- Taschenbuch: 320 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin Books Ltd; Auflage: New Ed (13. August 1990)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0140131515
- ISBN-13: 978-0140131512
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,5 x 2 x 19,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.096.771 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
And the Ass Saw the Angel (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 13. August 1990
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This novel tells the story of Euchrid Eucrow, the product of several generations of inbreeding and raw liquor consumption. Physically malformed and born dumb, he possesses an unusual sensitivity which he hides underneath engaging bravado.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Nick Cave was born in Australia in 1957. He moved to London with his band The Birthday Party in 1980. Four years later he founded The Bad Seeds, with whom he has made many albums. The fifteenth, Push the Sky Away, was released to great acclaim in February 2013. Cave has also written the music for several films including The Assassination of Jesse James and Lawless. And the Ass Saw the Angel was first published in 1989 and quickly became a cult classic. His second novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, was published in 2009.
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Nick Cave beschreibt das Leben des stummen Euchrid Eucrow in einem kleinen, aber christlichen Kaff in den amerikanischen Südstaaten. Es beginnt tragisch, als sein Zwillingsbruder bei der Geburt stirbt und in einem Schuhkarton begraben wird. Die betrunkene Mutter kümmert sich nicht um Euchrid, der Vater füttert ihn schließlich mit Pappe. Sein einziger Freund wird Mule, ein Maultier, und seine Zufluchtstätte der Sumpf, wo er skurrile Schätze sammelt. Doch er bleibt ein Aussenseiter, und irgendwann muss es zur Katastrophe kommen...
Der Ton der Geschichte ist düster, die Stimmung bestens eingefangen - es ist selten, dass ich mich noch nach Jahren so an die Atmosphäre einer Geschichte zurückerinnern kann wie hier.
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Was never even a fan of Nick's music, or all that familiar with it to be honest. Outside of hearing a piece of "red right hand" during the movie "Dumb and Dumber" and Metallica's cover of "loverman" on "Garage, Inc." I still to this day couldn't name one of his songs.
I've never encountered a book that impacted my perspective on life so immensely or received so many re-reads, each as entertaining and insightful as the last... With the possible exception of Eric Blair's (aka George Orwell) legendary "1984."
When I read in an interview that he wrote the initial draft over a weeks-long methamphetamine-fueled seclusion in a remote camping cabin resulting in the over 1500-page manuscript, (which currently resides in an Australian museum) I hadn't even read the book yet.
In the distant late '90s, during the heights of "Internet 1.0" one of my favorite (then and now) bands, TOOL, used to have a literally physically produced "newsletter" that was typically a few xeroxed sheets with news about the band, musing and poetry by the band's webmaster/longtime associate Blair M. Blake, and occasionally, some books/authors that he and/or the band members found noteworthy. The glowing review by BMB piqued my curiosity, and subsequent interviews with the band's enigmatic frontman James "Maynard" Keenan and mysterious guitarist Adam Jones, who both mentioned how blown away they were by the intricate narrative devices and fantastically perverse, demented characters in the book sent my already piqued curiosity into interstellar overdrive.
I found a paperback copy at Portland's notorious "Powell's Books" and set about devouring it.
Which I did, utterly unable to turn away, in one sitting.
When I finished my first reading, I did something I've only done 1 or 2 times in my life... Turned immediately back to page one, and started over. Upon completion of that reading, (the next day) I did something I've only ever done the once. Flipped back to the start and began a third reading. Which I completed another couple of days later. I had to FORCE myself not to instantaneously start a fourth pass mostly because reading a full-length novel four times in a week seemed... Obsessive. (hahaha) Little did I know...
The extremely visceral and lushly depicted story was mind-blowing. So many bizzarrely demented events, from Euchrid's first memories as an infant in a filthy cardboard box, tearing off strips of the moldy wallpaper it had been lined with and attempting to eat them, to present-day Euchrid's homemade elevated platform, walled with rusty corrugated metal and filled with dead and dying animals from the gruesome traps he'd built and peppered the rural Ukelore Valley with, were hellish visions of a demented mute outcast raised by abusive drug addicts and moonshine sellers in an isolated area sparsely populated by followers of an insular religious sect called the Ukelites.
The entire story is presented as his dying recollections while he slowly sinks into a muddy bog amidst the noise of an angry mob of Ukelites, searching for him by torchlight.
The settings and events were so graphically described I swore I could smell the nauseating interior of his walled platform and the thick black axle grease he used to oil the mechanisms of his sadistically brutal traps. I could almost taste the toxic swill of the moonshine, whose recipes he'd learned from his insane father. The sale of it to the locals, both as a small child forced to do so, and later as an adult, were the only source of income for the Euchrow family, and later for the now solitary Euchrid.
It's not solely horrific imagery however. There's a depth that really can't be adequately described. Like when a group of angry Ukelites descend on and cruelly murder Cosey Mo, a prostitute that had befriended Euchrid, while he hid from them and watched, a mute-silent witness, as the only person who'd ever been nice to him was brutally attacked and killed by the self-righteous crowd. In his internal dialogue, Euchrid is shocked by the hypocritical masses, many of which were regular customers, whom he recognized having seen them coming and going from Cosey Mo's dilapidated trailer, and their bitter spouses. He contrasted the smiling saccharine faces of the Ukelites as they presented themselves in the town square, to the snarling, spitting beasts that cheered and jeered as they showed unimaginable savagery while they murdered his only friend. It is Euchrid alone who fully grasped the cruel fate of Cosey Mo.
