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The Devil All the Time Paperback – July 10, 2012


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The Devil All the Time + Knockemstiff + Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307744868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307744869
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2011: With The Devil All the Time, author Donald Ray Pollock has crafted an exceptionally gritty, twisted page-turner. This follow-up to 2008's Knockemstiff is set in the Midwest during the mid-century, but reads more like a gothic Western. Lawlessness roams the rural, god-fearing landscape of Ohio and West Virginia, inhabitated by the likes of Pollock's deranged-yet-compelling cast of characters--a husband and wife who take vacations to murder hitchhikers, a faux preacher and his crippled accomplice on the lam for manslaughter, and an orphan with a penchant for exacting violent justice. Needless to say, The Devil All the Time is a brutal novel, but Pollock exacts the kind of precision and control over his language that keeps the violence from ever feeling gratuitous. The three storylines eventually converge in a riveting moment that will leave readers floored and haunted. --Kevin Nguyen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for The Devil All The Time:
                   
"Brutally creative. . . . Pollock knows how to dunk readers into a scene and when to pull them out gasping."--The New York Times Book Review 
                                                 
Fulfills the promise in [Knockemstiff]. . . . Invites comparisons to Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Carver.” –USA Today
                   
"Finely woven. . . . [A] throat-stomping Appalachian crime story." –GQ
                   
“For fans of No Country for Old Men . . . sure to give you goose bumps.” —Details
                   
"Should cement Pollock's reputation as a significant voice in American fiction." —Los Angeles Times
                   
"Will have you on the edge of your seat." —Christian Science Monitor
                   
“A systematic cataloguing of the horror and hypocrisy that festers in the dark shadow of the American dream.” —The Portland Mercury
                   
“You may be repelled, you may be shocked, you will almost certainly be horrified, but you will read every last word.” —The Washington Post
                   
“Disarmingly smooth prose startled by knife-twists of black humor. . . . Expertly employs the conventions of Southern Gothic horror.”— The Wall Street Journal
                   
"Reads as if the love child of O'Connor and Faulkner was captured by Cormac McCarthy, kept in a cage out back and forced to consume nothing but onion rings, Oxycontin and Terrence Malick's Badlands."--The Oregonian 
                   
"[Pollock] doesn't get a word wrong in this super-edgy American Gothic stunner."--Elle

"Features a bleak and often nightmarish vision of the decades following World War II, a world where redemption, on the rare occasions when it does come to town, rides shotgun with soul-scarring consequences."--The Onion, A.V. Club
                   
"Mr. Pollock's new novel is, if anything, even darker than the Knockemstiff, and its violence and religious preoccupations venture into Flannery O'Connor territory."--The New York Times
                   
“Donald Ray Pollock’s engaging and proudly violent first novel…suggests a new category of fiction—grindhouse literary. Subtle characterization: check. Well-crafted sentences: check. Enthusiastic amounts of murder and mayhem: check, check.”—The Daily Beast

"Beneath the gothic horror is an Old Testament sense of a moral order in the universe, even if the restoration of that order itself requires violence."--The Columbus Dispatch
                   
"A smorgasbord of grotesque characters trapped in a pressure-cooker plot. . . . Brutal fun."--Esquire
                   
"For a first novel so soaked in stale sweat and bright fresh blood, Pollock's sweat is well-earned, and his blood is wise."--Philadelphia Citypaper

"A gallery of reprobates and religious fanatics... are multidimensional, flawed human beings."--Dayton Daily News
                   
"[The Devil All the Time is] a world unto its own, a world vividly and powerfully brought to life by a literary stylist who packs a punch as deadly as pulp-fiction master Jim Thompson and as evocative and morally rigorous as Russell Banks."—Philadelphia Inquirer
                 
“Stunning . . . . One wild story . . . gives us sex, murder, mayhem and some of the most bizarre characters in fiction today.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

More About the Author

Donald Ray Pollock grew up in Knockemstiff, Ohio, and quit high school at seventeeen to work in a meatpacking plant. He then spent thirty-two years employed as a laborer at the Mead Paper Corporation in Chillicothe, Ohio, before enrolling in the MFA program at Ohio State University. His first book, a collection of stories called Knockemstiff, won the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. His novel, The Devil All The Time, is forthcoming from Doubleday in July, 2011. Though pretty much a Luddite when it comes to most computer stuff, he is now on Facebook (facebook.com/DonaldRayPollock) and also has a website at www.donaldraypollock.com.

Customer Reviews

In my opinion, the characters were more interesting and the story flowed very well.
Amazon Customer
The more you get into the book the less you want to stop reading and the more you want to find out what is going to happen.
JL85
Pollock's style of writing is amazing as he paints a world of hopelessness for these evil minded characters.
Kim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Pamela A. Poddany VINE VOICE on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME

Fasten your seat belt, stop the world, you will want to get off and read this book in one sitting, then you'll be sorry when you are finished. Donald Ray Pollock's writing slams into your mind and soul and will not let you go. Ever.

