Harry Crews is one of those authors I wish I read more of.
His New York Times obituary describes his books as being filled with freakish, swaggering, outsized personalities. Born poor, and raised rough, he’s the type of writer that you rarely see these days, with a voice that hasn’t been sanded down by MFA programs or the need to be politically correct.
“Repellent” is another word used in the obituary, which is certainly true. His novels aren’t for the faint of heart, as they are filled with gory misfortune and sexual misadventure.
I read Body by Crews. It’s a twisted book about a female bodybuilder that brutally satirizes the South. He handles issues of race, sexuality and the American pursuit of success with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Seeing him violently deconstruct the hand-wringing concerns of today is liberating, making you want to be more honest in your life and writing.
As Crews said about writing:
If you’re gonna write, for God in heaven’s sake, try to get naked. Try to write the truth. Try to get underneath all the sham, all the excuses, all the lies that you’ve been told.