There's a fully human beauty, a real tenderness shown via Euchrid's thoughts and memories, a soul-rending mute howl of agonized betrayal at the hand he'd been dealt by life. The wistful yearning as he peers through windows and sees what normal family life can be is palpable and devastatingly heartbreaking. Cave's overtly heavy-handed focus on the grossest aspects really provides a pitch-perfect counterbalance to the sweetness and beauty extant inside what would be ubiquitously described as a monster by most.
I'm reminded, then and now, of a particularly emotional and moving scene in Stephen King's novel "Cujo" where the titular canine, driven mad by rabies, is perched on the hood of the car that contains the mother and child he spends the bulk of the book ferociously trying to kill. The dog pauses, sees the terrified mother protectively cradling her son, and has a flash memory of tenderness shown him by his human family, seemingly aeons away, when Cujo was a "goodboy." He whines, mourning for the loss of that life in a brief moment of clarity before the swirling torrent of pain and madness sadly swallows him completely.
Cave's entire novel is, in a sense, an expression of a single drawn-out version of that same whine, hundreds of pages long, as a murky bog is swallowing completely a deeply ill animal, tormented by infinite oceans of pain and madness. Saddest of all, Euchrid never even was given a chance to be a "goodboy."
I would literally give up one of my hands to read that manuscript, which Nick Cave has donated to a museum under strict orders that it never be released, at least until his death. I don't say that lightly either, I'm a musician. It's somewhat difficult, I'd imagine, to play the guitar or keyboard without one of my two hands.
Cave has called the original draft unreadable and disjointed, a failed attempt to recollect a fever dream. He insists that, without the heroic and dedicated labor of his editors, and several rewrites, it would still be unreadable. He himself was rather displeased with the manuscript and only submitted it for publication at the stubborn repeated nagging of his girlfriend to let this work of staggering profundity be shared with the world. How wise and prescient her advice turned out to be.
I've been an avid and voracious reader since I was a small child... And, this literally just dawned on me seconds ago, but I read my first "grown-up" length novel at age 6, on a family vacation to Arizona. I'd been in a heated argument with my schizophrenic mother, and was grounded for a week, (out of a two-week vacation) confined to an attic bedroom, in Phoenix... in the absolute depths of summer. In one of my twice-daily bathroom breaks, which were the only times I was allowed out, my Aunt saw the despair on my face and said to me "Hey, I asked her if I could give you a book to read so you're not so bored... She said no, so don't let her see, but I think you'll really like it. I'm so sorry that she's doing this to us all, the kids are really upset that they can't play with you either. It'll be okay buddy, I love you." She hugged me and passed me a black hardcover. I glanced at the title, "kuh...?"
"It's pronounced koo-joe, sweetie, just make sure to put it under the bed when you're not reading so she doesn't see it, I don't want to get you into worse trouble. I hope you enjoy it, but I know you will, it's really good, I just finished it." She hugged me again and said "I'll try to talk her into letting you out before next week but no promises, you know how she can be. Now go on, before we're both grounded." She giggled softly, then smiled warmly as I turned to head upstairs...
Somehow, the obvious through-line between my first novel and my favorite novel has managed to evade my detection until just a few minutes ago.
It's been almost 35 years since that summer.
My Aunt passed away about 7 years ago. I thanked her profusely several times, but I wonder if she ever really knew how much what she did meant to me..?
It's times like this, with so much exquisiteness amidst the abject misery, that I really understand why Benigni named his film "Life Is Beautiful."
Thanks, Aunt Joy, I miss you, and I love you too. :'-)
Note: Photo is of my first edition hardback copy, sorry for the glare, I did my best.
The setting is a fictional Southern town with a population marked by religious fanaticism, ruled by the "Ukelites" (based on a real life sect called the Morisites). The main protagonist is a young fellow by the name of Euchrid Escrow, mute, physically handicapped, and subject to epileptic fits. He lives in a world of evil, ignorance, where he takes the role of an outcast. In order to survive he camouflages his feelings, and from a passive role he eventually becomes an avenger with fantasies of grandeur and of God's emissary to this world. His complete alienation will result in inevitable madness.
This is an extremely disturbing, macabre tale, marked by brutality. Not even its "poetic" prose verging on the baroque will bring relief to the reader. Nick Cave certainly knows his Bible, and the title of this novel is to be found in Numbers 22, 23-31 where the story is been told of how Balaam failed to see the angel of the Lord. There is extensive use of parables and metaphors, although the author himself claims that this novel should not be seen as a parable.
The style is unique, far from academic, where slang, abusive language, biblical quotations, masterful wording, and an alien language are all tools used by Nick to create an atmosphere in which, as quoted by the author "it is very exciting sort of thing to write about things that are not morally correct." Be it correct or not, the fact remains that his obsession with the grotesque makes this novel not an easy "pill to swallow!" Certainly not for the faint of heart!