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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read but Not an Easy Read
There were points in this novel when I felt something akin to sympathy for McCarthys' antagonist - which is a fine achievement by the author considering Ballards' many heinous crimes.

Despite the subject matter - which is hardly light, we're in Ed Gein territory - as the other reviewers have alluded to this is a very easy novel to read as a result of McCarthys'...
Published on 10 Feb 2009 by Sibby the Cat

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable but enthralling
After reading McCarthy's The Road I knew that I wouldn't enjoy any other subject matter he touched on as much but I was still eager to see if his writing style appealed to me. My second crack at McCarthy was Child of God - the story of Lester Ballard. Ballard is an outcast from society who lives on the fringe and soon finds himself acting in ways unacceptable by...
Published on 31 Jan 2010 by M. Emerson


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read but Not an Easy Read, 10 Feb 2009
This review is from: Child of God (Picador Books) (Paperback)
There were points in this novel when I felt something akin to sympathy for McCarthys' antagonist - which is a fine achievement by the author considering Ballards' many heinous crimes.

Despite the subject matter - which is hardly light, we're in Ed Gein territory - as the other reviewers have alluded to this is a very easy novel to read as a result of McCarthys' writing.

I came to this novel via some of McCarthys' later work - "No Country for Old Men" and "The Road" - and the clarity of his writing stands up perfectly well in comparison to these two novels.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just so, so different...., 4 May 2010
This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
Inured to the ever-promised and never-delivered 'brilliance' and 'shockingly compelling' blurbs of UK crime fiction, I thought I would go in a completely different direction. I read four books by McCarthy, this one, 'Outer Dark', also 'The Orchard Keeper and 'Blood Meridian'. What a revelation! Entirely different and refreshing. Dark, brutal, unforgiving, actually compelling (such an over-used word, and so often applied to books that are about as 'compelling' as the proverbial paint-watching exercise), this was gripping and unputdownable from the very start. It takes a special kind of writer to not only deliver a great story, but also deliver it in language that is very much his/her own, and that makes you stop and view things differently. Can't recommend it highly enough!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you don' t like necrophiles, you'll love this book., 9 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Child of God (Picador Books) (Paperback)
Lester Ballard, the main character in McCarthy's ominous Child of God, is not the most likable guy. He's an antisocial psychopath who lurks around the backwoods scaring and killing innocent people. We are drawn in, however, because despite his horrifying lifestyle we start to walk in his shoes. McCarthy's striking descriptions and perpetually foreboding tone lead us into a tangled world where loneliness leads to murderous extremes, and the woods become the playing ground for our demonical hero. At the end we feel unsettled: we like him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE, MODERN DAY CLASSIC!, 15 April 2014
By 
Greggorio! (Amazing Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Child of God (Kindle Edition)
When Cormac McCarthy writes, not only does he produce works of literature that entertain the mind, heart and soul of the reader, but he produces for us mere mortals works of such articulate expositions of the human condition that we are left in a state of joyful bewilderment. We read journeys of the human sentience-ness which plum the depths of depravity or ones that rise up ,up, up into the heavens to soar like an eagle caught up in the breath of God.

The trouble with McCarthy's works is that you pick them up and it is not until you are past the halfway mark that you realise that you are reading something that is not meant for the common man. By then, of course, it is too late to stop and put the darn thing down so you go on reading page by page, guiltily and silently turning over and casting your eyes across the next one, not quite believing what you are seeing. Sometimes you find yourself with a smirk on your face, or you emit a snort of derision but most times you are forced to wipe a tear or two away from your eyes as they cope with the beauty of the printed page beneath them. CHILD OF GOD is like this. For example, taken from 126 - 127:

"... He followed this course for perhaps a mile down all its turnings and through narrows that fetched him sideways advancing like a fencer and through a tunnel that brought him to his belly, the smell of the water beside him in the trough rich wi minerals and past the chalken dung of he knew not what animals until he climbed up a chimney to a corridor above the stream and entered into a tall and bell shaped cavern. Here the walls with their soft looking convolutions, slavered over as Pitney were wet with blood red mud, had an organic feel to them, like the innards of some great beast. Here in the bowels of the mountain Ballard turned on his light on ledges or pallets of stone where dead people lay like saints."

What a fantastic way to end a chapter! Anyway, the book is about a crazy mixed up son of a gun named Lester Ballard. As the story progresses we witness his transformation from unpopular loner into a seriously deranged and dangerous serial killer who obviously has no idea about social or ethical / moral boundaries. Toward the end I kept thinking that Ballard is a modern day version of Tolkien's Gollum, always heading back to the safety and darkness of his underground cavern. The only difference I could see was that Ballard was not eternally questing for his 'preciousssss' but instead I felt that he was searching for something much simpler, and yet for Ballard, equally unobtainable. Human companionship.

An amazing book that is a worthy recipient of my five star rating.

