I read very little fiction. In fact, I have read very little fiction in the past 20 years. However, no writer of fiction has twisted my head around twice like Mr. Harry Crews, who kicked this mortal coil to the curb on Wednesday.
Violence. Sex. Sexual violence. More violence sprinkled with desperation on a poison cupcake whipped all over with violence frosting. Crews had it all. The first time I read Crews I felt like I needed to take a shower, and this was in the cruelty of my teens. Fiction as it was, I could tell he MEANT every word.
I’ve always liked authors who stand behind their words and would happily kick the dogshit out of you if push came to shove. Crews, being unapologetically Southern, gentile, and mean as a poked goat, is one of the finest examples of that kind of writer. Hemingway tried, Mailer faked it, but Crews would break your fucking jaw and never let you forget it. Stalking out like a murderous Foghorn Leghorn on Dennis Miller’s show, one could tell he was playing up for the cameras, but on the other hand, nobody in their right mind would step up to that guy. He was tried, true, and uniquely American. I urge you all to read Harry Crews, and if you want pay tribute to his memory, the next time some shitheel insults you, ace him square in the nose. I know I will. Then again, I would “Enneh-Howw!”