This is the third book by McCarthy that I have read and he never seems to disappoint. Child of God was a little disturbing but I could not put it down and read it in one sitting. If you are not faint hearted I recommend this read.
Cormac likes to delve into the unsaid parts of life and with Ballard as the main character he has dug deep. In some way I wanted to stop reading but the story dragged me onwards to the end. If you believe life should only be pleasant and fun, then this may be a shocking book to read. If you believe life is full of light and dark with shades in between then this is worth the time.
I can't complain about the style, descriptive phrasing nor the story structure, but the character is such a disgusting creature I could never say that the time I spent with him was enjoyable nor even mildly pleasant. This is not a nice book.
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.