This book is intense, frightening, wonderful, poignant, alarming, and magnificent. The characters you will meet -- and I wouldn't want to meet many of them in a dark alley -- are bizarre, menacing, church-going, God-fearing, alarming, and sometimes loving folk. The people in this book are so fleshed-out and real and the types of human beings you pray you will never actually have the pleasure of meeting.

The setting is in West Virginia and Ohio, the backroads of rural America. Folks are poor and down-trodden, homes are ramshackle and filthy. We meet Willard Russell who has served his time in the South Pacific and can't get over the brutality of war. The war leaves him wounded in his mind but he hopes to put all of that behind him when he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Charlotte. Willard and Charlotte have a son, Arvin Eugene. We also meet Carl and Sandy Henderson, married psychopaths who have a terrifying and disturbing hobby. Two other stand-out characters are a preacher, Roy, and his wheelchair bound partner, Theodore; both are on the lam.

All of these lives become jumbled and tangled together, making for one heck of a story. The plot is fast paced and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough. Pollock's descriptions of the characters were so vivid and dynamic you can almost see their greased back hair, smell their cheap perfume, and taste the whiskey and/or coffee they are chugging down.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T. K. Paul on June 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are some quite slimy characters that seem completely unrealistic until you think about the real stories of evangelsits, Appalachian living conditions, and serial killers during the 1940s through the '60s. The author does an excellent job of using this time period as one of the story's background features instead of a history lesson.

There are times I was reading the book that I couldn't believe that a particularly horrific aspect to a crime warranted only a breif sentence - often the last sentence of a chapter. My mouth would drop open, I'd say, "Ewwww, that's sick," out loud, and then quickly turn the page to start the next chapter.

I was very pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I started it yesterday morning after finishing a very long, tedious read (1,100+ pages) and just finished this afternoon. I did not expect to find this story as absorbing as I did. There was no point in the book where I could comfortably take a break, so I read through meals, laundry, and while I should have been sleeping. I was always too anxious to see what was going to happen next to put it down. Nothing in this book is predictable.

If you like this book, I also suggest "Sweetheart" by Chelsea Cain.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Selby on July 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Terry Gross interviewed Donald Ray Pollock on "Fresh Air" (NPR), the author, in his down-home voice, said that he often would type out published stories he liked for the purpose of studying how the author wrote them. I don't recall his mentioning Flannery O'Connor. But almost from the moment I started reading this novel, the voice of Ms. O'Connor was like an overlay of Mr. Pollock's. That is meant as a compliment. Let me cite a passage from the novel--and if you have ever read the haunting "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by O'Connor, you must see what I mean:
The couple had been roaming the Midwest for several weeks during the summer of 1965, always on the hunt, two nobodies in a black Ford station wagon purchased for one hundred dollars... The man on the passenger's side was turning to fat and believed in signs and had a habit of picking his decayed teeth with a Buck pocketknife. The woman always drove and wore tight shorts and flimsy blouses that showed off her pale, bony body in a way they both thought enticing. She chain-smoked any kind of menthol cigarettes...while he chewed on cheap black cigars that he called dog dicks...
These are not people you want moving into your neighborhood although that wouldn't be a problem since they have an interest in hitchhikers. Why? Well... I'm not telling although I will go back to O'Connor and remind you that the grandmother was just a little too trusting. Stupid and too trusting, just like the characters in this wonderful novel.
These are not cartoon-ish characters although some might think so when first meeting them. They live in an existential world--our world--where many of them are totally clueless about the horrors occurring around them but go to prayer believing that prayer will bring them better lives.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Donald Ray Pollock's new novel The Devil All The Time is so remarkable and engrossing that I would like to share it with all of my reader friends. However, the characters and subject matter are often so nasty, I hesitate to share this book because of what it might make them think of me. As in, what kind of person could enjoy a book like this? For example, this book has two different cringe-inducing preachers, one who uses various bugs (spiders and otherwise) as part of his sermonizing - eating some, getting stung by others - and the other who has a taste for pubescent girls. But I digress.

The Devil All The Time is set in the years after WWII, up to the '60s, and features a cast of mostly rural, down on-their-luck losers and drifters. Each of them seems doomed in one way or another, some by circumstances, others by their own nature and/or decisions. Among the most striking characters are Carl and Sandy, a husband-wife team of serial killers. The wife is a somewhat unwilling participant in the killings, but she is definitely complicit. As for Carl, he is one of the more twisted killers seen in modern fiction. The details of his methods of killing are left somewhat vague -- a rare case of author Pollock sparing us the gruesome specifics -- but what we get is unsettling enough.

So what makes this novel so good? For me, it was partly that feeling of horrid fascination; you don't want to look, but yet you can't turn away. The things that happen to these people are undeniably absorbing while often revolting or shocking at the same time. Then there was Pollock's gift for describing places. With relatively spare prose, he really made some of the places he talks about seem real.
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