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Harry Crews dies at age 76

Harry Crews was born June 7 1935 at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in rural Georgia. He had a hard childhood in one of the poorest areas of America, which if you were familiar with his writing would make sense.

Crews’ novels were dark, violent, satirical and yet strangely comic. His New York Times obituary exclaims that his novels “out-Gothic Southern Gothic by conjuring a world of hard-drinking, punch-throwing, snake-oil-selling characters whose physical, mental, social and sexual deviations render them somehow entirely normal and eminently sympathetic.”

Crews was never a bestselling type of author but he did have a cult following of rabid fans, some of his more popular works included: A Feast of Snakes – which covers a small town’s annual rattlesnake roundup, Car – where a man eats a 1971 Ford Mavrick in four ounce sittings, and A Childhood: The Biography of a Place – Crews’ acclaimed memoir which reveals that he once fell into a cauldron of scalding water used to remove the skin from slaughtered hogs and had his own skin sloughed off.

Crews told The Times “I had an ex-wife and I had an ex-kid and I had an ex-dog and I had an ex-house and I’m an ex-drunk. I’ve supported whores and dopers and drunks and bartenders. Thank God I don’t do that anymore.” He saw himself as an outsider and probably considered the mainstream population just as weird and grotesque as many of them saw his writing.

Crews died in his home in Gainsville, Florida on March 28th 2012. He is survived by his son, brother, and grandson. He was 76.

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