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 I think this just isn't my thing. Nick Cave said recently that he should have set it in Australia, it's quintessentially Australian.
Balak: Is the Ass a Prophet or is the Prophet an Ass?
Can anybody else see that? I've tried and been found wanting if that's the case. 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. View all 3 comments. Sep 27, gaby rated it liked it. Mah God, ah am at last free! From this book, that is. Overwritten, overwrought, and truly poorly edited, Nick Cave's debut novel is a grimacing, death trodden and DARKSOME tale of mental madness and religious madness and hillbilly hell and rotten mash liqueur and hobos and godsent rain curses and child rape and hooker rape and child lust and hooker lust and child killing and hooker killing.
The one and only star here is the beautiful, inventive and utterly creative use of language throughout. Ha Mah God, ah am at last free! Having loved Cave's music all my life, and especially his storytelling through lyrics, I determined to slog through this book till the bitter end in tribute to his many-faceted brilliance. With a good editor and some intensive fiction-writing classes, I believe Cave could be a tremendously powerful writer.
But this book smacks of having been vetted by yes-people or non-writers. Though I love him still, I don't know that I will rush to suffer another of his novels! View all 9 comments. I would have to agree with a fellow reviewer of And the Ass Saw the Angel by saying that this novel is very much what would happen if William Faulkner wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude.
It is a meditation not only on isolation, but exclusion. Nick Cave's grandiloquent debut novel plays upon the notions of madness and zealotry: their intersexions and divergences. It's hard to call this dark, though it certainly plumbs darkness. As the book progressed, I notived many common themes with his songs I would have to agree with a fellow reviewer of And the Ass Saw the Angel by saying that this novel is very much what would happen if William Faulkner wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude.
As the book progressed, I notived many common themes with his songs, notably 'Tupelo', 'Black Crow King', and much of his musical influences as tributed on Kicking Against the Pricks. If you enjoy the '80s-era Bad Seeds, the novel will feel like a culmination of sorts.
Can a book start out as a 5 star read but by the end you absolutely despise it? In my experience, yes! I have no idea what I just read nor do I really want to ponder on it anymore. The Doghead section completely did me in. View all 16 comments. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Although Cave's manic effort will not lure traditionalists, it may snare the more adventurous.
From Euchrid's father's love for torturing animals to a group of hag's grooming a young girl to birth the new Messiah, every page is next level fucked up. I genuinely do not know how I feel about this book. Only upon reflection did I realise the true horror of what I just read. Nick Cave was so clever with the way he carried out writing this, though.
As a lyricist, he applied poetic tone throughout the novel and increased Euchrid's resonance of insanity as his disastrous life unfolded. This component made reading so smooth and elegant, despite the material. Because of this, I think this book is outstanding. It capitalised on the actuality of life and once you got over the initial surrealism, well, it left me a little mundane about life in general if I am honest.
You could argue the evil and cruelty within this book has been spun out of proportion but who are we too deny how depraved humankind can be in the environment of the unknown. God, humans are fucking monsters. Sep 29, Dane Cobain rated it really liked it. Then a friend told me it was her favourite book and as I happened to have it sitting on my shelves, I picked it up.
And it was awesome. Aug 30, Mel Bossa rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction , to-buy. The "cleanness" narrative I've ever read I think. Clean meaning there is no barrier between Eucrid and the reader. You inhabit him wholly and completely for the duration of the book--never driven out by Pastor Reality. It's a body I couldn't wait to leave and through those demented eyes, I experienced madness and heard the creeks and bangs of its mechanisms.
Nick Cave took me to the limits of CrazyTown and then made me turn around and take in the grandiose view of it without permission to blink. What is the whole thing about? Review and rating to come As soon as I figure out what happened here, and why. View all 5 comments. Southern Gothic, at nearly its finest. Better than Faulkner although that's probably unfair since I've only managed to read his short stories , but not as good as Flannery O'Connor though she wrote more short stories than novels.
Cave is somewhere between them, but darker, dirtier, and creepier. I absolutely loved this. I wouldn't recommend it to people. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I went into it not knowing anything about it other than it was written by Nick Cave be still, my Southern Gothic, at nearly its finest. I went into it not knowing anything about it other than it was written by Nick Cave be still, my heart. I've had this on my shelf forever and have put it off for so long because I was scared I would hate it and then my image of him would forever be tarnished.
Or something. There's also a soundtrack which is wonderful from what I've heard of it, and fits the book perfectly. The whole kit and caboodle But it's one of those secret loves, except for all of you in GR and anyone else who asks; I guess my point is I probably won't go around talking about it because I like that not a lot of people have read it or even heard about it. It's out-of-print, so finding a copy is like finding a rare gem. A really dark, dirty, creepy gem.
And the Ass Saw the Angel, Revised Edition
A blood gem. View all 4 comments. Jun 14, Tina rated it did not like it Shelves: a-team-group-reads. I am too tired to say much about this waste of time novel. This book I paid too much for is now in the recycle bin where it can be reborn as scratchy, industrial, toilet paper. Nick Cave had to be stoned out of his mind when he wrote this sick nonsense. The publisher had to be smoking wacky weed and I am nuts for reading the majority of it. And I thought Infinite Jest was the worst book ever. Aug 26, Tammy Salyer rated it really liked it.
