And the Ass Saw the Angel, By Nick Cave

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Nick Cave's cult classic has been published in a 20th-anniversary edition, to coincide with the release of his second novel. And the Ass Saw the Angel has been, reads the press release, "completely revised... cut down and reorganised by the author so the plot is clarified and the characters stand out more clearly. The book retains all its brilliance but is more accessible to the general reader." It is Cave's inaccessibility and strangeness which is so attractive, yet there is something about this material which seems so alive that it struggles out of the confines of the page.

Indeed, the book begins with a birth, as Euchrid "slopped into the world with all the glory of an uninvited guest", the surviving twin of a drunk mother. Cave traces Euchrid's misadventures in a gothic narrative full of the "freakish music of the darktime". The child offers lucid insight into dark matters: "All about me the world seemed in need of attention." And Cave attentively crafts his weird and wonderful tale of "the loneliest baby boy in the history of the whole world".