The Devil All the Time: Book summary and reviews of The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil All the Time

A Novel

by Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock X
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
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Book Summary

In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic over­tones of Flannery O'Connor at her most haunting.

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There's Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can't save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his "prayer log." There's Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, who troll America's highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There's the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte's orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

Donald Ray Pollock braids his plot lines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. If Pollack's powerful collection Knockemstiff was a punch to the jaw, his follow-up, a novel set in the violent soul-numbing towns of southern Ohio and West Virginia, feels closer to a mule's kick." - Publishers Weekly

"This is an almost too sordid landscape, with levels of dysfunction and criminality all but absurd. But Pollock earns comparison to Flannery O'Connor, not just through a similar presence of ominous religiosity... but also in the laden atmosphere and significance extracted from what might be just melodrama." - Booklist

"Lots of in-house excitement..." - Library Journal

"Pollock remains a singular stylist, but he has better books in him than this." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about The Devil All the Time was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Donald Ray Pollock Author Biography

Photo: Patsy Pollock

Donald Ray Pollock was born in 1954 and grew up in southern Ohio, in Knockemstiff (now a ghost town close to Chillicothe). He dropped out of high school at seventeen to work in a meatpacking plant, and then spent thirty-two years employed in a paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio. He graduated from the MFA program at Ohio State University in 2009, and still lives in Chillicothe with his wife, Patsy.

His first book, a collection of short stories titled Knockemstiff, won the 2009 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Third Coast, The Journal, Sou'wester, Chiron Review, River Styx, Boulevard, Folio, Granta, NYTBR, Washington Square, and The Berkeley Fiction Review. The Devil All the Time, his first novel, came out in July 2011 and had been published in...

... Full Biography
Link to Donald Ray Pollock's Website

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