Child of God

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of Child of God

Book description

In this taut, chilling novel from the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road, Lester Ballard—a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape—haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.

While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity,…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Child of God as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This 1973 novel, set in Appalachian Tennessee, paints the gothic portrait of Lester Ballard, a serial killer who is evicted from his home, an event which sends him squatting in an abandoned cabin and spying on young couples parking in cars near a place known as the Frog Mountain turnaround.

I am equally taken by McCarthy’s pastoral imagery and the colloquial voice of the unidentified first-person narrator. This book is as unsettling and entertaining as it is sublime.

From Robert's list on the gothic American South.

When I worked for a daily newspaper, I covered the trial of serial killer Richard Biegenwald. Unlike a lot of serial killers, who tend to be loners, Biegenwald was married. He seemed fairly normal, except for his habit of occasionally killing people and burying them in his mother’s backyard. Serial killers, people who don’t kill in self-defense, or to protect someone from harm, but just because they like killing, have always fascinated me. Sitting in court, twenty feet from a real, live serial killer, was intensely interesting and not a little creepy.

Having covered the trial of a serial killer,…

I’m not the world’s biggest Cormac McCarthy fan. I enjoyed The Road and Suttree, but found a few others I’ve read of his something of a slog, so I was happy to give this one a chance. It’s a poetically written book about a necrophiliac who lives in a cave surrounded by his victims. I like how the main character, already on the edge, continues to unravel as the book unfolds and how McCarthy writes him with sympathetic detail.

From Andersen's list on dark fiction for aspiring sociopaths.

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