Mordecai Cubitt Cooke Victorian Naturalist Mycologist Teacher and Eccentric kRept out of caves or crawled from the corners of public baths on their handsandnees begging for mercy If I touch only the hem of his garment one woman thoughtcould I bear the look on his face when he wheels around OTHER MATERIALMy reviews of McCarthy s other works in his Southern uartet may be found at The Orchard Keeper Outer Dark and Suttree Great day in the morning He is making me homesick Just the speech patterns which McCarthy nails It reminded me of River s Edge although the movie seems mild by comparison Maybe I m just grateful that it used an inflatable doll Dennis Hopper as Feck and Daniel Roebuck as Samson John Tollet from River s Edge 1987 HE SEEZ DEAD PEOPLE THEN FUCKS THEM Child of God Cormac McCarthySet in mountainous Sevier County Tennessee in the 1960 s Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard a dispossessed violent man whom the narrator describes as a child of God much like yourself perhaps Ballard s life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls into crime and degradationThe novel is structured in three segments each segment describing the advancing isolation Were there darker provinces of night he would have found them There is a uote by David Foster Wallace that good fiction s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable Cormac McCarthy s trim third novel Child of God is an optimal example of this sentiment as it manages to provide the counterparts of the both comfortable and disturbed elements within the reader by offering them an unflinching portrait of baseness and demanding reaction The short novel chronicles the hellish descent of Lester Ballard into the maelstroms of human depravity from simple onanistic voyeurism to murder and necrophilia Yet McCarthy reminds us that Ballard is a child of God much like yourself perhaps and reminds us of how human we really are Through sparse and stupendous prose McCarthy drags the human soul through the mud and muck of this gruesome parable to show us the degradation of humanity when chased into the shadows by isolation and ostracization showing us wickedness and making us feel much to the reader s discomfort eual parts disgust and empathy To open a McCarthy novel is to step into a nightmarish wasteland of the soul built out of breathtaking bricks of penetrating prose Through language that borders on biblical and flourishes effortlessly like tangled ivy on Greek pillars McCarthy brings the reader into the dirty dregs of a small Tennessee town and makes them practically smell the damp soil and sweaty backs and gunpowder of the novel Broken up into three parts each uniue in style and execution McCarthy unfolds the story of Lester Ballard through the eyes and ears of the locals as well as his omniscient narration Each voice is a piece of the puzzle to understanding Ballard fleshing him out by examining him from many angles and views while also constructing a penetrating look at those around him Child of God is another impressive addition to the American mythology of darkness that McCarthy has builtThe story of Lester Ballard is not for the sueamish as McCarthy illuminates his depravity without ever shielding the readers eyes from the disgusting sights It is what readers of McCarthy have come to expect McCarthy is an expert in probing the depths of the human soul and rubbing in our faces all the darkest and most disturbing elements the imagination can find down there in the shadows we try to conceal and forget Ballard does the unthinkable and inexcusable again and again yet McCarthy does not create him as a flat pure evil character He has much in store for our souls to digest and wrestle with Chronicling his life McCarthy depicts Ballard as a man alienated by his community chased like a rat into hiding because of his differences and difficulties putting on a normal persona in the world Ostracized isolated and with no one to turn to Ballard has little choice but to give in to his alarmingly abominable ways Occasionally he is called out of the darkness some old shed self that came yet from time to time in the name of sanity a hand to gentle him "back from the rim of his disastrous wrath However being so withdrawn and removed from society the voice of civilized "from the rim of his disastrous wrath However being so withdrawn and removed from society the voice of civilized is most often lost in the wilderness of wickedness His criminal acts seem a way he has to of wickedness His criminal acts a way he has found to voice to a sense of impotence and alienation he has felt all his life You ain t even a man You re just a crazy thing a girl says to him It is easy to just consider him a thing a being removed from us so that we can despise and scorn him without inner remorse It The Gold's Gym Training Encyclopedia keeps us safe from identifying with him from having to understand him or see life through his eyes But is he just a thing or is he still a man We are reminded that Lester Ballard is a child of God and not so different from you or I Those of the religious faith are taught to forgive and love thy brothers and sisters as we are all cut from the same cloth Ballard too And to deny him of this would be to deny God s word and this is the skillful and wonderfully ironic moral conundrum McCarthy imposes on the reader Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone is a statement from the Bible pointing out that we all bear the scars of sin and can we really judge Ballard without then judging ourselves Religious or not this is a uandary that tests our moral judgment and reminds us that all of us are capable of evilAll the bleakness aside it is hard to not be astounded by McCarthy s dexterity with prose styling and his way with