The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

The Heavenly Table: A Novel - Donald Ray Pollock

America in 1917 wasn't the best of times. With the advent of the automobile, indoor water closets and WWI far away, but in the background, it wasn't exactly a fun period in our history.

 

The Heavenly Table introduces us to the Jewett Family, below dirt poor and with a father gone slightly insane since his wife died. He's trying to raise his boys, Chimney, Cob and Cane, the right way, but they're nearly starving to death; trading today's joy for wealth tomorrow, at God's heavenly table. We are also introduced to the Ellsworth family, the head of which was recently swindled out of the family's living savings.

 

The characters are the strength of this story. Vividly drawn, realistic and understandable-some of them I will never forget. Another thing that stands out is the humor, it's sick as hell and runs rampant throughout. The barn full of whores, the sanitation inspector, (poor Jasper, you'll find out why), Pollard the insane bartender, and the crazy Lewis family and their chimpanzee. They're all going to be sharing my brain space for a while.

 

The only problem I had with this tale was the uneven pacing, but even that didn't bother me very much. The characters were too interesting for me to leave them for any length of time.

 

This book is a great example of gritty literature, or grit-lit, if you will. It's imaginative, entertaining and even sickening at times, but always commanding my attention and making me laugh. What more could you ask from a good book?

 

Highly recommended to fans of gritty literature and dark humor!

 

*Thanks to Edelweiss and Doubleday for the eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

20 Books of Summer: Book 15