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The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time

4.1 67
by Donald Ray Pollock

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In the backwoods of Ohio, Willard Russell’s wife is succumbing to cancer, no matter how much he drinks, prays, or sacrifices animals at his "prayer log." Meanwhile, his son Arvin is growing up, from a kid bullied at school into a man who knows when to take action. Around them swirl a nefarious cast of characters—a demented team of serial killers, a

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The Devil All the Time 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Adaptoid More than 1 year ago
By the end of the second chapter I felt as though I were reading a contemporary version of Steinbeck. Pollock's writing is somehow similar to moist beauty sucked to a ragged dry poetic carcass. The surrealistic nature of the story helps to counter the terrifying violence and savage outcome of the magnetic characters. At later points in the book the action borders on absurdist, almost to a fault, but Pollack reels the empathy back to the hopeless dilemma of his protagonist. By the end I felt as though there was light where their most obviously shouldn't be. I highly recommend!
tricia819 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I've read of Donald Pollock and it was crazy. I don't usually take the time to write reviews, but this book has me spinning. The story lines were woven into this spiderweb that just got more and more intense with each chapter. I could not stop reading it and when I got done I just wanted to talk to someone else about it. It was dark, violent and an incredible ride. Fantastic read, will be thinking about this one for a LONG time to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the 50's and 60's. Visited old timers in smokey cabins just off dirt roads. This book captures the character of the people and the poverty of these places. I have not been so engrossed with characters, even the unsavory ones, since reading John Steinbeck's novels as a youngster. Great work on tough subjects.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this dark story and found myself unwilling to put it down.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved The Devil All the Time. The characters are the darkest, most sickening creatures I have ever read about and yet, I was completely mesmerized by them. Pollock's writing is so disturbing that I often found myself wondering how I could ever suggest this book to a person without forever changing their opinion of me. There's Willard who sacrifices animals and even a human to save his dying wife, while also subjecting his son, Arvin, to these disturbing rituals. Then we have Carl and Sandy who photograph and kill models. Finally, there's the preacher, Roy, and his wheelchair-bound cousin Theodore who are equally disgusting characters in this novel. Despite the appalling crimes committed by these people, I was fascinated by their lives and couldn't put this book down. My only criticism is that each story could have stood on its own. The Devil All the Time is less like a novel and more like a compilation of short stories. I understood the grand scheme connection, but it seemed a little forced - as if the author just needed a reason to slap the stories together in the same binding. Honestly though, I was not bothered by this; it was just more substance for me to cringe at. Reviewed by Brittany for Book Sake.
Lisa Rich More than 1 year ago
Great read. A little slow at first and jumps around a bit to where you sometimes get confused but after page 125 the momentum gets going and its hard to stop. Good thriller with crazy twists!
Sharon29 More than 1 year ago
I could not put this one down!!!
Cindy Guzman More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed every detail, every character, every word. Though it may be a gruesome story line, it has become one of my favorite novels. A good read that will keep you guessing, and turning each page.
LiteraryOmnivore More than 1 year ago
Very much a pulp fiction/crime crime genre. Graphic, engrossing, and highly entertaining.
Anonymous 3 months ago
What a tale. Fascinating horrible riveting characters. Highly recommended!!! The novel includes murder, photos, suicide, religious fever, crooked cop, sex, children, chicken livers, and much more. It does trash Republicans, but that is the way to get published now. As a former resident in the area, the only way to be employed there was to be a registered Democrat. The book and story has some truly horrible characters and I could not stop reading it. The book deserves an A++++++++
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
This is a story in twos. The first starts off in the late 1940's when Arvin is a boy. His mother is dying of cancer and his father, a religious zealot, fervently believes he can save her with violent offerings to God. When that doesn't work, he offs himself and leaves Arvin in the care of his grandmother. Meanwhile, a duo preacher group comes to town and one marries a homely local girl. They have a child together. The preacher starts to lose his faith and charm and comes to believe that if he performs a resurrection, all will be well. Thinking to start off with a small animal, his partner, who never liked his friend's wife, convinces him to start big - with his wife. Well, you can imagine how that went and the two run off to Florida. Fast forward to the early 1960's. The story focuses primarily on a murderous couple that saves up their money to take a killing trip once a year. They're on year 6 or 7 now and the seams are starting to fall apart. Along the way, their paths converge with the murderous preacher and Arvin. Sprinkle in a corrupt brother cop and it's a recipe full of unsavory characters trying to survive. The book started off strong, became pretty muddled, and ended too cleanly. I really liked Arvin and the murderous couple's story, but the rest was just distracting. It became convoluted at times and I really lost interest when the other characters were the focus.
