Acclaimed writer Donald Ray Pollock will read from his latest novel, The Heavenly Table, out this week in paperback. This dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel solidifies Pollock's 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, two farming families in the 1917 South on a sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama find their lives colliding in increasingly dark and horrific ways, placing Donald Ray Pollock firmly in the company of the genre's literary masters.
Donald Ray Pollock is the author of the novel The Devil All the Time and the story collection Knockemstiff, and is the 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 The Ohio State University.