"And the Ass Saw the Angel" is the first and, so far, only novel by Australian musician Nick Cave. First published in 1989, the book won praise from critics and has been translated into thirteen languages.
The novel is mainly told as an inner monologue through the tormented protagonist, Euchrid Eucrow. Born the mute descendant of a clan marked by generations of inbreeding and mindless drinking, Euchrid is the sole survivor of a double birth. His brother, the first born, died while sleeping in their shared cradle. As he grows up, Euchrid learns to camouflage his sensitivity in order to survive in a world of brutality, ignorance and evil. Euchrid is gradually transformed from his passive and dreamlike voyeuristic state, in which he can hear animals and Nature talking to him, to become an avenger with delusions of grandeur and fantasies of being God's tool on Earth.
With all its biblical echoes and its epic proportions, "And the Ass Saw the Angel" is first and foremost a disturbing tale of a martyred soul. The tale of Euchrid's painful existence is conveyed in a unique musical language that operates on every level - from harsh, drunken brawling to high prose related to the Old Testament, from comic-macabre scenes to sublime Nature-poetry. Anyone familiar with Cave's music will pick up on the subtle references and nods to songs from his earlier albums, and even if one is not a fan of his work this novel stands on its own as a marvelous literary feat.