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The Devil in Silver: A Novel Hardcover – Aug 21 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (Aug. 21 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069866
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.3 x 3.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“A fearless exploration of America’s heart of darkness . . . a dizzying high-wire act.”—The Washington Post
 
“LaValle never writes the same book and his recent is a stunner. . . . Fantastical, hellish and hilarious.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“It’s simply too bighearted, too gentle, too kind, too culturally observant and too idiosyncratic to squash into the small cupboard of any one genre, or even two.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Embeds a sophisticated critique of contemporary America’s inhumane treatment of madness in a fast-paced story that is by turns horrifying, suspenseful, and comic.”—The Boston Globe
 
“LaValle uses the thrills of horror to draw attention to timely matters. And he does so without sucking the joy out of the genre. . . . A striking and original American novelist.”—The New Republic

About the Author

Victor LaValle is the award-winning author of two previous novels, The Ecstatic and Big Machine, and a collection of short stories, Slapboxing with Jesus. Big Machine was the winner of an American Book Award and the Shirley Jackson Award in 2010, and was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and Publishers Weekly. He teaches writing at Columbia University and lives in New York.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 24 2012
Format: Hardcover
"The Devil in Silver", one of the year's best novels, is a compelling blend of magical realism, horror and mainstream literary fiction; a great work of fiction that bends and transcends all of these genres, via a riveting odyssey into the darkest reaches of one man's soul. What LaValle has written is a superb example of psychological horror that compares favorably with the best from Clive Barker, Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, and Peter Straub, but one that will also impress mainstream audiences too in its poetically plain prose, crisp dialogue and surprisingly appropriate usage of avant-garde literary techniques found in the best fiction from notable writers like Rick Moody and Thomas Pynchon, while also daring to address often contentious issues in contemporary American society and culture ranging from faith to racism. It should be regarded too as LaValle's personal, heart-felt literary "valentine" to his native New York City borough of Queens, introducing us to a cast of characters as diverse and compelling as those in Jonathan Lethem's "Motherless Brooklyn", but none more so than Pepper, the novel's blue collar white male protagonist. Mistakenly thrown into the run down psychiatric ward of New Hyde Hospital after wrestling with three plain clothes New York City cops, Pepper confronts not only his sanity and his sense of himself, but also a terror that lurks within the hospital itself; a living "demon" whose nocturnal visits to inmate-occupied rooms leave behind a bloody trail of mischief and mayhem, striking fear in the hearts of those inmates believing that a devil lurks inside the walls of New Hyde Hospital.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 109 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
"It takes a lot of courage to live for someone." July 3 2012
By DanD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Pepper is a big, simple-minded, but more-or-less good-hearted blue collar Brooklyn guy. Defending the honor of a woman who couldn't care less, he accidentally winds up fighting three cops who, through sheer laziness, admit him to New Hyde Hospital's psych ward for a mandatory 72-hour stay. But on his second night, Pepper is visited by a demonic fiend. Sad to say, it's not an hallucination, as everyone--patients and staff alike--seem to somehow acknowledge the beast's existence. But is it a man? Or is it, as Pepper begins to suspect, the Devil Himself?

THE DEVIL IN SILVER is not your typical horror novel. In fact, in most ways, it's not a horror novel at all. It wears the trappings--monster stalking psych ward patients--but it isn't really ABOUT the monster, so much as it is about its protagonist, the cast of quirky--but three-dimensional--supporting characters. Victor LaValle's novel is equal parts satire, dark comedy, and emotional character study. It has genuine twists and turns that you don't see coming; but it also has avant-garde characteristics such as an entire chapter devoted to the biography of Vincent Van Gogh, or the anthropomorphizing of a rather pitiable rat. Even these latter sections move along flawlessly, thanks to LaValle's expert prose (some sections read like poetry, while at the same time remaining realistic and true-to-life; Langston Hughes and Charles Bukowski come to mind).

This is a clever, funny, haunting, emotional novel. Hardcore horror fans may want to stay away, as you won't get your usual cliched trappings. But for people who like to see real intelligence and wit brought to genre fiction, who like to see such things as monsters and devils elevated to literary-quality status...THE DEVIL IN SILVER is a book you have to read.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Not What I Expected... Aug. 13 2012
By Yolanda S. Bean - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book left me with some mixed feelings. The initial description left me to expect a sort of spooky, monster book all set in a mental institution. I thought it would be a horror-thriller combination. And there were definite moments of creepiness equal to the horror genre. The narrative perspective itself filled me with a different sort of horror - Pepper is checked into the mental institution by the NYPD who find it easier to turn people into this underfunded, understaffed asylum than spend unpaid overtime filling out the necessary paperwork to actually arrest him for the minor altercation.

