And The Ass Saw The Angel – Nick Cave

Finally I have finished this book, it has taken quite a bit of reading.

I have long been a fan of Nick Cave’s songwriting and when I discovered he had written a book and what is more it had angel in the title of it I was going to read it.  The cover calls it a ‘Deep Southern Gothic tragedy’ and I would struggle to call it otherwise.  It is written in a deep southern drawl which takes a bit of getting used to, one of the reasons the book was started on many occasions before finally curiosity about what it was all about, rather than a strong story line pulled me in and made me overcome the peculiarities of the language.

The story of Euchrid Eucrow a mute, born a twin but whose brother died shortly after birth, his mother is abusive and a drunkard who takes her drunken rages out on him and from an early age he learns to hide in his own world.  His father is not much better taking his rage out on the animals he sets vicious traps for.  No one understand Euchrid the local townsfolk, of Ukulore Valley were he lives, are religious sectarian conservatives who hang on every prophecy of an long gone pastor Jonas Ukulore and Euchrid does not fit in any way shape or form their ideas of what a God fearing individual should be like.  Ostracised by everyone he lives a lonely and disturbing existence, one which gets blacker and more disturbing as the book continues.  The other character of importance is Beth a foundling whose mysterious appearance one day marks a new sinister beginning for the tired townsfolk.

Nick Caves use of words and poetry make this book at once both sing and cry, make you laugh and shudder.  His descriptive passages are vivid in their grisly details which captivates you with a strangle hold rather than a warm hug.  It screams of loneliness, pain, misunderstanding, hatred, bitterness and sheer despair, and while Euchrid’s voice is silent his troubled mind floods the pages with words and emotions towards those around him who have made his world so horrific, his only companion the vision of an angel, but from just who has this angel come!

Would I recommend the book, well yes, but … it isn’t an easy book, it isn’t a comfortable book, it is disturbing and violent, it’s language and imagery would make it top shelf material if books were to be categorisedin such a way, it is certainly not one for the sensitive, the easily offended or children, however if you don’t fall into any of those categories and enjoy the writings of William Faulkner then this one might be for you.  I am not sure if I enjoyed it, I am not even sure if I liked it, but I did find it strangely compelling and I do know that one day I will read it again!

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