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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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2,074524,570 (3.82)126
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English (51)  Spanish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
I told myself I was done with Cormac McCarthy after reading No Country for Old Men. First I declared publicly that I couldn’t finish that book — that it was just too depressing. Then last week I went on a road trip and did, in fact, finish that book. It was depressingly good. Meaning that while it was depressing it was also hard to put down.

Then I declared, also publicly, that that was it. No more depressing McCarthy. But as I was reading some commentaries about No Country for Old Men, I started reading about one of his earlier novels, Child of God.

Now, you know I can’t turn down a really well written novel about depravity. Also, I’m attracted to novels and stories about inbred hillbilly misfits and the like. So yeah, I downloaded Child of God to my Kindle and started reading.

I’m not going to drop any spoilers here. As of right now I am 67% through the book. It’s a fast read. It is fascinating, disgusting, and wonderful. I’m not sure why I say wonderful, but I think it is this…

The thing about McCarthy is that he can use the most beautiful, descriptive, poetic language and then the next sentence makes you want to barf or just retreat from the world. The first of his work that I read — Blood Meridian — I thought it was brilliant, but I think that now 3 books into his work I am starting to really get what the big deal is about him.

I lack the knowledge to really delve into what I think makes this writing good. Maybe in the coming months I will figure it out. It’s not just violent gross bullshit, and I think that points to the question I’ve got: Why is it not just violent gross bullshit? What makes it good? What makes it literary? ( )
  bibliosk8er | Aug 16, 2018 |
Child of God Ok. I think this was a pretty good book overall because it definitely questions humanity and pushes the envelope. The story is kind of fast paced but jagged. There are long, poetic descriptions of nature that juxtapose with the cruelty that is actually happening. This book although short was not a quick read because I actually had to put it down and re read a few times. ( )
  1forthebooks | May 22, 2018 |
Easily 4.5/5 stars. I can't believe how good each of McCarthy's books have been. I've so far read 6/10 of his books (still have Orchard Keeper, No Country for Old Men, Suttree, and one of his older one's to read), and they've all been incredible. I first read The Road, and didn't care for it too much but could tell that the man could write a sentence. Then I read Blood Meridian and...well...that's got to be one of my top 3 books ever.
This book isn't as good as Blood Meridian, or ATPH, or The Crossing, but it shouldn't be either. It's quite short but packs a lot in. It's humorous and extremely disturbing...the two together make it even more disturbing, because how dare I enjoy the meanderings of a necrophile?
I can see more from this book than any other the comparisons of him to Faulkner (especially As I Lay Dying). I was shocked to see that he used a first person narrative sometimes in the novel, something I've never seen in any of his other books. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
Lester Ballard of rural (very rural) Tennessee. Falsely accused of rape early on. Guilty of other transgressions later. What to make of McCarthy's gothic vision of this lonely, violent and depraved "child of God"? Beautiful prose, naturally. (Not going to let the subject matter affect my rating, though this is no territory I want to revisit.) ( )
  beaujoe | Jul 1, 2017 |
I recently finished The Road which I thoroughly enjoyed so I thought I'd try another McCarthy book. I knew nothing about this before I started and it was a rather big departure. Where The Road was dark and depressing, this book was more solely depraved. It's sort of Ed Gein meets Deliverance. ( )
  Bricker | Aug 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (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 editionscalculated
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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