But the book's narrative perspective (often filled with this type of parenthetical and often humourous omniscient observations) prevented the novel from maintaining its creepy atmosphere. The novel also went off on some substantial tangents - completely summarizing the plot of Peter Benchley's Jaws and the biography of Vincent Van Gogh. The point-of-view, though for the majority of the book aligns with Pepper, made some radical shifts - by the fortieth chapter, the P.O.V. is that of a large, gray rat. The scariness built up in the beginning of the book shifted to more of a social, racial and economic commentary.

Though in the end, Pepper found his purpose, the book had shifted so far from my original expectations that I felt a bit disconnected from it. It is, however, an interesting and surprisingly complex read and one that I may re-visit again in the future.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Literary Trifecta July 23 2012
By DAC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Pepper is a regular hard working blue collar guy who is know to get in a bit of trouble. Though is most recent run in with the cops has him being committed for 48 hours at mental instiution in Queens, NY on a shoe string budget. Pepper soon finds himself lost in the system and making friends with the other patients, as they struggle to cope with the devil roaming the all and the minds of the residents. What I love about Lavalle's style is his ability to tell it straight, say something profound and make me laugh long and hard. That is a serious literary trifecta. The Devil in Silver is well layered and executed. If you've read Lavalle before this is a must read. If you haven't had the pleasure yet, this is a great place to begin.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
What is this about again? Sept. 5 2012
By VMnyc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The beginning starts off great. I'm there, I'm interested, I'm intrigued. Then the book turned into so many different styles, genres, ideas, that I started to skip pages. Then I would go back hoping to find something more, but I didn't.

Midway through the book, chapters of real life summaries of mental health patients are thrown in, then as abruptly as these couple of chapters are thrown in, they are gone. Is there a monster there or do the patients see a monster? Regardless, the staff just allows 'the Devil' to kill, torture and maim people??? Why the deep character studies, narratives, conversations, names just to suddenly stop talking about them or not elaborate on an important factor about them (Dorry (is that her son??????????? How do you sweep THAT under the rug?) Nurse Josephine, Scotch Tape, Coffee, the therapist guy at book group, Loochie's chapter at the table with her family, the conversation of Pepper and his mom, the folders, Sue, the cops, the Devil-- WHY ALL THIS STUFF??! To just forget about it. They don't escape, determine if the thing is a monster or man, or get released.

OH and there are a lot of racist jokes, ideas, tones, stereotypes etc. LOTS. I suppose he meant it to be funny but I didn't find it so (and I am a New Yorker too so that is not why ;-) If you are not from NYC you may not get 1/2 the references.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Neither Horror Nor Suspense Aug. 26 2012
By Antigone Walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This lengthy book follows the travails of Pepper, a man placed in a mental insitution after beating up a love interest's ex and assaulting the undercover policemen who attempt to break it up. Although it is suggested that Pepper's committment is due to the laziness of the NYPD and the greed of the administrators of the hospital,he is without help. Pepper soon finds himself confined with the overworked, underpaid, sadistic staff and the assorted drugged up denizens of the ward. There is also a half bison half man monster preying on the inmates at will and an oversized, intelligent rat haunting the premises.

The author has a way with words and the book is nicely written. However, there is no suspense and this is more social commentary than horror. While I am more than willing to grant literary license, the horrific environment in the hospital was exaggerated. NYS taxpayers spend a small fortune funding services such as Mental Hygience Legal Services which aggressively advocates for the rights of the confined and those deemed in need of supervision. The fact tht the staff flagrantly disregarded the law including their brutality to the patients and knowing participation in Medicaid fraud, is an insult to mental health professionals everywhere.

Additionally none of the patients seemed so mentally ill as to warrant lifetime confinement. Quirky, yes, but a danger to themselves and others no. (with the exception of the man/beast)The author's jokey asides were jarring. Dramedy is rarely successful and I wish the author had committed to drama or comedy instead of straddling the middle.I was not engaged by any of the characters and found their routines tiresome. I did not feel any sense of exhiliration at the end other than having completed all four hundred and six pages..


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