A Reading of Nick Cave’s And the Ass Saw the Angel

Nick Cave’s 1989 novel ‘And the Ass Saw the Angel’ is a tumultuous lamentation upon Euchrid’s (the central character) discontent with his small town and its inhabitants.

by Harry Carlson | 23rd October 2020

Illustration by Kitty Bate

Cave moved to Berlin in September of 1984 to stay at a loft squat in Kreuzberg. Here, he isolated himself for months amongst the squalor that he described as “pungent with obsessiveness towards the book”; the walls of the apartment were laden with 19th-century pornography, Lochner paintings, and stacks upon stacks of poetry, prose and scrawled-upon papers. The novel began as a screenplay based upon ‘Swampland’, a track from Cave’s band ‘The Birthday Party’ on their final EP, ‘Mutiny!’ The script proved to be impracticable and eventually served as inspiration for the novel. After five years of toiling over a typewriter, the novel emerged out of the shadow of said paper-riddled walls and is littered with evidence of C