The Heavenly Table

The Heavenly Table

A Novel

Book - 2016
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It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest; handsome; intelligent); Cob (short; heavy set; a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest; thin; ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it? In the gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.--
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, [2016].
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780385541299
Branch Call Number: POLLOCK D
Characteristics: 365 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 15, 2018

This is a powerful writer. Not always pretty, but a darn good storyteller. Left me breathless.

Dec 19, 2016

warning: violent. vulgar. grimy poverty. gross. and several chuckles.

Oct 13, 2016

"Why, one day you'll get to eat at the heavenly table," the man said. "Won't be no scrounging for scraps after that, I guarantee ye."
Call it white trash noir. Donald Ray Pollock's novel is a bloody, dizzying, brutal mix of Southern gothic, pulp violence, and bleak, almost existential, comedy. Set in !917 as American enters World War I, Donald Ray Pollock, who has spent much of his life working at a paper mill, brings together a dirty poor trio of brothers turned outlaws, a closeted gay officer with dreams of glory, a serial killer, a drifter, prostitutes, a down on his luck farmer, and about half a dozen other indelibly drawn characters and throws them into a crucible of crime, death, stupidity, lust, and just about every other human failing. His writing evokes Cormac McCarthy, Flanner O'Connor, Jim Thompson, and "Deadwood," but he has a powerful, distinctive voice and a willingness to dive into the swamp of human depravity and misery that, while it can be hard to take, is
intense and compelling. Also see "The Devil All the Time."

Aug 14, 2016

I was at a Grateful Dead show back in the year of our Lord 1988 when I started seeing little red demons flying out of the speakers and come screaming past my head. That experience was almost as terrifying as this grisly, gritty tale that played out more like a 1914 version of Pulp Fiction than historical fiction. I found myself cringing on more than one occasion and like so often happens in real life was rooting more for the outlaws than the "good guys." I know folks like Snowden and Assange are supposed to be the enemy but as a long time Jello Biafra loving anarchist I can't help cheering for them on occasion too.

Aug 02, 2016

Relentlessly grim and gross. Pollock has never been an upbeat writer, but the lives he examines are nasty, brutish and short. I hardly believe in constant sunshine, but reading this work is even more depressing than usual for Pollock. Too much of anything, be it rainbows or worms crawling out of dead bodies, becomes boring and a waste of time. Pass.


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