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And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave
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And the Ass Saw the Angel (original 1989; edition 2009)

by Nick Cave (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,595228,687 (3.84)32
Outcast, mute, a lone twin cut from a drunk mother in a shack full of junk, Euchrid Eucrow of Ukulore inhabits a nightmarish Southern valley of preachers and prophets, incest and ignorance. When the God-fearing folk of the town declare a foundling child to be chosen by the Almighty, Euchrid is disturbed. He sees her very differently, and his conviction, and increasing isolation and insanity, may have terrible consequences for them both. . . Compelling and astonishing in its baroque richness, Nick Cave's acclaimed first novel is a fantastic journey into the twisted world of Deep Southern Gothic tragedy.… (more)
Member:stephen99
Title:And the Ass Saw the Angel
Authors:Nick Cave (Author)
Info:Penguin (2009), 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave (1989)

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Update 24/3/2020 I discover Nick Caves reading this and it's great. Maybe it's like Dickens, has to be performed, not read. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQOn9z_CUEQ Highly recommended.

Also: he thought while he was writing it that using a lot of words nobody knew was very funny, but in retrospect he wasn't so sure; this from an interview in the early nineties.

----------------------------------
I think this just isn't my thing. On some sort of word/sentence level I'm admiring it, it reads a bit like music. Lots of people have called it indulgent, and that's a fair cop surely. The language, the style, the unusual words, the gothic floridness. But it has a uniformity of the bizarre that makes this dull after a while. David Katzman confessed that having read it a while back, the details are no longer with him, just an idea of the creepiness. That sums up the impact for me. But I feel like it could make a powerful movie, it is very VERY visual.

Nick Cave said recently that he should have set it in Australia, it's quintessentially Australian. Can anybody else see that? I've tried and been found wanting if that's the case. https://www.abc.net.au/doublej/music-reads/features/nick-cave-conversations-revi...

I'm moving on, having read the first 60 pages or so - but I can't help feeling I've let the author down and that it deserved more from me. Maybe it's one to be revisited in the right mood. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Update 24/3/2020 I discover Nick Caves reading this and it's great. Maybe it's like Dickens, has to be performed, not read. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQOn9z_CUEQ Highly recommended.

Also: he thought while he was writing it that using a lot of words nobody knew was very funny, but in retrospect he wasn't so sure; this from an interview in the early nineties.

----------------------------------
I think this just isn't my thing. On some sort of word/sentence level I'm admiring it, it reads a bit like music. Lots of people have called it indulgent, and that's a fair cop surely. The language, the style, the unusual words, the gothic floridness. But it has a uniformity of the bizarre that makes this dull after a while. David Katzman confessed that having read it a while back, the details are no longer with him, just an idea of the creepiness. That sums up the impact for me. But I feel like it could make a powerful movie, it is very VERY visual.

Nick Cave said recently that he should have set it in Australia, it's quintessentially Australian. Can anybody else see that? I've tried and been found wanting if that's the case. https://www.abc.net.au/doublej/music-reads/features/nick-cave-conversations-revi...

I'm moving on, having read the first 60 pages or so - but I can't help feeling I've let the author down and that it deserved more from me. Maybe it's one to be revisited in the right mood. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Update 24/3/2020 I discover Nick Caves reading this and it's great. Maybe it's like Dickens, has to be performed, not read. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQOn9z_CUEQ Highly recommended.

Also: he thought while he was writing it that using a lot of words nobody knew was very funny, but in retrospect he wasn't so sure; this from an interview in the early nineties.

----------------------------------
I think this just isn't my thing. On some sort of word/sentence level I'm admiring it, it reads a bit like music. Lots of people have called it indulgent, and that's a fair cop surely. The language, the style, the unusual words, the gothic floridness. But it has a uniformity of the bizarre that makes this dull after a while. David Katzman confessed that having read it a while back, the details are no longer with him, just an idea of the creepiness. That sums up the impact for me. But I feel like it could make a powerful movie, it is very VERY visual.

Nick Cave said recently that he should have set it in Australia, it's quintessentially Australian. Can anybody else see that? I've tried and been found wanting if that's the case. https://www.abc.net.au/doublej/music-reads/features/nick-cave-conversations-revi...

I'm moving on, having read the first 60 pages or so - but I can't help feeling I've let the author down and that it deserved more from me. Maybe it's one to be revisited in the right mood. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
io non lo so perché.
proprio proprio non me lo spiego..
cioè, ogni volta mi dico "basta, non è possibile!",
e ogni volta invece finisce così:
che perdo la testa per "personaggi" come minimo strambi, a volte un po' alienati... che più si credono normali più si può star certi di scoprire che sono un sacco contorti dentro.. e affascinanti! (hem, sì.. vabbe'.. per me, ovvio)

ecco, questo libro è stato il mio primo del genere che io chiamo "socio-psico patologico".
..e fu amore a prima pagina!
perché comunque c'è molto di più.

esiste un superlativo assoluto di assolutamente magnifico?!

p.s.:
in verità vi dico… che comunque non saprei dire nemmeno il titolo di una canzone di nick cave.
giusto per precisare.
;P ( )
  cry6379 | Sep 17, 2017 |
When I read Nick Cave's second book, The Death of Bunny Munro, about a year ago I had a mixed reaction, recognising sparks of quality but also a lot of missteps or muddled ideas. At the time, I said that Cave was an excellent songwriter and musician, but that I would reserve my judgement on whether he is a good writer of fiction until I had read And the Ass Saw the Angel.

