In this taut, chilling audiobook, 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.
©1973 Cormac McCarthy (P)2012 Recorded Books
he is excellent in both
The narration was excellent. On its own the book deserves less than the 4 stars I have given. This is my 4th Cormack McCarthy novel and the least impressive. It is a character study of a depraved down and out. But it is short on the study and long on the depravity. I enjoy reading about the dark side of human nature but I found little justification or insight in this example.
"And HE has sent me here?"
Look, I've read a lot of Cormac McCarthy and this is definitely not your Mother's McCarthy. I think this novel was the final pupa-state before McCarthy emerged as an absolute dark monster of fiction and heir to Faulkner's as ambassador to the strange malevolence of America's soul.
It wasn't as absurdly redeeming as 'Suttrre' or as coldly beautiful as 'Blood Meridian', but had the surreal shock and awe of both. His themes of isolation, perversity, depravity and violence make you feel like climbing into bed with Hannibal Lector or Jame Gumb for warmth and spiritual succor.
A great novel, just not a novel that everyone should read. Wander into the dark, damp cave of this McCarthy novel at your own risk.
"Soaring description of base depravity"
I rarely take the time to recommend an audio book, but it this case I must. Cormac McCarthy's usual grimness is elevated to art not just by his majestic writing but by the spot-on narration. I cannot imagine that reading this could have even half the impact of listening to it. Go listen.
"Pure Evil, Beautifully Written"
As often is the case, Cormac McCarthy takes a subject on with pure evil intent and actions.
Lester Ballard is the worst kind of human animal. A pure psychopath with a twangy good ole boy voice, Lester commits the most heinous and depraved acts imaginable.
And despite this dark subject, Cormac spins it with gifted prose that cannot be mistaken for any other author. I just love this guy's writing.
"Cormac McCarthy is just odd. Good, but odd."
First off - great story, and fantastic narration.
Second, it jumps. The storyline. I know that's a thing for McCarthy, and on a written page I bet it's (hopefully) a little more obvious. But in narration, there's spots that I doubled back, even tripled back, a few times, trying to understand what was going on. Once I got it, the story moved quickly and with such great detail and description, I knew exactly what was happening; but it was those odd scene changes that were jarring, all the way through the book.
This is not my first Cormac novel; (No Country For Old Men, which is amazing to read); so I knew what to expect with the graphic violence, (which didn't bother me at all) or sexual deviance, (also didn't bother me). His sense of timing was crazy. Sometimes, a scene goes so slow, detailing the tiniest bits, taking care to provide what's going on in the character's head, and then other times he's leaping forward in bounds.
I liked it. I enjoyed it; laughed, cringed, the whole thing. Like in No Country, he didn't really spend much time on the WHY something happened; it just happened and then the story unfolds.
I'd totally recommend it to somebody to listen to. I already have. I hope the movie nails the story.
"SUZIE IS A SICK DOG"
360 DEGREE SON OF A BITCH, MEANS A SON OF A BITCH ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT THEM.
If you have not read McCarthy before, know he is a master with the English language. Listening to the way he puts words together is enough to make this book or any book he writes interesting. I would not suggest this be your first McCarthy though, as this goes way out to left field. All The Pretty Horses, is probably the best place to start. THIS GAVE HIM THE FIDGITS.
DO THE LEST PART WRONG AND YOU MIGHT AS WELL DO IT ALL WRONG.
Part one is an interesting look at a part of society few of us run into. I'D EXPECT you don't talk like these guys.It's the GOD DAMNEST. Super warning, part two involves Necrophilia. I don't mean it's mentioned in passing. This book goes into great detail and on several occasions. The normal person will probably not appreciate it. As the book continues, it just gets worse and worse. Fans of J.A. Konrath will not be rattled, but the average person will. I gave the story four stars and was on the verge of five, but I am weird and like stuff that is different, just for the sake of different. It is amazing to me that such a good writer would write something like this. This is usually something written by an upcoming writer trying to shock his readers and make a name for himself. Fans of Matt Shaw will like this.
I NEVER KNOWED
Tom Stechschulte is one excellent narrator. He is going to the top of my list, up there with Ray Porter and Dick Hill.
"So much more disturbing than any current TV show"
Cormack McCarthy is, as you'd expect, a master at drawing the reader into the story. At times, I could almost smell the honeysuckle on the wind of a humid Southern night. The disgusting parts are just as vividly rendered, so be forewarned.
Parts Silence of the Lambs, Deliverance and a little bit of Dexter, this is in many ways a much more disturbing read than The Road.
Tom Stechschulte is a fantastic narrator and his performance as Lester Ballard is distinct and really sells the evil that he embodies.
Satisfying read, disturbing and thought provoking.
Not for the squeamish, but recommended for McCarthy fans.
Yes. McCarthy is a generally tough read with his run-ons and lack of normal writing style. The audible version made it easy to comprehend
"Painful - in a, well, not good, but not bad way..."
You can expect a little pain from Cormac McCarthy, and it's usually the kind that comes from engaging your emotional gears in a way your aren't used to, aren't prepared for, or that is just deeper than you normally experience. A soul workout you might say. In this story (it's barely long enough to be a "book") part of the pain is how you begin to sympathize with someone who is ultimately a pathetic anti-social murderer. You can see how the pain of his existence drives him to increasing desperation.
Not McCarthy's masterpiece, but definitely worthy of a listen if you like McCarthy's other stories.
By the way, the performance by Tom Stechschulte was superb.
"C.O.G. - Cave-Dwelling Necrophiliac Murderer"
Such a Cute Little Novel about a Cave-Dwelling Necrophiliac Murderer
The narrator of this short novel describes the main character, Lester Ballard, as "a child of God much like yourself perhaps." A 27-year-old hillbilly outcast in 1960s, Sevier County (Smoky Mountains), Tennessee. He had no parents, recently lost his home and cannot carry on normal relationships with women. When he finds a couple dead in a parked car, he takes the woman with him to be his necro-concubine in a house in which he's squatting. When the house burns down, along with the woman's corpse, he goes out to harvest other women to meet his needs by shooting/killing them and taking their corpses to a cave in which he takes up residence.
The writing was good, covering themes of violent cruelty, sexual deviancy and moral degradation., but it's a difficult read because McCarthy experimented with various styles and didn't use quotation marks.
I cannot recommend this unless you feel compelled to read the entire McCarthy collection.
"Not great. Just not my type of book. Poor story"
Storyline was difficult to follow. did not enjoy it at all. Too much blasphemy .
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