diction And despite the grim context this is actually uite a darkly comical novel at times Ballard gets swindled trying to sell watches bootleggers are too drunk to find their own hiding places and other sorts of gross yet somehow humorous elementseep the book from being too flatly dark It is not an enjoyable read yet there is much enjoyment to The Origin of Feces keep the reader thinking and turning pages It is short as to not begrudge the reader with too much darkness and entertaining and engaging enough so that most can finish it in a sitting or twoThis is a bleak novel with little to nothing in the way of redemption within the book However this is because the redemption rests within the reader can we look into the heart of another man and disregard him as pure evil Is everything black or white or can we feel pity even for those who are the epitome of depravity Lester Ballard is chased from society eventually having to hide in caves like a wild beast or a descent into hell and we must uestion if he is just an evil man or a product of his circumstances This isn t to say that he is to be cleared of his crimes but it does make an interesting point about humanity I was glad to have read this book on a bright sunny day beside a case of fine IPAs which lasted the duration of reading this book as the novel left me feeling cold and hard and hollow on the inside Child of God might be my least favorite of McCarthy s novels Suttree toping my list but it still packs a wallop of a punch Bleak and brutal yet darkly funny this book is not for everyone But if you are willing to stare into the eyes of darkness and voyage into the deepest recesses of the human heart McCarthy is the ideal tour guide45 What sort of meanness have you got laid out for next. Carthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity humor and characteristic lyrical brillian. Creeeeepy I couldn t help but think of Ed Gein while reading this book Yuck Very morbidly entertaining Lol There is something inherently wrong with Lester Ballard As he skulks through the backwoods of Eastern Tennessee a hunting rifle is his only companion Ballard s skewed thinking awkward ways and repugnant proclivities render him unfit to be around other people Darkly disturb film of the book update None other than James I m handsome and I can do anything Franco directed a version of this last year I just saw it and damn James I hate to say this but it was really good And faithful Really great performance by Scott Haze as Lester You probably shouldn t watch it while you eat your tea nor should you be watching it with any elderly relatives but if younow what the story is about you probably would not do that Unless you want to Redeeming the Republic Federalists Taxation and the Origins of the Constitution kill them off with shock and horror This time round I spotted that Child of God starts just like Omensetter s Luck with a rural auction Kind of a really useless factAnd now the actual reviewME AND CORMAC WE GO BACK A LONG WAYThis was a re read my first for years and once again I loved Cormac s outrageous daring style I gave it five stars all those years ago and I give it five now I felt again that I was in the presence of a writer who could dip all the other American writers in his Weetabix and mush em all together and eat em up and go for another bowl of em This guy is the real deal Well allright So how come I didn t like any other CMcC book if he s such a wow Good uestion younow I had a go at Blood Meridian and as everyone nows that s like reading the Bible if God was Sam Peckinpah Beautiful beautiful writing completely suandered on an endurance test Western with zero story and zero character So I failed there All the Pretty Horses well that was better and I did finish it but by now Cormac s style has got ever outre he s much deeply in love with the conjunction and and by then he d got too mythtastic for my taste I still like my soap opera thank you I m just this suburban gentleman in a semi detatched house with a cat and a bottle of real ale and a High Llamas cd Myths Not so much So I think Cormac and me had a parting of the ways But if I recall right before we bade farewell and he took the road west we shook hands cordially It felt cordial that is although his face betrayed no expressionTHIS WILL MELT YOUR FACEAs to Child of God this book is a total treat but I got to warn you the main character is a little unsavoury Lester Ballard our grisly necrophile protagonist has uite a bit of the old Ed Gein about him Which if so would make him the fourth fictional incarnation of Ed so inspirational was he and that is leaving aside the biopic about him which is called Ed Gein There was Hitchcock s Psycho there was ol Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was ever a film so aptly titled it was in Texas there was a massacre it was done with a chainsaw and there was the regrettable Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Tiny Little Baa Lambs with his human skin dresses Now Barbara Gowdy in her arresting story We So Seldom Look On Love makes a case that there are indeed true necrophiles people that only love people if they re dead Imagine the fate of a necrophile who s looking for commitment I guess the only The dumpkeeper had spawned nine daughters and named them out of an old medical dictionary gleaned from the rubbish he picked Uretha Cerebella Hernia SueThey moved like cats and like cats in heat attracted surrounding swains to their midden until the old man used to go out at night and fire a shotgun at random just to clear the air He couldn t tell which was the oldest or what age and he didn t now whether they should go out with boys or not Like cats they sensed his lack of resolution They were coming and going all hours in all manner of degenerate cars a
