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


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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.

Review

An explosion of linguistic brio and Gothic grotesquery, horrifying, funny and tragic -- Michel Faber Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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: #334,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 36 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By WeezyBoPeep on June 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
...read it again. This book is complicated. One of the hardest I've ever read. Most of it is written in sort of a southern accent mixed with gothic poetry. I don't think I've ever read anything like it. Parts are so disgusting you almost have to "look away."

I was basically blown away by this book. The way he describes the scenery and the things that go through the main character, Euchrid's mind is amazing. Admittedly, I am a huge fan of The Bad Seeds. But I am also a fan of thousands of other music groups and I don't think you necessarily have to be a fan of Nick Cave's music to appreciate this book. However, I stress this again: it is very graphic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Fridman on May 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Do not think that this book is an example of yet another muso jumping on the publishing bandwagon. It seems Nick Cave is indeed a writer, the eeriness of his music permeating his fiction.

This is a work probably best associated with the Southern Gothic genre, telling the story of one particular misfit born to hellish, abusive, inbred, violent parents in a hellish, inbred, abusive town. There are scourges of God, religious fanatics (a cult particular to the book's setting), hobos, violence, cruelty and all you'd expect. And all is told with an almost prophetic Biblical tone, with infinite foreboding and dark overtones. A great first novel from Nick Cave!

The only reason there aren't 5 stars is that his language is a bit too poetic. Most of the story is in first person, and the narrator is not all quite there - great premise and execution but it sometimes makes it hard to know what actually happened. Perhaps Cave was aiming for this - he certainly aims to unsettle - and succeeds spectacularly.

In any case, not to be missed by anyone with a dark side...
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