A dark and disturbing yarn from one of music's most diverse and moving lyricists. Cave has turned the underbelly of Appalachia into something more hideous than our imaginations would have dared conjure on their own. He brings us into a place of such strangeness and depravity that even our dreams cannot escape the black clutches of its evil spawn. If you are looking for something with depth and beautiful prose, but which will also twist your mind, look no further than And the Ass Saw the Angel.
Nick Cave's contribution to the written word 20 April I have been meaning to read this book ever since I discovered Nick Cave as a musician. I also recently discovered that he is also Australian born in Warracknabeal in Victoria which means that there are actually some decent musicians coming out of Australia, as well as authors. Okay, I probably shouldn't knock Australian artists, but to be honest with you I have never really been a big fan of Australian music, literature, or movies.
I gu Nick Cave's contribution to the written word 20 April I have been meaning to read this book ever since I discovered Nick Cave as a musician. I guess it is not because they are bad, but more because there has really been nothing that has interested or inspired me.
Look, Australia does not actually produce the cookie-cutter rubbish that seems to come out of the United States, and it does have its own distinctive character, but I guess because Australia is such a lucky country, there has not really been a huge impetus for literature. I would say that this is Nick Cave's attempt at writing literature. His music does tend to be quite dark and moving, and this book is no different: in fact a number of people have suggested that his music has gone into this book, but that is not really all that surprising since Nick Cave is an artist as opposed to simply being a musician, all you need to be a musician is the ability to play music, however to be an artist requires great skill and artists will put a lot of their own feeling and passion into their works of art.
Numbers 22 (RSV) - Bible Society
Now, I am not going out to say that this novel is a work of art, I am still not sure as to where I would categorise this book, but I can say that it is more than a simple airport novel, but I am not willing to go as far as to say that it is literature. Anyway, I think I should talk about the novel, and I must admit that it is different, very different. The protagonist is a deformed mute who lives in a backward American town that was founded and is ruled by a religious sect known as the Ukulites.
It is actually very difficult to follow this book as we are generally seeing the events of the outside world from the eyes of Eucrid and as the story continues, it seems that his mind becomes more and more crowded. Eucrid does not live a happy life, he is a deformed individual in a village of deformities, an outcast among outcasts. While at the beginning of the novel he lives with his mother and father who are not pleasant individuals by the end he has locked himself away in his own fortress.
There are a lot of religious overtones throughout the novel, but once again that is not surprising coming from Nick Cave since there are a lot of religious overtones in his music. I would not necessarily say that he is antagonistic towards religion, he is not, however it is very clear that the antagonism lies towards established religion. This actually seems to be a very common theme in Western Literature, in that people are not antagonistic towards God, but towards those who claim to be his ambassadors.
In a way, it can be said that with friends like them, God does not need enemies, but the truth is that God has quite a few enemies, and unfortunately those that call him their friend, do not act like friends. I guess there is an idea of personal faith verses communal faith in this novel. Eucrid has personal faith, and unfortunately it does not seem to fall into line with the valley's communal faith.
However, the idea of communal faith that comes out from the novel tends to end up becoming corrupted by those who practice it, and it is usually the leader of the community that directs the movement of the communal faith. The problem is that when one has personal faith, one would want to meet with and spend time with those of similar ideas, however the problem is that when the community takes a position, it can be very easy to become obstinate with that position, and then begin to alienate people who old contrary positions.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are objective concepts in Christianity, however we can end up creating a lot more objectivism than is really demonstrated by the Bible. One objective fact that Christianity claims is that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Another is that he was crucified, died, and buried, and on the third day rose bodily from the dead. However, let us move to personal opinions, such as smoking. I find it strange that while churches are not strictly no-smoking zones, nobody will actually smoke on the church grounds, and those that do tend to be alienated.
Another can be political. It is quite sad to have heard Christians indicate that unless you vote one particular way, you are not a Christian and are disobeying God. The Bible doesn't say anything about politics or smoking, yet we seem to add those things into it. The problem that I have with Church and Politics is that there is no consistency, and we tend to focus entirely on one aspect and ignore the other.
One political party bans abortion, however neglects the poor believing that the poor are poor through their own fault. However, another party attempts to provide assistance to the poor, but is morally bankrupt. Then there is the economic aspects of the parties, and in particular a lot of greed floating around the congregation. In fact one of the things that I have noticed with Christianity is that while everybody is equal before God, not everybody is equal in the church. If one is on minimum wage and one goes to a church of doctors and lawyers, then one begins to feel alienated because one is not as wealthy as the rest of the congregation.
This is not the easiest book to read, and some have suggested that one needs to actually read the book more than once to attempt to actually understand what is going on.
