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Child of God

( 60 )

Overview

In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard—a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape—haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.  While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

A taut, chilling novel that plumbs the depths of human degradation, this is the story of Lester Ballard--a violent, dispossessed man, falsely ...

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Child of God

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Overview

In this taut, chilling novel, Lester Ballard—a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape—haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.  While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

A taut, chilling novel that plumbs the depths of human degradation, this is the story of Lester Ballard--a violent, dispossessed man, falsely accused of rape--who haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail, preying on the population with his strange lusts. Out of print since 1984.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679728740
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 63,532
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2001

    Child of God is thought provoking story

    Child of God is indeed a disturbing book. I live in rural Virginia and have known many people who have lived for generations in the same world dipicted in this book. This deliverance-esque way of life is very real, although it may seem foreign to most people. The actions of Lester Ballard may be ghasty and horrible at times, but are also undeniably quite humorous. This book is very much what you might imagine the life of Edward Gein might have been- a man who is generally thought of as the town dullard and goofus, maybe a little wierd- who has an entirely different life unbeknownst to the people with whom he has lived with his entire life. I found this book, funny, horrible, and very thought provoking. This is a book that shows you a very well-drawn picture of a sad and hopeless man, and what his life is like. This picture may not be pretty, but it is real- and it shows you a different aspect of life that you may not have realized was there. This book stays in your mind for a long time, and I would only recommend it to people who are interested in expanding their knowledge and broadening their point of view. If you are looking for a book that is comfortable and relaxing, you should stick to All The Pretty Horses.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    "It was disgusting...it was this....it was that..." M

    "It was disgusting...it was this....it was that..."

    Most of you didn't even understand this novel and have no business reviewing it. That McCarthy created a character who, in spite of all the crazy, depraved things he does, still evokes our sympathy or at least not our outright ire, is amazing. Lester is definitely a memorable character, his actions are an abomination and unforgiveable, and yet Cormac's point that Lester, too, is a child of God still shines through. That takes a master's touch. For those of you who distilled this down to some kind of titillating horror show--read Harry Potter and leave grown up fiction to grown ups.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    Beautifully written, but extremely disturbing story. Tackles acts of violence and perversion that are very unsettling. With all that being said, the story truly sticks with you long after you're through.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2001

    Intense but sickening

    'Child of God' goes deep down and explores the depths of human perversity and insanity. Lester Ballard is a demented individual living in the eastern hill country of Tennessee who has been falsely accused of rape. After a very brief stint in the clink, he begins committing savage acts against his fellow man. Overall, this is an interesting and gripping novel, but very stomach turning and graphic. The novel is very well written and features stunning imagery. I liked the chapter where the town sheriff, deputy and an elderly man named Mr. Wade are rowing a boat down the flooded town streets. I thought their conversation was interesting and a little surreal. Overall, a good book to read. Beware though, it's not for those who don't like to read about gruesome and sinister things.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    outstanding

    McCarthy has a writing style that will spoil you. He puts you into the story like no other author I know of.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    To the one below.

    The reason there is no "suspense" is because Mccarthy wrote in the southern gothic style. The whole genre consists of no real suspense, no climax. Faulkner also wrote in this way, and while many people consider him a fantastic writer, we find no real suspense in his works either.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    An early glimpse of a master at work

    The wit and pace of his middling works, the infectious tone and dialogue of Suttree, and the stark and discomfitting humanity of his darker works.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    One of the best pieces of literature out there.

    This was the first book by Cormac McCarthy I decided to check out and it certainly hasn't been my last. Reading McCarthy is like reading poetry; the lines flow with such unique and tangible imagery that you forget you're reading fiction. He does an amazing job at capturing the environment and time period of the characters in Child of God, and allow the reader to experience a lifestyle they have probably never been exposed to. The content is not for the faint of heart - the lead character is an anti-hero, to say the least. Yet in spite of Ballard's dark deeds, McCarthy is skilled enough to somehow make us feel for Ballard's circumstance and palpable loneliness. I would highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dark & creepy..

    First of all, this is a very dark book, creepy and depressing throughout!

    The book centers around a lonesome man by the name of Lester Ballard, he's a little bit (Hannibal Lecter) and a little bit (Ed Gein). Lester finds a dead girls body, instead of telling someone, he takes her home. After the first one, Lester can't stop!

    The story in "Child of God" takes awhile to really get going, but the last half of the book is a page turner!

    Highly recommended to all McCarthy fans!

    Amazingly this McCarthy book was written in 1973! Wow!

    Great short read that takes you to a dark, dark place!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Strange but good

    It would seem to be quite a challenge to wrote a story about a man who murders women and keeps there bodies in a series of tunnels in a way that a reader could tolerate, non the less enjoy. However, Cormac McCarthy manages to do this for the most part. He never apologizes for the way Lester Ballard acts, and doesn't really try to explain it in a way that would make it understandable or forgivable. However, it's still possible to enjoy the story of this strange man. Also, the sections that tell the story from the point of view of the others who live in the town he's tormenting adds variety and some aspects of mild humor (though I wouldn't consider the story a comedy). Any book that can tell such a morbid story in a way that can be enjoyed, and forces the reader to think about how enjoying it makes them feel, is surly a good read. And the short length means anyone can get into it and finish in just a few days.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Necrophilia Psycho!

    Cormac McCarthy is quick to the point in this short tale. I rather enjoyed this book.
    <br>
    Lester Ballard is one creepy guy running around the hills of Tennessee disposing of bodies as he sees fit. Well, not disposing of, rather displaying and using them for his freaky needs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Terse and Deviant

    You can't beat Cormac McCarthy for aesthetic beauty. Lester Ballard is evil and at the same time pitifully likeable. Nobody steps in saying he is the bad guy. The dialect is itself a work of art, like most of McCarthy's novels, it shows you the characters more than any physical detail. <BR/><BR/>Child of God is a short story, in my opinion. A small, fast story that will linger long after you've read the last page. <BR/><BR/>It's deranged and hysterical. One of my favorites.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2014

    Awsome

    So good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2014

    Untitled

    Another eloquently written novel by McCarthy. If you love his bleak, straightforward prose and his dark subjects, you will love all of his novels, including this one.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Shoulda been a poet

    Although I can't deny the beauty of McCarthy's writing, I don't find any suspense and only the bare bones of a plot in any of his books. Child of God is no exception. The story consists of beautifully crafted snapshots of Lester Ballard's madness and eventual destruction, but suspense? No. It is thought provoking as to the courses madness can take and the form in which it reveals itself. Maybe the Ballad of Lester Ballard would have been a better title. Also, it's a short, quick read. The 3 stars are for the brevity of the novel

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    excellent

    not as good as old country or the road...but still very dark and interesting

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  • Posted July 30, 2010

    HATED IT!

    This book was disgusting, I did not find any literary value in this book, it was a waste of my time. It is dark, has bad language (which usually indicates an authors inability to express themselves more intelligently). It has incest and rape of dead bodies. I feel sad for folks who get a "kick" out of this type of literature. SAD, Sad! Don't waste your time with this one!

    0 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Interesting and disturbing dark story.

    Interesting characters, but the plot pales next to The Road. I read The Road first, and was probably expecting more than I should have. Nevertheless, I would recommend it, especially if you haven't read The Road yet. I would also add that McCarthy's writing style is not my favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews

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