RIP: Harry Crews.

I was heartbroken to hear Harry Crews passed away.

Crews has been one of my favorite writers for years. I’ve been on a quest the last few years to hunt down his out of print 70s novels, in fact.

Without Crews’ lean, cockeyed prose, Broken Piano for President would not be the book it is. Many times, while writing it, I’d look at a portion and realize it would probably make Harry Crews nauseous. I would rewrite until I felt it was as tough and as funny as his work. (Which is impossible, his stuff wipes its boots on my best output, but still.)

Here’s one of my favorite audio interviews.

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2 Responses to RIP: Harry Crews.

  1. gabinoiglesias says:

    Hey Patrick. Great post. As for being heartbroken, that makes two of us. I was about 16 the first time I read Crews. The Mulching of America. I didn’t know at the time that words could be used like that. Then I read Body and realized that weirdness and honesty could go hand in hand in a brutal combination. I’ll keep my eye out for those 70s novels. Hard task, but you never know what you might find when digging for treasures in a sea of used books.

    • “I didn’t know at the time that words could be used like that.” That’s totally how it felt for me, too! My first Crews was the Knockout Artist. One time, someone asked what I was reading, and I said Crews, and they asked what it was like, and I said: “Like William Faulkner writing National Enquirer articles.” I’ve always Kind of stuck by that.

      I actually have a copy of Gospel Singer that I’ve been sitting on, because I wanted to save the reading experience for a good time. This is probably it.

      All his 70s stuff is like $100 or more. Supposedly, they’re putting it out digitally soon. Fingers crossed.

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