Now, after finally getting around to reading it, I can indeed say that he is a good writer. And the Ass Saw the Angel is exceptional in parts, merely very good in others, especially when you consider that it is a debut novel. In a number of ways it is similar to The Death of Bunny Munro: broadly speaking, both chart the descent into madness of their protagonists, relying on stream-of-consciousness techniques and explicit and obscene acts to chart the characters' mental deterioration (in Bunny, these depravities were sexual acts, in Ass they are mostly violent ones). But where Bunny was muddled, Ass is focused. This is peculiar, considering that Bunny was written about twenty years later, when you would assume an author would become more assured in his writing. Perhaps this is because Ass is told (mostly) from the first-person perspective of Euchrid, and consequently we are more intimate with his decline into madness.

Though I have said that And the Ass Saw the Angel is more focused, it is not necessarily an easy read. However, before reading I assumed that this would be because of the dense, lyrical prose but, surprisingly, this was not as problematic as I feared. I never felt bogged down in a chapter (perhaps helped by the fact that, for the first part of the book at least, the chapters are very short) and got through the book in just a couple of days. Cave seems to have an intuitive understanding of the rhythm of good prose (which is perhaps not surprising when you consider he sets words to music for a living), so for a book so dark and oppressive it flows remarkably well. Rather, it is a difficult read because of the violent acts which pepper the book. Some other reviewers have said that these acts seemed unnecessary, which was why they felt they could not get into the book, but Ass is an insight into the mind of its demented protagonist Euchrid Eucrow, and the violence serves to oppress the reader's mind to mirror how Euchrid's is oppressed by his own darker thoughts. To borrow a phrase from page 180, Cave pollutes our skulls with sickly poetry.

And to be sure, some of the things described do haunt the reader. The whole thing with Cosey Mo, from the arrival of the townsfolk on Hooper's Hill through the fingers and the wheelchair to her late encounter with Euchrid's father, is hard to read. The Hooper's Hill incident in particular was a chilling depiction of the violent fervour of evangelical religiosity and the ease with which religion can ally itself with a lynch-mob mentality. But even the whole Cosey arc is nothing compared to that of Beth. The paedophilic undertones are incredibly creepy, and there are hints throughout the text about how far the obsession with this innocent child goes (see the Epilogue, for example), both from Euchrid and the townsfolk. Indeed, the townsfolk's obsession with Beth and its effect on her illustrates the intrinsically paedophilic nature of indoctrinating children into a faith. Her letters to 'God' are heartbreaking, even before we consider who they are really addressed to. Brought up from birth to believe she is a saviour, when God does not come to her this little girl asks confusedly if she has done a wrong thing? Please tell me so I can stop." (pg. 211). Beth declares her love for God and gives herself 'without question' to Him (pg. 244), though she believes God to be the shadow outside her window whose heavy breathing she can hear.

This is an incredibly disturbing, yet rewarding book. Like the Biblical scripture from which it draws its inspiration, it can be interpreted in a number of ways, and I must refrain from offering my own rambling and semi-coherent interpretation. Therefore, I will only say that it is hard to determine whether you will like this book until you actually read it. As most people will no doubt be coming to And the Ass Saw the Angel as a fan of Nick Cave's music, I will make a poor attempt to summarise that, thematically, it is in line with the early Bad Seeds albums, but it reads like an extended Murder Ballad." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nick Caveprimary authorall editionscalculated
Batrla, LiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gailiūtė, GabrielėTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hrách, TomášTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schöenfelt, PhilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, WernerÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Széky, JánosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiirinen, MikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Erkelens, RobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Velíšek, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The work's epigraph quotes the King James Bible, the Book of Numbers, Chapter 22, Verses 23-31.

23 And the ass saw the angel of the Loard standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
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For Anita
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Three greasy brother crows wheel, beak to heel, cutting a circle into the bruised and troubled sky, making fast, dark rings through the thicksome bloats of smoke.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Outcast, mute, a lone twin cut from a drunk mother in a shack full of junk, Euchrid Eucrow of Ukulore inhabits a nightmarish Southern valley of preachers and prophets, incest and ignorance. When the God-fearing folk of the town declare a foundling child to be chosen by the Almighty, Euchrid is disturbed. He sees her very differently, and his conviction, and increasing isolation and insanity, may have terrible consequences for them both. . . Compelling and astonishing in its baroque richness, Nick Cave's acclaimed first novel is a fantastic journey into the twisted world of Deep Southern Gothic tragedy.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141045612, 014104487X

 

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