dissolute carousel of rotting sedans and nierized convertibles with bluedot taillamps and chrome horns and foxtails carousel of rotting sedans and nierized convertibles with bluedot taillamps and chrome horns and foxtails giant dice or dashboard demons of spurious fur All patched up out of parts and lowslung and bumping over the ruts Filled with old lanky country boys with long cocks and big feet You could say that those country boys and those daughters of the dumpkeeper are uneducated disenfranchised white trash but don t put them too far down the rungs of the evolutionary ladder because you still need room for Lester If you were to compose a ballad of Lester Ballard it would not be one of heroism of self sacrifice or of Plato and Parmenides: Parmenides' Way of Truth and Plato's Parmenides kindness It would be a song of the grotesue of darkness and of the human mind degraded to the point of madness If Lester were an animal He would be a dog with rabies You d put him down because he wouldn t be safe walking around with normal people The sheriff after yet another issue with Lester gives him a warning that of course didn t make even the slightest impression on Lester Mr Ballard he said You are either going to have to find some other way to live or some other place in the world to do it in What the sheriff should have done if he d had any inkling of what was to come was to gunnysack Lester and throw him in a deep river He could have tried driving him across the state line and leaving him to be someone else s problem but Lester is just thatind of bad penny that always turns up again 2013 movie poster for Child of GodIt all begins when Lester s ancestral home is put up on the auction blocks Now it ain t much There is maybe some good timber on it and getting bids is not easy but land will always sell Cormac McCarthy doesn t really say but usually when land gets sold at auction there is a back tax issue Lester doesn t seem like the type that would ever think paying taxes was in his best interest What this does is make Lester into a wandering bundle of mischief He steals He spies He plots vengeance Not that anyone in the county seems to have any prospects to achieve prosperity anything above the poverty line but Lester falls into that category of negative digits His attempts at wooing women let me see your titties are met with disdain and rejection Even the dumpkeeper s daughters who will hump just about anything would crush him under the heel of a calloused foot rather than give him a whiff of the pleasure of feminine indness Lester is an annoyance but comical inspiring the shaking of matronly heads and laughs between men over a "bottle of shine If truth be nown they think he is a troubled but relatively harmless dumbass shine If truth be nown they think he is a troubled but relatively harmless s not like he d have ever thought of it on his own It just fell into his lap He comes across a jalopy running in the woods with the radio on A boy and a girl with clothing disarrayed are in the backseat dead The girlwellshe is still warm and unlike other girls she ain t saying no Yeah he did it Lester had such a good time he brought her back to an abandoned house he d been using for shelter He d been lonely of course Alone in the empty shell of a house the suatter watched through the moteblown glass a rimshard of bonecolored moon come cradling up over the black balsams on the ridge ink trees a facile hand had sketched against the paler dark of winter heavens Well the girl wasn t much for conversation but if he brought her close to the fire and warmed her up she could almost feel alive He took off all her clothes and looked at her inspecting her body carefully as if he would see how she was made He went outside and looked in through the window at her lying naked before the In this taut chilling novel Lester Ballard a violent dispossessed man falsely accused of rape haunts.
Cormac McCarthy å 8 DownloadIre When he came back in he unbuckled his trousers and stepped out of them and laid next to her He pulled the blanket over them Just as Lester is settling into his new domestic arrangement tragedy strikes He builds the fire too big and the whole house catches on fire He saves his beloved rifle the bears he won at the carnaval and his bedding but his new plaything ept in the attic so she would refreeze was lost Except for the fickleness of fate Lester might have remained a happily contented necrophiliac for the rest of the winter Now summer would have brought on different issues The smell of decay might have even put a damper on Lester s lustful stirrings Homeless and womanless Lester decides to try and fix both those problems As women disappear and the law is powerless for lack of evidence to do anything about Lester s predilections the White Caps decide to take matters into their own hands In Indiana back in 1873 farmers started forming this secret society that would violently inflict justice on people who seemed to be beyond the law As this movement spread South the organization took on some racial overtones and started disguising themselves similarly to the KKK Merchants who were buying up too much land and black men who had thoughts of becoming land owners were targeted in a time when poor white farmers felt they were losing everything They were farmers not law enforcement officers Lester escapes He d long been wearing the underclothes of his female victims but now he took to appearing in their outerwear as well A gothic doll in illfit clothes its carmine mouth floating detached and bright in the white landscape Lester starts out being strange just a bit different Not different in an Einstein pondering the universe Investir dans l'or : le petit manuel pratique kind of way More like two brain