B-Cyr More than 1 year ago
The Devil All the Time is an amazing story with great writing. Read my full review here: http://everythingnoir.com/2016/01/03/book-review-the-devil-all-the-time-by-donald-ray-pollock/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book came too close to reality for comfort, terrifying tales of some backwards people
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story excited to read more from author
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Guest More than 1 year ago
In Donald Ray Pollock’s braided novel The Devil All the Time, the reader is transported back in time to a dark Midwest setting, from pre World War II to the 1960’s. Brutal and raw, Pollock creates conflicted characters toward which we feel both empathy and disgust toward. From the time that we meet small Arvin, who watches his father, Willard, sacrifice living creatures over his “prayer log” while his mother loses her battle with cancer, to the image of grown Arvin looking at the moss covered log and rotting crosses one last time, we laugh and cringe as we are dragged through the assortment of corroded and perverted character’s stories. With short chapters and sharp dialogue, this is a quick, easy read, however complicated with the intertwining stories that eventually and unexpectedly are all brought together. Pollock’s neatly woven novel uses threads that one would think unlikely to collide. A 10 year old orphan, a married couple roaming the Midwest as serial killers, fulfilling their sexual thrills, and a scamming preacher with his pedophile, guitar playing sidekick are the main focus of the book. We watch orphaned Arvin grow up in a world where serial killers, Sandy and Carl, pick up hitchhikers, luring them into filmed seduction followed by filmed murder, Preacher, Roy, and his sidekick, Theodore, are running from the law for their scandalous activity amongst churches, and the legal system in his backwoods hometown being damaged and corrupt. Just how will Arvin turn out in this world? Which characters would survive this gritty tale? Within the first 50 pages, Arvin witnesses 2 animals and a human being sacrificed by his father, hanging from crosses, and dripping with blood and maggots in order to save his mother from the cancer that is killing her. When his attempts don’t work and the woman dies, Willard, Arvin’s father, takes his own life, leaving him orphaned and to be raised by his grandmother and uncle. We see both an evil and good side of Arvin and, at the end of the novel, are left pulling for him to turn more toward good. He is the binding element throughout the book and with all the evil, we hope for some light. We meet morally bankrupt Carl and Sandy next. They save up for thrilling vacations during which they troll the nation’s highways, preying on people in need of a little help. They pick up male hitchhikers and while Sandy seduces them, Carl photographs. When they’ve gotten their thrills from their latest prey, they kill them in cold blood, taking yet more pictures. Although this couple has nothing, but evil intentions, their characters are built so well, that with their poverty and hard working nature, we can almost sympathize with them. The story of Roy and Theodore starts out casting them in the light of the Lord. Roy covers himself in spiders in front of a church while his invalid sidekick plays guitar in his wheelchair in order to prove their trust in God. As the reader watches their story unfold, we see that they are nothing but poor, lawless, scamming drunks. As they run from the law after a haunting murder, they end up in a world of trouble down the east coast. Homeless and down on their luck, the reader can also sympathize with the two anarchic men in their journey toward fulfillment. With these three main stories occurring throughout the novel, and many other side stories, they seem far from relatable to one another. In fact, they don’t all completely tie together until the last line we will read. With a shocking end, everything is tied neatly together and Pollock leaves the reader wanting more.
mib8336 More than 1 year ago
Awesome book. Pollock makes you feel like you are there.
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Zetnom More than 1 year ago
A mess of pure intrigue, suspense and sadness. The Devil All The Time, divulges into a world that we would rather not imagine, however, are allowed to experience with a well written maze of disturbed lives. The images that Pollock creates are embedded into your mind and are necessary to understand the world Arvin was born into. Pollock manages to draw a clash of emotions from readers towards the characters and surprisingly, a sense of wicked closure for Arvin. Pollock's interview on NPR introduced me to his work and quite honestly, I am now a Pollock reader for life.