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The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
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The Devil All the Time (2011)

by Donald Ray Pollock

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» See also 43 mentions

English (35)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Ohio, a land of great writers, including Donald Ray Pollock. The book was recommended to me by the Horror Aficionados over there in Good Reads. The book was an original in the field of Southern Gothic, as it takes place in Ohio, not in the deep south of O'Connor. The rural descriptions were eerie, especially when I was reading it in Cedar Key and Monticello Florida. I was feeling like these could be my neighbors. so I didn't go out of my way to be friendly. The book will also cure your need to hitch-hike.* The characters are all flawed and all in need of redemption. However, the redemption they find is straight from the devil. It was a good read but at times the author lost me in his writing. I got bogged down in all of the details, this could be the fault of the reader, or the author's or a bit of both. But the book's enjoyment at times lagged. The book was all in all beautifully written. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Not a book with fairy tales and happy endings.

This book shows the darkness that can linger in people's souls.


Willard Russell believes if he and his son Arvin pray over his "prayer log" long enough it can save his doomed wife Charlotte from the cancer ravaging her body. It might now be enough to just pray alone though..so he adds some sacrificial blood.

So begins this tale. Setting in rural Ohio and West Virginia. Pollock shows the side of poor rural life that I hope to never see.

The characters in this book do come to life. In order to send chills down your spine and sweep you into their lives. The author writes beautifully and I do hope to see more from him. I love this type of dark disturbing story.



The man nodded and stared out the window. "It's hard to live a good life," he said. "It seems like the Devil don't ever let up."

After reading this I looked at the author's bio. He worked 30 years in a papermill in a rural area. That old adage write what you know? I still have chills up my back. ( )
  bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
Ughhh fuckoff. this is supposed to be something called "american gothic" but there's not enough psychological insight to make the ugliness real and interesting and not enough surrealism or symbolic resonance or atmosphere to make it compelling in any actual gothic or Jungo-mytho-oneiric-archetypal or similar sense. (That would be especially hard because Pollock is ostensibly selling an I-was-a-coal-miner-meself authenticity, but the unrelenting bloodlust and perversity in this book is cartoonishly inauthentic.) Everyone is horrible, everyone suffers, real good old-time Bible-belt self-flagellation stuff. It's pornography, in short. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Aug 24, 2014 |
Yes, Donald Ray Pollock sounds like a serial killer, but fortunately he is just a superb author, who creates stories about serial killers, along with an array of other wayward and unsavory characters.
Set in southern Ohio and West Virginia and spanning the years after WWII and into the 60s, it features Willard Russell, a tortured war vet, a spider juggling preacher and his crippled, guitar picking sidekick, a husband and wife “kill team”, prowling the back-roads for unsuspecting hitchhikers and there are other colorful and repellent folk popping up throughout, like weeds in a field.
This style has been referred to as gothic Americana or hillbilly noir but whatever it is, Pollock, in his first novel, has crafted a dark, unsettling story about rural life, with all it's shadows and hidden fears.
Of course, this will not be for everyone, but if you have the stomach for it, it is a worthy, unforgettable ride. ( )
  msf59 | Apr 20, 2014 |
This books is fabulous. I don't even remember where I ran across it to put on my 'to-read' list.

It's one of those books that defy description. What is it about? Hard to say, except there are several lives that converge together at the end.

Awesome. Read it. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
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Book description
In the years following the end of World War II, Willard Russell is tormented by the horrors he witnessed in the South Pacific and fears his punishment for the lives he took is watching his wife die of cancer, while their son also deals with his own personal demons, which may be linked to a serial killer who is on the prowl in rural Ohio.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038553504X, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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"--Jacket.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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