cells drifting around in his head that collide once in a while creating a sparkind of guy Once he has been banished from any center hold in the community he becomes feral a man caught in a permanent state of flight or fight He becomes dangerous and unhinged The grotesue becomes as normal to him as white picket fences are to the rest of us Cormac McCarthyCormac McCarthy will always expose you to a form of human being that will make you uncomfortable You will twitch in your seat You will check the doors and windows one time before going to bed You will start to make a indepth analysis of your crazy cousin Larry You will reluctantly come away with a broader understanding of the spectrum of people making up humanity You will uestion your own sanity and wonder if it is possible for you to ever be as crazy as Lester Ballard Would Lester have been able to stay a hair s breadth away from insanity if he d had one normal friend Just one person who could give him a bead to follow A person who could say that ain t right Lester at a critical moment I do ponder uestions like that late at night when I wonder if I could be stable enough and patient enough to eep someone else sane I would probably be too practical to put myself in the path of a psychopath We just hope the madness doesn t find us I also have read and reviewed Suttree by Cormac McCarthyIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at How far can one book go How objectionable can the subject matter beWell take a southern degenerate raised in an abysmal state of affairs and trace his downward spiral into serial murder and necrophilia that s what McCarthy did in Child of God But that s just the tip of the iceberg This novel is a descent into the darkness that can befall an uneducated and amoral man when left to his own devices someone abandoned on the fringes of civilization and left to fend for themselves with what little they possess When basic needs aren t met and baser desires are never addressed or fulfilled the human reaction is often extreme and appallin Child of God Cormac McCarthy s Outcast First edition Random House New York New York 1973 He moves in the dry chaff among the dust and slats of sunlight with a constrained truculence Saxon and Celtic bloods A child of God much like yourself perhaps The setting is Sevier County Tennessee in the 1960s Our protagonist is twenty seven He is an orphan His life between the suicide of his father "And The Loss Of "the loss of home is an unanswered uestion We are dropped into his story in medias res in the finest Faulkner style As the story opens the small unclean unshaven man watches his home place go on the auction blockI have a long and uncomfortable history with Cormac McCarthy He has repeatedly held me breathless with his novels full of violence and human degradation But he has said that these are usual conditions of life I cannot argue with him Consider Jeffrey Dahmer John Wayne Gacy the Ted Bundys of this world I am constantly reminded of the words of John Steinbeck from East of Eden You must not forget that a monster is only a variation and that to a monster the norm is monstrous Child of God is McCarthy s third novel published in 1973 I had read three of what I call his Southern uartet However this one remained on the shelf Call it taking a hiatus Or call it a necessary breather particularly after being wrung by the neck by Outer DarkIt took the novel being selected for a group read by members of On the Southern Literary Trail to cause me to begin to turn the pages I began last night
It Was After 1000 Whenwas after 1000 when turned to the first page I turned the last around 330 this morning McCarthy had done it again I was
drained Sleep refused to come to me I do not now when I drifted off to sleepHowSleep refused to come to me I do not now when I drifted off to sleepHow one like a novel about a murderer who exercises his lust on his victims It is a testament to the craft of McCarthy He unflinchingly portrays the life and tragedy of Lester Ballard Scott Haze as Leroy Ballard in James Franco s film Child of God 2013 It is discomforting that he builds sympathy for this devil However McCarthy does not ask forgiveness for himIn the final analysis we confront the uestionIs man the product of nature or nurture While every man may be a child of God it is the lack of or indifference of community that unleashes a monster Nor should that assertion be taken as an excuse for the behavior of McCarthy s Lester BallardHarold Bloom named Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West the most disturbing book he ever read Disturbing yes However it is Child of God that claims that spot on the shelf for meHow many times have you walked past a stranger and not acknowledged their presence Or how many times have you made assumptions about a person based on their appearance small uncleaned unshavenUnavoidably I am drawn to a poem by Marie Howe The Star Market in her collection The Kingdom of Ordinary Time PoemsThe people Jesus loved were shopping at the Star Market yesterdayAn old lead colored man standing next to me at the checkoutbreathed so heavily I had to step back a few steps Even after his bags were packed he still stood breathing hard andhawking into his hand The feeble the lame I could hardly look at themshuffling through the aisles they smelled of decay as if the Star Market had declared a day off for the able bodied and I had wandered inwith the rest of them sour milk bad meat looking for cereal and spring water Jesus must have been a saint I said to myself looking for my lost carin the parking lot later stumbling among the people who would havebeen lowered into rooms by ropes who would have The hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail While telling his story Cormac Mc. .