofabitches out there'), Charlotte sickens, Willard goes mad — sacrificing animals and worse at his altar in the woods — and Arvin's sent to his grandmother Emma in Coal Creek. Emma's also raising Leonora, the daughter of a timid religious mother who was murdered, possibly by her father, Roy, the visiting preacher at the Coal Creek Church of the Holy Ghost Sanctified, who along with his guitar-playing, crippled cousin, Theodore, in a wheelchair after drinking strychnine to prove his love for Jesus, has disappeared. And there's on-the-take sheriff Lee Bodecker, whose sister Sandy and her perverted serial killer husband, Carl Henderson, troll the interstates for male hitchhikers he refers to as 'models.' Pollack pulls them all together, the pace relentless, and just when it seems like no one can ever catch a break, a good guy does, but not in any predictable way. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Pollock brings grace and precision to colloquial language, and the ferocious integrity of his vision is flat-out stunning ...I keep reaching for some other writer to compare him with — maybe a Raymond Carver with hope and vitality, or a godless Flannery O'Conner — but Pollock is no shadow of anybody else. This is a powerful talent at work."
"Review" by , "This is as raw as American fiction gets. It is an unforgettable experience."
"Review" by , "Pollock's voice is fresh and full-throated...His steely, serrated prose...calls to mind Harry Crews."
"Review" by , "The next important voice in American fiction."
"Review" by , "More engaging than any new fiction in years."
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