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It is 1917, in that sliver of borderland that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest, handsome, intelligent); Cob (short, heavyset, a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest, thin, ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in Southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it?
In the Gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy, with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Darwin8u on 09-27-16
Transgressive, just not transcendent.
"It still amazed him how you could just be plugging along, stuck in the deepest depression, and then something a little bit wonderful happened that suddenly changed your outlook on everything, that turned your world from darkness to light, made you glad you were still walking the earth."
- Donald Ray Pollack, The Heavenly Table
I really liked Pollock's first novel The Devil All the Time. I thought of it as a mash-up between Chuck Palahniuk and Dashiell Hammett. I've heard people talk about this book in terms of Gogol, Meyer, or McCarthy. Pollock has a lot of talent and is a master of transgressive fiction, but his prose in this novel just seemed (to me) a bit thin. The novel didn't drill me as hard as 'The Devil All the Time'. It just seemed a bit too messy and contrived.
I think Mel captures the essence of Pollock's fiction. He writes "angry, bizarre, violent, raw, raunchy, and darkly hilarious novels". He seems like balancing between the world between the outcast, the carny, the pervert, and the creep. In this novel he spends a couple hours in the fecal swamps to find a couple silver dollars. I guess it would have been worth the sh!t swim if the payout was just a bit more.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Mel on 09-13-16
Another Punch of Pollock!
Like chewing dirt. Pollock's still angry, bizarre, violent, raw, raunchy, and darkly hilarious. He writes like he sold his soul to the devil for the gift, and his stories feel like they should be read in the back rooms of dens of iniquity then slept off for months. I've been hooked since [Knockemstiff], unable to kick the Pollock habit. It's not as tight as his previous, but it's still decadently twisted and addictive. The only reason I'm withholding that 5th * is to hold onto what's left of my female dignity and feign consternation. (And, as good as it might be, I have to compare to his previous humdingers.) Pollock is granite, unchanging and unapologetic. Pollock fans rejoice...newcomers to DRP, you've been warned.
12 of 16 people found this review helpful