BFN Greggorio!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written, 2 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
I had read most of Cormac McCarthy's other work by the time I got to this earlier novel, but it was still a pleasant surprise (if you can call it pleasant).

Shorter than many of his books, it follows a troubled outsider who becomes a virtual hermit in the woods of the Deep South, only occasionally engaging with his dirt poor neighbours, and normally with troubling consequences when he does. His behaviour becomes more erratic and then murderous. Only McCarthy could make a necrophiliac murderer the central character and paint him as a troubled but believable human being as engaging in his own way as Suttree, or the Kid from Blood Meridian. As always, the environment plays a large part in the story - Nature is both a refuge for oddballs and eccentrics, and a murderous force which threatens and forms the human killer in its midst.

This is a troubling, uncomfortable, and bleak novel. It is so well done though, in McCarthy's rich and unmistakeable prose, that we are drawn in deeply to this character and his world. The effect is stunning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but rather extreme portrait of a red-neck psychopath, 28 Jan 2010
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
This is a novella written in the characteristic style of Cormac McCarthy: stripped down prose with minimal use of punctuation. Some paragraphs require re-reading to understand the subject and context, although the writing style is strangely effective when narrating the bizarre behaviour of Lester Ballard, the central character who we follow from dipossessed property owner into homeless psychopath. A story that is entertaining in a strange and disturbing way. It will probably only appeal to fans of the McCarthy style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sculpture of words, 24 May 2010
By 
Rizzo Loris (Milano, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
A sculpture of words about a little sad monster, a horror story that moves the readers beyond any expectation and shows what can happen to people lost beyond the boundaries of humanity. Don't expect a film adaptation for this book: few filmmakers have a similar eye for visual details that show what goes on not only outside, but also inside people's mind; few screenwriters have a similar ear for dialogues that recreate characters, places and situations with such a spare and eloquent use of words. Imagine what kind of book lesser writers could write about such a sad and terrible story, and then compare it to this masterful achievement to have the full measure of the talent, depth and range of this great writer. A real classic to put directly on the highest scaffold of the bookcase.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable but enthralling, 31 Jan 2010
By 
M. Emerson "mr_emerson" (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
After reading McCarthy's The Road I knew that I wouldn't enjoy any other subject matter he touched on as much but I was still eager to see if his writing style appealed to me. My second crack at McCarthy was Child of God - the story of Lester Ballard. Ballard is an outcast from society who lives on the fringe and soon finds himself acting in ways unacceptable by society.

The writing style is familiar to The Road - it's bleak yet descriptive. McCarthy manages to be economic with his words yet generous with the detail - which is quite a feat. The story starts without having to build up and it ends just as abruptly. For McCarthy its never about the anticipation of the event - just the event itself. His characters live in the moment and you live with them. It's for that reason that you find yourself almost backing Ballard despite the unspeakable acts he commits. With his punctuation following his own rules its not always free flowing to read at first but you adapt quickly. The conversation pieces didn't work quite as well as The Road - the back and forth of conversation flowed a lot better between the Man and Boy in that book.

Could I recommend Child Of God? Probably not unless you are a McCarthy fan, which it seems I have become. Personally I am finding reading McCarthy like listening to Radiohead. I am not always sure what is being said and why it's being said but the delivery pushes my buttons and appeals to something deep inside. Some people will find the subject matter crass and attention seeking but these are just plot devices that allow us to look into the soul of Lester Ballard - and it's a fascinating view.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outcast becomes killer, 8 Nov 2008
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This review is from: Child of God (Picador Books) (Paperback)
A bleak and realistic tale of how an outcast becomes a serial killer and a necrophile in the hills and woods of East Tennessee. This is tight, dark and poetic writing. Lester Ballard's descent into horrific perversion is told with precise and evocative language. Nothing fancy. No over-indulgence or gratuitous detail for shock-value's sake. Just a clear and strong depiction of Ballard's almost numb mindset and what-he-did mid the snows of one winter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful., 8 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
This 'novella' is a work of pure art.I have read many short books in my life, Hemingways Old man and the sea and Steinbecks Of mice and men spring to mind but I have never read better than this.I can imagine Cormac Mccarthy being an admirer of Steinbecks work but if he was it ended there, he has his own inimitable style that grips, holds and has the reader staring off into space to digest the wonderment of what he reads. Child of God is easily good enough to have romped away with the Nobel prize for literature but so are other of his works, its a mystery that it still eludes him but the public do not agree, an ollivietta typewriter which he had typed most of his books on was auctioned for charity, the auctioneers estimate of 10 to 15,000 dollars was made to look a bit daft when it went for a quarter of a million. After you read this book you will promise yourself to repeat the pleasure in the not too distant future, Cormac Mccarthy is our own modern day Homer.
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Child of God (Picador Books)
Child of God (Picador Books) by Cormac McCarthy (Paperback - 3 Aug 2007)
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