Classic Crews: A Harry Crews Reader
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2000
If you like the bizarre "Southern Gothic" of Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor -- and if you appreciate thoughtful variations on established themes -- then Harry Crews is a novelist well worth your time. He'll probably never make it into the canon, but his work compares favorably with the best American postmodernists, and this is one time when it's best to forget what your English teacher tells you and form your own opinion. Unlike some of the postmodernists, Crews's startling originality is always rooted in palpably human experience; his characters, strange though they may be, never cease to function as PEOPLE, first and foremost. Highly recommended for readers who appreciate a vibrant style and a conscious twist on familiar literary traditions. One of the best American writers of the past 30 years.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 26, 2003
Debates about the waning brilliance of Southern litterature can be silenced after reading Harry Crews (I recommend as much of his work as possible, but the Reader is a good place to start). There is none of the sentimental, 'local-color' work of, say, Fannie Flagg or Rebecca Wells in Harry Crews's work. Harry Crews's work is like a rabid pit bull that bites and won't let go. His brilliance and artistry as writer are coupled with a sharpness that cuts into institutions and beliefs, exposing them and questioning them. Few shibboleths of America can escape.
Find Harry Crews's work. Buy Harry Crews's work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2002
This was the first book I read by Harry Crews. After reading this I went out and bought every other Crews book still in print. After buying all the Crews books still in print I hit up the used bookstores for any of Crews's out of print titles. Harry Crews is excellent, and this is the absolute best place to start reading his work. He's an extremely descriptive writer, and a most entertaining storyteller, the best of both worlds. How Crews is able to think up the sort of characters he writes about is beyond me. He'll write about something so screwed up and whacked out that you know it could never happen, but at the same time makes you believe that what's going on really could happen. Crews has an excellent way of getting in your head and staying there, whether it be his novels or his essays Harry Crews is a true original. Once you read this I'm sure you'll start out on a search for anything and everything he's done.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
apparently this book is printed digitally on demand to fill orders now, but the quality of the whole book is pretty bad. badly scanned cover, out of focus, and not color corrected show the cheapness of the product. the type inside is so heavy that it make it slightly hard to read. the book itself is amazing, i recommend this book to everyone, but you are better off buying a used copy that was printed as books should be rather than this awful distorted instant copy. i'm glad i didn't pay full price. i bought them to give as gifts to friends to introduce them to harry crews, but the quality is so bad i'm a bit embarrassed by the overall cheapness of quality. i won't make that mistake again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2006
Harry Crews: the name and reputation often precede the writing. Many know of his youthful and not-so-youthful exploits. Many have seen the "How do you like your blue-eyed boy, Mr. Death" tattoo. Some may remember the mohawk on the Dennis Miller show.

Doubtless, Harry Crews the man is a force of nature.

In contrast, Harry Crews the writer is a man of unadorned style with a nearly minimalist approach to fiction. His tightly-constructed sentences move along with machine-like precision. His eye is attuned to the smallest of details. And in his hands, plot is an extension of character.

The *Harry Crews Reader* is a reason to read this masterful southern writer. With grit and wit, Crews unfolds story after story of loser and scoundrel, from the unlikely tale of man who eats a car to the heart-breaking tale of Crews' own childhood. Crews depicts images that will scar the sense, tearing into a reader's subconscious and nestling there. I can't get the image of young Harry losing the skin off of his entire body after being accidentally immersed in a tub of scalding water.

Harry Crews' stories are bizarre, true--but they often teach important lessons about consumerism and the dangers of being cut off from the land. Yes--I said "teaches lessons." Our culture has conditioned us to think that stories with a point are to be dismissed as "moralizing." Nothing could be further from the truth. Harry Crews shows us that fiction can matter, even fiction from a south Georgia hell raiser.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2008
In Harry Crews's disturbing and achingly funny novel "Car," Herman Mack sets out to eat a 1971 Ford Maverick from bumper to bumper (excluding the spare tire and jack). Herman soon becomes a small-town hero and everyone in his backwater Florida town wants a piece of the action. The ensuing racket reaches delirious heights of absurdity and depravity. When it was originally published in 1972, "Car" worked best as a biting commentary on our national obsession with the automobile. But today, Crews's novel can also be read as a prescient look at how anyone, anywhere can become an instant celebrity for doing something incredibly stupid. An otherwise undistinguished Herman sets out to eat that fine Ford because he "felt himself special, felt himself being saved by a force bigger than himself and outside himself, saved to do some fantastic and special thing." What modern-day millennial won't identify with that vague but compelling urge? If you aren't a movie star or a singer or a top model, at least you can star in your own reality TV show or sex tape. As you can probably imagine, Harry Crews is an acquired taste. And if you think "Car" is hard to stomach, try Crews's wacked-out memoir, "A Childhood: The Biography of a Place," also collected in the indispensable "Classic Crews."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2012
A huge discovery! Why Harry Crews hasn't' entered my life before his obit was published is beyond me. Anyone with exposure to or direct knowledge of the South will be taken back kicking and screaming to times past. Here's one great story teller, one fine writer whose people are so real and whose language and situations are so spot-on -and over the top- that you can't put a Crews book down ..At least I couldn't.. Can NOT get enough of Harry Crews!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2014
Craziest book I have ever read. Discovered Crews when I read his obituary in the New York Times and
thought he would be an interesting read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2006
As a Southerner- I felt I had to like this book until I read it and then really loved it!!! Crews' voice is so funny and sometimes,downright bizarre that you can't help but be taken in by it. You can read the stories in order or out of order- it doesn't matter. But I definitely recommend this book and if you are a true Southerner you have no excuse but to read this!
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Crews takes you places you'd be lucky to get out of with you life, wallet and/or self-respect intact. If you like that sort of literary voyeurism, this is the sort of thing you'd like. Crews himself is the real deal, and has affection for the grifters, down and outers, drunks, thieves, whores and head cases that inhabit his life, and he renders them truly, lyrically.
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