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Child of God
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Manufacturer: Vintage
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.54
EAN: 9780679728740
ISBN: 0679728740
Label: Vintage
Manufacturer: Vintage
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 208
Publication Date: 1993-06-29
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 1993-06-29
Studio: Vintage

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Editorial Reviews:

In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard--a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape--haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.  While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Good, but not McCarthy's best
Comment: All of McCarthy's writing is at times disturbing, but this book is perhaps the most twisted of the six I have read. The main character is a Tennessee hermit, Lester Ballard, similar to though less refined than McCarthy's Cornelius Suttree. In the beginning of the book, Ballard is evicted from his land and takes up residence in an abandoned house in the woods, then later in a cave. He roams the woods like a specter, hunting rifle under his arm, scavenging for discarded items he can use in his home. During one of these wanderings, he comes across a dead man and woman in a parked car. He carries the woman's body back to his home and keep her for carnal purposes. CHILD OF GOD is probably the most unsettling book I've read since A.M. Homes' The End of Alice. Part of what makes the book so difficult to read is that McCarthy's writing, like Homes', is so strong. It legitimizes the depravity of the story in a way that other writers couldn't. The book never feels shocking for the sake of shock. And although there are no truly likable characters in the book, Ballard is certainly memorable. And if there is a theme, it is that societies create their own own depravity when they cast out and neglect its citizens, as we are all born children of God.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: McCarthy's tale of a Southern Ed Gein where Horror becomes Art
Comment: I love horror of any kind; novels, short stories, movies, you name it. Being from Tennessee, I'm especially drawn to "rural legends" about backwoods boogie men that you often wonder are or aren't lurking somewhere off in the woods beyond your back doorstep.

My first McCarthy book was "Blood Meridian", which I devoured this past spring. I say devoured as it totally consumed my reading time but took some three weeks to finish. While reading novels, especially longer ones, I dabble in a short story or two along the way. That was not the case with "Blood Meridian", it consumes you and I found myself doing extra research about the locales and peoples it mentioned. At times, with the inclusion of Spanish and a variety of not-everyday-use words, it was a tough though very rewarding read and it's ending will chill you to the bone.

"Child of God" has all of the greatness that is McCarthy but it a much more digestible pill. The expertly crafted prose drip with poetics while communicating exactly what the reader needs to know to picture a scene. Many authors try this and all you're left with is watercolor gobbledygook. The blurb on the front cover says "demands its reader's attention from the opening sentence" and quite honestly there is no better one sentence summation.

The novel narrates the sordid and assorted episodes of Lester Ballard, a nare-do-well inhabiting East Tennessee's mountainous region. Some of the things Lester gets away with boggle the mind but you learn that there may be divine, or infernal, powers at work. Often, there is a dreamlike quality to many of the tales and in every case each character jumps to life in your very living room. There is humor, sometimes blackened, and there is small town life in a nutshell, and there is enough horror to make Edward Lee have convulsions.

I didn't do any research while reading this particular McCarthy novel but I wonder if this could be another story based on the exploits of Ed Gein, ala Pyscho and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Rest assured the details are not gratuitous, just enough so you get the picture. While I love the above mentioned films/book, what separates McCarthy from them is his lyrical prowess, his gift for words. John Gardner, in his book "The Art of Fiction", discusses the idea of elevating the popular. By this, he means taking something within popular culture and turning it into a work of art. To my mind, this is exactly what you have with McCarthy and "Child of God". He has taken a gruesome event in history, one that had already been exploited (for lack of a better term) before, and combined it with his lyrical prowess to create a highly literate work of utmost horror.

This is only the second McCarthy book I have read. I can safely say it and "Blood Meridian" are resting at the foremost position on my list of favorite books of all time. Have a read, and see if it doesn't merit a place on yours.



Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Road Lovers, Start Here
Comment: If you found the minimal, bleak, tone-poem style and sometimes-horrific subject matter of The Road to your liking, then you can do no better than to turn to this early McCarthy tale, written in 1973.

Here the protagonist is some kind of freaky, Southern gothic nutjob, with a penchant for bizarre and/or murderous activities amid the locals. It's evident from the very first page that Cormac is a master storyteller with a highly unique style, although his roots do include Faulkner among others.

This is an excellent airplane book, short, portable, and something that can be finished on a single trip. But I wouldn't call it beach reading.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Child Of God - A Macabre Masterpiece
Comment: Cormac McCarthy may be the most important writer around these days. All of his works exude their own unique brilliance, causing readers to struggle for stopping points. "Child Of God" is an earlier masterpiece laying the groundwork for his future works. Lester Ballard loses his home to auction and is forced to rough it in a dilapdated cabin in the woods outside of town. Inside, his vagrant mind begins to lust for his strange obsessions. One day he stumbles upon a dead couple in a wrecked car and stumbles into necrophelia. Before long he takes to roaming the woods and seeking new victims, all the while lusting for revenge upon the people who moved into his old home.
This is the simple explanation for a deep, and disturbing tale of the wants and needs of a twisted, tormented mind. "Child Of God" is a fantastic read and one in a line of McCarthy classics!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Written in 1973!
Comment: First of all, this is a very dark book, creepy and depressing throughout!

The book centers around a lonesome man by the name of Lester Ballard, he's a little bit (Hannibal Lecter) and a little bit (Ed Gein). Lester finds a dead girls body, instead of telling someone, he takes her home. After the first one, Lester can't stop!

The story in "Child of God" takes awhile to really get going, but the last half of the book is a page turner!

Highly recommended to all McCarthy fans!

Amazingly this McCarthy book was written in 1973! Wow!

Great short read that takes you to a dark, dark place!


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