At times funny and charming and most other times out right haunting, Child of God is another excellent work by the renown writer Cormac McCarthy. The book centers on Lester Ballard who is largely disliked by the community at large. Lester has a few friends but they are never quite treated as such but rather as a means to achieve something else. The book centers on disturbing themes such as pedophilia and necrophilia and is base loosely on real life events.
As always McCarthy’s style is minimalist and completely removed of any excess in terms of grammar and punctuation. In reading McCarthy a reader will come to realize the amount of waste that comes in reading other writers. Hemingway’s influence on McCarthy largely apparent in this case and in some ways, McCarthy provides more direct impact.
The scenes within the book unfold more or less linearly but don’t all directly relate to the plot. Some scenes only serve the purpose of providing context to thing to come or in characterization of Lester Ballard. Having the book played out this way is effective when it comes to an overall picture but it is not difficult for one to get lost or to determine the purpose of these scenes.
Overall Child of God is a strong novel with highly adult and disturbing things that will not be suitable for all readers. Those who had trouble going through Nabokov’s Lolita, will find similar, if not worse, trouble getting through this novel. If you can stomach these distressing themes, then you will find an excellent read with Child of God
“To watch these things issuing from the otherwise mute pastoral morning is a man at the barn door. He is small, unclean, unshaven. 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.”
“Bowing, pointing, smiling. The microphone in one hand. Among the pines on the ridge the sound of the auctioneer’s voice echoed muted, redundant. An illusion of multiple voices, a ghost chorus among old ruins.”
“Old woods and deep. At one time in the world there were woods that no one owned and these were like them.”