Illiterate farmer Pearle and his three sons find themselves struggling with poverty-ridden living and self-pride. Meanwhile, homesteader Ellsworth Fiddler receives a full helping of life's corruption and decay as he battles to keep his family nurtured. Set in 1917, these two storylines are threaded from beginning to end with the same raw southern grit built from Cormac McCarthy's writings. Donald Ray Pollock structures his piece of fiction with peculiar violence and tense situations allowing the reader tough learned lessons along the way, one being that nothing is certain in this life except the end of it.
— Mike, Albuquerque
July 2016 Indie Next List
“After murdering the tyrannical owner of the land they farmed on the Georgia/Alabama border, three brothers make a desperate run for Canada and manage, along the way, to acquire national reputations as the kind of ruthless outlaws who are immortalized in dime store novels. This is a rollicking and ribald adventure story, populated with shady characters and told in vivid, sparkling prose reminiscent of Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers -- and there is hardly a higher compliment.”
— Alden Graves (M), Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT
From Donald Ray Pollock, author of the highly acclaimed The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff, comes a dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel that will solidify his place among the best contemporary American authors. It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons: Cane (the eldest; handsome; intelligent); Cob (short; heavy set; a bit slow); and Chimney (the youngest; thin; ill-tempered). Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. No good can come of it. Or can it? In the gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy with a healthy dose of cinematic violence reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, the Jewetts and the Fiddlers will find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.
About the Author
DONALD RAY POLLOCK is the author of the novel The Devil All the Time and the story collection Knockemstiff, recipient of the 2009 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Fellowship. He worked as a laborer at the Mead Paper Mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, from 1973 to 2005. He holds an MFA from Ohio State University.