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Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

Child of God (1973)

by Cormac McCarthy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,727474,100 (3.81)119
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» See also 119 mentions

English (44)  Spanish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the literarily respectable set. If you enjoy well-written novels with pulpy plots that treat the dirt poor as metaphors for the urbane reader's id, here's your allegorical necrophiliac hillbilly.

Two stars because I liked the chapter with the axe sharpener. ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
Bleak without abatement, lushly beautiful without flaws. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
This book descends into madness in a way that unsettled me, which is most likely the point. The story of Lester Ballard is not a nice one. He starts out as a poor, uneducated fellow who lives in a cabin in the woods. His awkward social interactions at first seemed to be no different than any other person in his depressed community. But then, Lester crossed the line between socially awkward pervert to morally depraved criminal. His crimes were hard to read, as they involved necrophilia and murder. At first I was wondering, "What the hell is the point of all this?" But upon reflection, I see how Lester's downward spiral represents a return to the primal, especially since Lester ends his spree living in a cave. Could McCarthy's point, then, be that man, when isolated from all society and morality, naturally descends into cruelty, lack of empathy, and impulsiveness? It's a frightening thought. ( )
  StoutHearted | Sep 14, 2015 |
Deeply disturbing and brilliantly written. ( )
  JenLamoureux | Jun 24, 2015 |
Powerful, wild story presents a thorough examination of loneliness and lunacy (not necessarily in that order). The style is beautiful, the subject matter grim with very dark humor. Short but packs a wallop. A solid choice for those who like Faulkner, Southern Gothic fiction and contemplating the extremes of human behavior. ( )
  kishields | Jun 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
But the carefully cold, sour diction of this book--whose hostility toward the reader surpasses even that of the world toward Lester--does not often let us see beyond its nasty "writing" into moments we can see for themselves, rendered. And such moments, authentic though they feel, do not much help a novel so lacking in human momentum or point.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cormac McCarthyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gustafsson, KerstinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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They came like a caravan of carnival folk up through the swales of broomstraw and across the hill in the morning sun, the truck rocking and pitching in the ruts and the musicians on chairs in the truckbed teetering and tuning their instruments, the fat man with guitar grinning and gesturing to others in a car behind and and bending to give a note to the fiddler who turned a fiddlepeg and listened with a wrinkled face.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679728740, Paperback)

"Scuttling down the mountain with the thing on his back he looked like a man beset by some ghast succubus, the dead girl riding him with legs bowed akimbo like a monstrous frog." Child of God must be the most sympathetic portrayal of necrophilia in all of literature. The hero, Lester Ballard, is expelled from his human family and ends up living in underground caves, which he peoples with his trophies: giant stuffed animals won in carnival shooting galleries and the decomposing corpses of his victims. Cormac McCarthy's much-admired prose is suspenseful, rich with detail, and yet restrained, even delicate, in its images of Lester's activities. So tightly focused is the story on this one "child of God" that it resembles a myth, or parable. "You could say that he's sustained by his fellow men, like you.... A race that gives suck to the maimed and the crazed, that wants their wrong blood in its history and will have it."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:08 -0400)

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Falsely accused of rape, Lester Ballard is released from jail, and a trip to the dry-goods store, an errand to the blacksmith, and other incidents are transformed into scenes of the comic and the grotesque.

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