I am quite often drawn to books that have unpleasant characters or subject matter, not because I can identify with them but because the lives of the characters or the subject matter is so different from my own experiences. Cormac McCarthy is the unsurpassed master of writing about the human condition and Child of God is no exception. I was so appalled, disgusted, horrified and entertained by Lester Ballard that I couldn’t put the book down. A short but compelling read.
I have long been a fan of Siri Hustvedt’s novels, but this is my first by her husband, and won’t be my last. It begins in 1967 in New York, when a young poet has an encounter with a Frenchman and his girlfriend which gets complicated, then nasty. Two different narrators then tell part of the story, which is clever, intriguing and beautifully written.