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And the Ass Saw the Angel Paperback – March 26, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: 2.13.61; 2nd edition (March 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880985721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880985724
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Australian rock musician, lyricist and actor Cave's first novel is an innovative, if wildly idiosyncratic, tall tale satirizing religious fanaticism. Euchrid Eucrow, despised ungainly son of a trapper father and "slobstress" mother, grows up mute but divinely inspired during the 1940s and '50s in fundamentalist Ukulore, a rural swamp peopled with cartoon-like sinners, tricksters, retardates and imbibers of moonshine. Euchrid--self-styled Monarch of Doghead--heeds a winsome guardian angel, along with talking beasts (the title evokes Balaam's ass), and is obsessed with human cruelty and carnality. The foundling Beth, becoming revered as a child-saint, believes Euchrid is divine; Euchrid slips into her room, and is brutally hunted down by Beth's avengers. The plot, rife with gory atrocities, is relayed through clotted, gutsy prose which ranges from poetic to rabid, and is interspersed throughout with graphs, lists, genealogies and scraps of Scripture. Although Cave's manic effort will not lure traditionalists, it may snare the more adventurous.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


An explosion of linguistic brio and Gothic grotesquery, horrifying, funny and tragic -- Michel Faber Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Love this book, it's crazy how this guy can write.
Richard Slacke
Anyway, keep an eye out, it's possible to find this book if you look in the right places.
Amazon Customer
It's gritty and graphic, and yet poetically beautiful.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on October 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having arrived late on the Nick Cave bandwagon, I spent several years listening closely to his albums and finally decided it was time to take a crack at the book to which there are many allusions in his music. For example, Crow Jane, a character from one of Cave's most violent songs, is re-introduced here as the vile woman who whelped the hapless narrator, Euchrid Eucrow. So first I read the reviews, and then I tackled the actual book itself.

Is "And The Ass Saw The Angel" hard to read? Yes. Are there made-up words? Yes. But then there are many novels, great and not so great, that are both hard to read and that contain many seeming nonsense words and phrases. On reading Cave, I think of Faulkner (made-up places and words), Flannery O'Connor (particularly the parallels with her novel Wise Blood), and of H. P. Lovecraft, whose novels and short stories are packed with the kind of degenerates who people Cave's Ukulore Valley. Many of the words that Cave uses, and may be accused by some of inventing, are not inventions at all but rather are either obscure or archaic words. Some of the actually invented words are agglutinations of two or three real words, so put together as to make more vivid the idea being expressed. Cave is obviously a master wordsmith and his command of English demands a similar level of erudition from his readers. One of those hefty dictionaries seen in university libraries just might be needed by some.

The story itself is populated by all the lowest, most degenerate and filthy specimens of humanity imaginable. Narrator Euchrid Eucrow, born mute, is himself the unwholesome and wretched spawn of diseased loins. It is telling that the Ukulore Valley's most sympathetic characters are the town whore and the daughter she bore in death.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "lisharie" on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For many a day I pined for this sublime piece of work, dismayed to find out it was no longer being published in America. Amazon never did find it in any used bookstores and I thought it hopeless. Until I went to Amazon.co.uk -- and I bought it! It arrived at my door within three days, and within one week it was read, digested, and placed at the very top of my favorites list. It's even more divine and awesome (and I mean awesome as in AWE-INSPIRING) than I could've ever imagined. You're sucked into Euchrid's mad, tortured world, sometimes believing his delusions to be reality and sometimes wishing they were reality for his sake. The empathy that pours forth from the reader while Euchrid's tale is told is so powerful and overwhelming -- I can't even begin to describe how I felt while reading this book. And the ending -- the ending! All I can say is that it's a masterpiece. The bitterness towards religious fanaticism is so sweet -- at least it was for me. I'm very bitter towards religion and Christianity, and this book just seemed to justify it. So here's a suggestion if you want to read this book and can't find it anywhere: go to Amazon.co.uk and look it up. It may take a little longer to come in, but believe me it will be well worth it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Oneill on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a long time fan of Mr. Cave's my expectations of his debut novel were high. Considering this I never would have thought it would draw such emotion from the reader. His hero is a demon who begets empathy unwillingly. This novel is strong enough to provoke nightmares and make the hardiest reader reflect on the human condition at it's worst and most pathetic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Esther Nebenzahl on December 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is the first and only novel written by Nick Cave, one of the world's most acknowledged songwriters, best known as a rock artist in the groups "The Birthday Party" and "The Bad Seeds." Having said so, readers who are acquainted with his lyrics will be in a better position to appreciate his writing. The author literally locked himself up in a room for three years to write this novel, by some considered a "masterpiece."
The setting is a fictional Southern town with a population marked by religious fanaticism, ruled by the "Ukelites" (based on a real life sect called the Morisites). The main protagonist is a young fellow by the name of Euchrid Escrow, mute, physically handicapped, and subject to epileptic fits. He lives in a world of evil, ignorance, where he takes the role of an outcast. In order to survive he camouflages his feelings, and from a passive role he eventually becomes an avenger with fantasies of grandeur and of God's emissary to this world. His complete alienation will result in inevitable madness.
This is an extremely disturbing, macabre tale, marked by brutality. Not even its "poetic" prose verging on the baroque will bring relief to the reader. Nick Cave certainly knows his Bible, and the title of this novel is to be found in Numbers 22, 23-31 where the story is been told of how Balaam failed to see the angel of the Lord. There is extensive use of parables and metaphors, although the author himself claims that this novel should not be seen as a parable.
The style is unique, far from academic, where slang, abusive language, biblical quotations, masterful wording, and an alien language are all tools used by Nick to create an atmosphere in which, as quoted by the author "it is very exciting sort of thing to write about things that are not morally correct." Be it correct or not, the fact remains that his obsession with the grotesque makes this novel not an easy "pill to swallow!" Certainly not for the faint of heart!
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