Saturday, February 26, 2011

Other Characters Like Euchrid

This is something I've been wanting to start a list of for awhile. I've noticed, in my literary endeavors, that there are a number of Euchrid Eucrow*-esque characters lurking about.

What, exactly, aside from the Euchrid, constitutes a character as being similar to Euchrid? Basically, someone gone in the head a bit, those with feelings that they are a martyr of some sort, characters that obsessively collect weird things like human hair and tin cans, etc. If you've read And the Ass Saw the Angel, you will know a similar character in other works.

What follows is my list of "hey! That character makes me think of Euchrid!" to date. I urge you to read these books, especially if you liked ATASTA, as they're all pretty damned awesome.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

My friend Laura and I are convinced that Nick had to have been influenced by this book in some way; the similarities are striking, really. McCarthy in general is amazing, and this book is the first of his I read, and it's absolutely brilliant. If you liked ATASTA in any way, I guarantee you will also enjoy this book.

From Wikipedia:
"Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard, a dispossessed, violent man whom the narrator describes as "a child of God much like yourself perhaps." Ballard's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation."

Lord of the Barnyard by Tristan Egolf

Late author Tristan Egolf starts his book with a Nick Cave quote, which is one clue this book may be worth a read. The style quickly struck me as being similar (without being a rip-off) of Cave's writing style in ATASTA, and the main character is a social outcast in a town of churchgoers.

"John Kaltenbrunner, an only child, is born on the heels of his father's death. At an unusually early age, the boy shows a flair for farming and a desire to be left alone, two things that make people pick on him in increasingly vicious ways. John's life plan is to drop out of school when he hits 16 and mind his own business. But he loses everything, alienates everyone, and through a series of increasingly outrageous mishaps winds up serving three years work-release felony time on a river barge. When he comes home to Baker, no one recognizes him...The streets don't stay that way for long as the tale truly turns on the garbage strike organized by John and his gang of fellow misfits. As a result, Baker comes apart at the seams and all the citizenry reveal their true natures."

Tideland by Mitch Cullin

This book was made into a film by Terry Gilliam, and it's probably one of the most beautifully disturbing books I've ever read. I would suggest reading the book first, but really, both the book and the film are twisted enough to each stand alone.

This time, the Euchrid-like character is not the protagonist. The main character is a little girl whose mother and father are drug addicts (to the point where they teach her how to cook their heroin and fill syringes for them). After her mother dies, she and her father move to an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. The girl's only friends are her decapitated doll heads. She eventually meets a ghost-like woman and her brother, Dickens (that'd be the Euchrid character). Dickens wears a ratty captain's hat and jacket, collects random baubles in his hovel made of branches, leaves, and trash, and has a mental disability brought on by a surgery he had to relieve his epilepsy. Oh, and he thinks his hovel of branches and trash is a submarine, and that the local train is a giant shark.

Seriously, there are some FUCKED UP parts to this book/film. You HAVE to see and/or read this...I am not kidding. It is really unique, twisted, depressing, beautiful, and just shows how a child would view things like death, sex, and drugs. Be prepared to say, "WHAT THE FUCK?!" at least twice.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

This book is very short, but very satisfying. VERY good book. There's more to it than what is described below, but to divulge anything more would be to let out bits of the plot you shouldn't know going into it. READ IT. It'll take you maybe four hours, and then you'll have another book to add to your "WTF" list.

Narrator Frank Cauldhame is by his own admission a naughty boy who runs around the isolated island killing bunnies and wreaking havoc. He does boyish stuff like blowing things up and having private wars using any living creature he can find...He has grandiose ideas of secret powers that he can usually control, but he admits that sometimes these powers are even beyond his command. He has a far-fetched imagination, creating a fantasy world where everything has dark names like his catapult, “the black destroyer,” and areas of the island called “sacrifice poles,” “snake park,” and “bomb circle.” The title of the book comes from the “wasp factory” he created in order to predict the future..."

If you've noticed any Euchrid-type characters in books and/or films, let me know and I will add to this list. DO check out these books...they are ALL fantastic in their own way.

*the main character in Nick's first novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, which you should know. If not, read it. NOW.


  1. I'd be definitely checking out all three of them. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Great topic! I've only read The Wasp Factory so far and I completely agree with you regarding the similarities with ATASTA.I'll also check out the other three you recommended.

  3. Thank you! Just knowing at least two people are going to check some of these out makes me so happy, seriously. I'm a HUGE book nerd, always have been, and when I read Child of God I thought, "hmm...I wonder if there are OTHER Euchrid-type books out there." And SOMEHOW, I totally found some.

    And you totally do need to see the film of Tideland too. For some stupid reason, rottentomatoes has it at like 29% fresh...I think it's just too twisted and WEIRD for people. I freaking LOVE it. And come on: TERRY. GILLIAM.

    Speaking of which...the Guillerma del Toro remake of Pinnochio is going to have Nick in charge of the music. :D