Unfortunately this is not really a book that I am going to pick up anytime soon to read. However, I am glad that I have eventually got around to reading it. Aug 04, Toolshed rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
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I'm not even going to include a particular quote in this review, because the whole book should be put in quotation marks and laid out for everyone to see. The style of this novel is one of the highlights of English-spoken literature regardless of genre, period or form. Admittedly, it's not an easy read.
It takes a particular type of reader in a particular state of mind in order to enjoy it. Cave's prose is extremely dense, heavy and might catch you off-guard. And even if you get through the forma I'm not even going to include a particular quote in this review, because the whole book should be put in quotation marks and laid out for everyone to see.
And even if you get through the formal obstacles, there's still the content which is not in any way less extreme.
Quite the contrary. In his debut novel, Cave pretty much exclusively explores the darker aspects of life. For this purpose, he has created his own version of Hell on Earth, the idiosyncratic settlement of Ukulore Valley which is, paradoxically, supposed to be a promised land for the numerous fanatics that reside there. Cave tackles religious themes just as everyone who is even remotely familiar with his music intervowen with dark poetry would come to expect from him: He looks at through the prism of a twisted, deranged individual.
Euchrid, his so-called prophet of God, is more of an anti-prophet, foretelling death and destruction. Cave turns the traditional Christian principles upside down: his preachers who are supposed to be the men of faith e. Abie Poe are, in fact, among the most morally bankrupt and corrupt people that you can find in Ukulore Valley.
The prostitute Cosey Mo, on the other hand, is by contrast one of the few people who show compassion and possess a kind of moral center. And following the twisted logic of the story, she is also the one who gets branded an undesired individual and gets lynched by angry mob. It's a novel full of stark contrasts, a novel which is, in its core, about accepting death as shown by the frame narrative where we see Euchrid slowly immersing into the swamp mud and he embraces death as a form of deliverance , seeing death as a welcome alternative as opposed to life full of torment, suffering, grief and ordeal.
The picture that Cave paints with his dark-toned brush is certainly not a pretty one. It's chock-full of scenes which may even make you nauseated. But it's an absolutely compelling ride through the most obscene, grotesque and depraved aspects of our humanity, written in an impeccable manner with Cave having plenty of space to show off his linguistic equilibristics - but done in such a way that the style is an organic part of the novel and the novel would be nowhere as magnificent if it weren't for the style.
The two are complementary. Jan 26, Ariel Marble rated it it was amazing. While the writing is certainly indulgent, it's important to remember that the narration is in first-person -- that is, the wordplay and elitist vocabulary bordering on nonsense and semi-stream-of-consciousness monologues are composing a cross-section of Euchrid's brain.
The prose is complex, gritty and even abrasive at times, but to judge all of the technicalities of Cave's writing as faults of the author is to ignore the possibility - and the necessity - of the main character having some hand i While the writing is certainly indulgent, it's important to remember that the narration is in first-person -- that is, the wordplay and elitist vocabulary bordering on nonsense and semi-stream-of-consciousness monologues are composing a cross-section of Euchrid's brain.
The prose is complex, gritty and even abrasive at times, but to judge all of the technicalities of Cave's writing as faults of the author is to ignore the possibility - and the necessity - of the main character having some hand in the often ridiculous, often confusing, often disturbing diction. Cave wrote this book in first person for a reason and personally, the schizophrenic writing only served to make my impression of Euchrid and his kingdom of Doghead almost way too vivid. That being said, if you don't like And the Ass Saw the Angel , it's not necessarily because you "don't get it".
The prose either works for you or it doesn't. A lot of the words he uses are portmanteaus and many are just flat-out made-up, and it can be confusing to try to understand the meaning of a sentence through the context of Euchrid being such an unreliable and craaaazy narrator. Reading this book was a frustrating, murky and at times terrible experience -- and that's coming from someone who loved it! It's not for everyone: the story is beyond dark, the setting is nightmarish, the characters are for the most part despicable and the protagonist antihero?
This book is not a feel-good experience. What it is, however, is an astoundingly complex character study; the plot doesn't twist and turn so much as it reluctantly parts for Euchrid's determined and melancholy trudging, and the setting doesn't passively wait to be captured in description and pretty pictures so much as it seeps and slithers into his every bit of narration.
It's fascinating, it's well-done, and if you find yourself being one of those weirdos who enjoys these sorts of novels or who decides to just this one time , I think you'll find that it sticks with you long after the book is closed. Jan 04, John rated it it was ok. Nick Cave should stick with his music. He is a more than capable writer, but this book was uninteresting for the most part.
I had qualms with a lot of it. My biggest problem is the vocabulary of the main character, Euchrid. Euchrid is a mute and as far as I know never went to school and his parents certainly didn't teach him anything. His mother being a massive drunk and his father pays more attention to the traps he sets and the animals he maims than to Euchrid. But that is not so important for the Literary Man. In popular fiction the story is king, and the writing style is of virtually no importance. We, on the other hand, want a story, of course, but the style of the writing is what counts.
This book is a buy and hold. One of my favorite books of all time. I note, however, at least in the edition I read, which was printed in the UK, they use British terms for things. But they do use some funny words.
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